Happy Chinese New Year (CNY)! As the festive Lunar New Year approaches, one of the important things to do (out of the never-ending list) is probably buying new clothes! And if you’re a mom with babies or young kids, styling them up to the occasion is most likely your job too.
And on that subject of new clothes, here’s a few things that you should know about prepping your (and their) outfits before heading out to 拜年 (Bai Nian) - to visit relatives with oranges and wishes of prosperity.
Why wear new clothes for CNY?
Chinese New Year is the start of the year for the Chinese according to the lunar calendar. They believe that New Year’s Day sets the tone for the rest of the year, and so what better way to start off the year with new clothes which symbolize a fresh start and fresh hopes!
Why should you wash new clothes before wearing them?
This might sound familiar like something your mother would nag you about, but there are actually quite a number of reasons why you should do this. Firstly, manufacturers commonly use chemical finishes on their garments in order to prevent mildew from forming on them during the shipping process – especially if you’ve ordered them from somewhere far away like USA or Europe. These chemicals can cause irritation or a rash especially if you have sensitive skin.
Secondly, a lot of clothing contain extra dye that enhances the colour of the clothes. This extra dye needs to be washed out before coming into contact with your skin, because it could also cause severe skin reactions, and you’d never know if you might even be allergic to them. These reasons should convince you to wash your CNY clothes before wearing them! However, according to tradition, some people avoid washing their clothes on the first two days of CNY so as not to offend the water god – so maybe wash them ahead of time!
Ecover has two brilliant all-rounders in powder and liquid form that blast away the bad while still keeping clothes soft and safe for your skin, but if you’re worried about people having tried on the clothing in the store before, just go for the Bio Concentrated Laundry Liquid which uses natural enzymes to cut through the icky stains and sweat that might be left behind.
How should you wash new coloured clothes?
Before just tossing everything into the washing machine, make sure you check individual clothes’ tags and labels. If any of them say “Wash separately” or “Colour may run”, it’s wise to follow those instructions not only to avoid staining other clothes in the wash but also to avoid contact with your skin. Look out especially for cotton or wool clothes because natural materials such as those don’t hold onto colour as good as synthetic fibres like polyester or nylon, increasing the chance of dyes coming loose in the wash. In any case, even if your coloured clothes hold colour well, it’s still safer to do two loads – one for whites and lights and one for darks and colours.
To be extra careful, wash with cool water because hot water is more likely to make the dye run, and turn garments inside out to prevent staining other clothes. Once the wash is done, toss the clothes in a dryer or hang it on a line ASAP as wet clothes may colour bleed more. To keep colours bright, use a washing powder that’s made for colours for the best results on your colourfast clothes – it’s even been formulated to work best in a cool wash!
How can you take care of those special clothes and fabrics?
Babies in particular can be even more sensitive to the chemicals in clothes, so make sure you wash any rompers or festive clothing they will be wearing throughout the CNY period. To be extra safe, opt for laundry liquid and fabric conditioner from Ecover’s ZERO range, which have been specially formulated with zero fragrance and zero colouring, and have even been given a big thumbs up by Allergy UK.
If it’s that silk cheongsam you’re planning to wash, choose the Delicate Laundry Liquid for an effective but gentle wash for all kinds of fine fabrics including silks and woollens that protect the integrity and texture of the material together with holding fast to the colours.
This Chinese New Year, whatever you’re planning to wear, you can trust Ecover’s laundry collection to make sure you’re celebrating the festivities in bright new clothes that are safe for the whole family. 恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai) from all of us at Ecover!