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RŪPATalk: How to Care for Naturally Dyed Fabrics
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RŪPATalk: How to Care for Naturally Dyed Fabrics

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Composed by Adeline Xie / Images of RŪPAHAUS

Knowing How to Care for Naturally Dyed Fabrics is vital to making your ethically handmade fabrics last! Here at RŪPAHAUS, we want you to love your clothes as much as we loved designing & making them, so we’re here to help.

Have you ever wondered why hand washing is recommended when it comes to clothing pieces made from natural materials?

It is because of two things; first – hand washing use significantly less water than machine wash, and second - most clothing pieces are slowly damaged at microscopic level when they go through a wash cycle! That’s why, whether it is handmade or machine-made, the recommendation is always to give some extra care to ensure your pieces remains a treasured possession for years to come.

How to Care for Naturally Dyed Fabrics

Why caring for your naturally dyed fabrics is important?

Although washing is the main step to care for naturally dyed fabrics, it is definitely more than just washing for us. it is about how you treat and maintain your fabrics in general. 

For a starter, a well-cared fabrics are a true reflection of how the owner considers and perceives their belonging, their environment, and their future. This is simply because each clothing piece is valued, each step taken in the caring process is careful and considered, and the whole thing makes us more mindful from the get go.

By default, clothing that are well-cared for tend to last way longer than those aren’t; but putting the extra mile to maintain your naturally dyed fabrics is ultimately help us slowly create sustainable wardrobe which we could pass on to generations to come.

Investing in Naturally Dyed Fabrics

At RŪPAHAUS, our fabrics are made out of 100% natural fiber textiles because of their strong bonding properties for natural dyes allow to create beautiful saturated hues you see. The multi-layered process involved in crafting naturally dyed fabrics not only showcase the beauty of traditional craftsmanship, and the delicacy of handcrafts, but also the mindfulness in the intention when we design and create these products.

We know that what’s sustainably and naturally derived from the environment, can be returned to the environment without risking any potential damage and rather enriching to the environment itself. The colours you see on our fabrics are purely the natural products of our artisans’ local floras; and as a result, they are biodegradable and once we’re done with the dyebaths we can just pour them out to the ground as compost. How amazing is that? And if you use natural detergent, the same applies for your hand washing bathwater/greywater!

Although investing in naturally dyed ethical fabrics might be daunting at first due to the higher price tag, you are not just simply buying a piece of clothing, but you are indeed investing in yourself and a more conscious consumerism mindset. Simply put – you are investing in a better version of you, who would put the extra mile to care for your naturally dyed fabrics; and subsequently our future world.

How to Care for Naturally Dyed Fabrics?

  • Wash in Cold or Luke Warm Water
  • Use mild / ph-neutral natural detergent
  • Hang to dry
A little Pro-tip: because we don’t use any chemicals, our natural dyes are colourfast and may result in small colour runs or slight fading – so we recommend washing your RŪPA pieces separately for the first 3 times. Additionally, you can add a tablespoon of ground table salt into the first bath water, and soak your new RŪPA piece for a maximum of 10 minutes before rinsing under running water. This process will help to maintain your naturally dyed fabrics, set the colours and extend the life of your piece.

Hand wash in Cold Water

Hand washing is a great way to keep your naturally dyed fabrics looking great and smelling fresh. But when combined with cold water, you are taking another big step to protect your them from fading and making sure they last.

Use ph-neutral (mild) natural detergent

We strongly recommend using ph-neutral or low-ph natural detergents that are environmentally friendly.

Pre-mix your choice of natural detergent with cold water and create a water bath to submerge your naturally dyed fabrics in. Do not pour the detergent straight onto the fabric. Fabric softener is not recommended as it may leave a film of residue on the fabric.

Massage the spots where odours tend to accumulate and let them soak for 15 minutes or so.

Hang to dry

Once it’s ready to go, we encourage that you try your best to not tumble dry, twist or wring the fabric whilst removing excess moisture. The sun is harsh on our clothing, so keep it out of direct light and let it line dry in the shade inside-out. Continuous exposure to the sun can fade the natural plant/vegetable dyes.

Due to their hand-made nature, our handwoven fabrics naturally have a looser weave and this is the reason why we don’t recommend dryer in the ways to care for your RŪPA pieces as they often reduce the overall garment size. Nonetheless, if you feel that there is some give in the sizing, you may use the washer and dryer on a low-heat, delicate setting at your discretion.

This blog has given you the basis for How to Care for Naturally Dyed Fabrics – and now it’s time for the fun part! Why not invest in a special piece, naturally dyed by our partner artisans and discover how much joy taking care of your items can bring.

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Do you have some handy tips for How to maintain your naturally dyed fabrics? Or perhaps you’ve got some questions! Whichever it is, sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.