How to make your clothes last longer

BY Gill Hasson

9th Oct 2023 Lifestyle

4 min read

How to make your clothes last longer
Make your clothes last longer with these ten tips that will help you save money and the environment
We’ve all got items of clothing that we love—a favourite jumper maybe or a pair of perfectly fitting trousers—that we’ve had to throw out because we’ve not taken good care of them.
Not only do we then have to say goodbye to a good buy, but we’re also adding to the tons and tons of items of clothing that end up in landfill each year.
Here are our ten top tips for how to look after your clothes so that they’ll stay looking good for as long as possible, helping you save money and cutting your carbon footprint.

Wash your clothes less

By washing your clothes less frequently they spend less time getting worn and torn, fading, stretching or shrinking in the washing machine. Washing your clothes less doesn’t mean wearing the same t-shirt for a week, but unless visibly dirty or starting to smell, you can wear clothes such as jeans, trousers and skirts, sweatshirts and jumpers at least three times before they go in the wash.
"If you don’t wear a garment next to your skin, air it after wearing it"
The exception, of course, is underwear and clothes worn for the gym or sports activities. But if you don’t wear a garment next to your skin, air it after wearing it. Simply check your clothes at the end of the day for any marks or odours and if they seem fine, you can wear them another day.

Wash your clothes inside out

Our clothes take quite a beating in the washing machine. As the machine spins the clothes around, they rub against each other and the walls of the drum. Turning your clothes inside out reduces friction and wear on the outside surface of your clothes.
Washing machine
This can help protect them from colour fading and if you have clothes decorated with ribbons, buttons, beads, washing them inside out also helps keep them from damage inside the washing machine.

Use a Cora ball or a Guppyfriend wash bag

Did you know most garments made from synthetic fabrics produce microplastics that enter the waterways from your washing machine? You can help prevent this by using a Guppyfriend Wash Bag or a Cora Ball.
Both of these products reduce fibre shedding during washing thereby protecting your clothes, and reliably filtering microplastic fibres out before they pollute water. Good for your clothes and good for the environment!

Remove spots and stains

As far as possible, spot clean splashes and stains as they happen and before they set into the fabric of your clothes. Simply moisten spots and splashes with cold or lukewarm water and gently rub the affected area with soap from a stain bar such as Vanish which will penetrate and emulsify stains even if they have dried in, before washing in the machine.
"Spot clean splashes and stains as they happen and before they set into the fabric of your clothes"
And to avoid the build up of underarm sweat stains on t-shirts, dresses and shirts do wash the underarm areas before you put them in the washing machine.

Air dry if possible

Tumble driers and electric heaters can cause fabrics to shrink and the elastic to break down in underwear and active wear.
Air drying clothes
Drying your clothes on a line or flat on a rack is good for your both your clothes and the environment, and will help keep your electricity bill down. When possible, just use the dryer to finish off drying the clothes at a low temperature.

Don’t hang your jumpers

The weight of jumpers or cardigans on a hanger, especially if they are wool, cashmere or angora, can cause them to stretch out of shape. Instead of hanging knitted garments, fold and store them on a shelf or drawer.

Avoid storing clothes in plastic dry cleaning covers

Plastic harbours heat and moisture which can develop mould on your clothes. So instead, use cotton or canvas garment bags to pack away suits, coats, jackets and special occasion wear.

Remove bobbles on your clothes

With clever little gadgets like a fabric de-piller you can remove bobbles from your favourite jumpers and clothes to help them look fresh and new again.

Re-dye black jeans 

Black or dark coloured denim jeans or cotton t -shirts lost their colour? Don’t re-buy, simply re-dye. Whether you use a washing machine dye or a hand dye, re-dying your clothes can give new life to your faded darks.

Alter or repair your clothes 

Rather than throw something out because there’s a small hole or tear, or a hem or a seam has come undone, knowing how to use a needle and thread and a few basic mending techniques will save your clothes and your money.
"Knowing how to use a needle and thread and a few basic mending techniques will save your clothes and your money"
What though, if you need to alter a piece of clothing that’s beyond your skills? You can find clothing repair and alteration places near you by using an app such as Sojo, will match you and your repair needs up with local businesses, as well as arranging drivers to collect and drop off your clothes.
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