How to Care for Your Apparel

You've found some great new basics, and you want to make them last forever. While we can't quite promise you forever, we can promise that caring for your clothing properly will drastically increase the lifespan of your new favourite items. Day after day we put our clothes through a lot, so we've compiled some common questions, essential info, and our best tips to help prolong the lifespan of your clothes:

Q: What’s the deal with pilling?

Pills are created when the tiny ends of fabric fibers get tangled together, usually by abrasion. All fabrics consist of either long or short fibers, and fabrics with a higher percentage of short fibers are more likely to pill. An item made of silk (one long, continuous fiber), is way less likely to pill than an item made of cotton (many short fibers). 

Another factor to consider in pilling is how tightly woven a fabric is — the looser the twist, the softer a fabric feels (which we like). A looser twist also means an increased area for abrasion to grab hold of, which results in a higher likelihood of pilling. 

To reduce pilling, wash your clothes inside out to avoid abrasion on the front of the garments. Consider using a laundry detergent with enzymes (these eat away small amounts of the loose, short fibers that tend to pill). Enzymes are not uncommon in wash products.


Q: Can I put my new clothes in the washing machine? 

Our honest answer (for our clothing); Yes! However, a little extra care and knowledge of how to wash different fabrics will ensure that the washing machine doesn’t ruin your new favourite clothes. 


Don’t over-wash your clothes - lots of items that are gently worn can be made fresh again just by airing out. 

Be sure to use the delicate cycle if you’re concerned about putting a piece in the washing machine. The delicate cycle uses a slower degree of agitation when washing clothes (less abrasion = less pilling). The agitating and tumbling of a washing machine can leave garments stretched & faded. Washing your clothes in a machine too often removes structure. 

Invest in a lingerie or wash bag for all delicate items, including looser woven tees (like our Strait or Harbour tees).



Invest in a sweater-shaver to remove pills (be careful when using though, as overuse could ruin a garment). 

Fold clothes along seams to maintain the shape of the item. It is better to fold knits & other stretchy materials, and hang anything that is delicate or prone to wrinkling (like our linen jumpsuit or tops).

Avoid the dryer — purchase a clothesline or a drying rack for drying your clothes. Not only will this save you money on energy bills, but dryers are notorious for ruining clothes. The high heat levels can shrink & disfigure even the sturdiest of clothes.

Fix it! Loose hems, missing buttons, small holes can all easily be mended. You can vastly increase the lifespan of your clothing with just a little upkeep. You can rent a sewing machine at places like Spool of Thread for just $8/hour. Don’t know how to sew? They also have classes & experts to help you out. Don’t want to learn? Tailors are your new best friend!


Tencel — Wash on cold, delicate cycle (in a garment bag if you can). The gentler you wash, the longer your Tencel will last. White streaks can occur when the fabric is rubbed together, which happens when you wash or normal cycle or overfill your machine. Always hang dry your Tencel because dryers will suck the colour out of the garment — never twist or wring the fabric because that will break the fibers.

Linen — Washing linen in lukewarm or cool water is best (not on hot or warm). Turning the garments inside out before washing helps prevent pilling, and as always we recommend washing on a gentle cycle. Linen will shrink from heat, so never put it in the dryer if you are not prepared for that. Linen is very breathable and naturally antibacterial, so you probably don't need to wash it as often as you think — try hanging it to air out first to remove any potential smells.

Polyester — Polyester should be washed in warm or cold water. Hot water can cause slight shrinkage, and heat from the dryer will ruin any garment made predominantly out of polyester (aka swimwear). Always hang dry your polyester items or tumble dry low. For more swimwear specific tips, click here.


Have any more questions about how to care for your new Nettle’s Tale clothes? Email us at with your questions!



November 13, 2019 — Nettle's Tale