When you buy a piece of clothing, you don’t expect to wear it only once. If you find the perfect item of clothing, you want to be able to wear it forever but, in our disposable world, that is often not the case. I love to buy clothes, and I hate throwing them out, but it has happened a lot.
To combat this, I set out on a mission with one simple goal: to make my clothes last as long as possible. Here are thirteen ways to do just that.
1. Buy Quality Clothes
The ethos here at Durability Matters is that durable and long-lasting products will save you money in the long run. While paying more will usually get you more quality, that is not always the case, and especially so with clothes. If you shop around you can get a bargain while ensuring quality too.
If you find quality clothes, then they are naturally going to last longer without you doing anything else. Of course, there is also a lot which you can do once you have bought those clothes.
2. Read The Label
Are you a laundry expert? No, neither am I. I do not know the best way to wash clothes but do you know who does? The makers of those clothes. If ever you are in doubt about how best to wash and care for your clothes, then just check out the instructions included on the little tag attached to the piece.
Do what the label says until your experience and knowledge grow. The information is not set in stone but is a best practice for the item.
3. Sort Your Laundry
When it does come time to wash your clothes, I recommend sorting the laundry into categories. Keeping darks and lights separated will stop colors from bleeding and clothes becoming dyed. Keeping delicates separate from heavy-duty items will save them from being damaged in the wash and allow you to cater the cycle to the clothing.
4. Button & Zip
When the clothes are in the laundry, they can be washed vigorously when on certain cycles. While you want this for some heavy-duty fabrics, those fabrics often come with buttons or zippers. You do not want those buttons or zippers to snag another piece of clothing, so button or zip them up.
If you turn the garment inside out, then it will further stop them from catching or snagging. Turning your clothes inside out also stops pilling, making your clothes look new for longer.
5. Bag Your Delicates
If you are putting delicates in with a larger load of laundry (and protecting the environment by limiting the number of washes you do), then a mesh bag will help to protect them. Protecting your delicates will make them last longer. The added benefit to this, especially with socks, is that they do not get lost. A pair of socks is only valuable if you have two of them.
6. Measure Your Detergent
It is often tempting to add more detergent and fabric softener to your load. After all, more detergent means cleaner clothes and more fabric softener means softer clothes, right?
Well, not necessarily. More detergent can actually leave the clothes dull and stiff. Too much fabric softener can also dull the fabric and cause bacteria to become trapped in the fibers.
I recommend following the instructions on the containers and using the correct dosage. The best thing about using the right amount? You don’t have to spend as much money.
7. Lighten Your Load
You do not want to be washing clothes multiple times every day, so I recommend saving up your clothes until you have a full load to wash. Making sure the load is full will save you money on water, energy, and detergent. But, you should not overload your machine.
If you have too much in your washing machine, the clothes are not going to get as clean as they should. They are also going to rub together and wear down quicker. Always try and wash a full load but don’t overfill.
8. Cooler Drying
When it comes time to dry your clothes, I recommend hanging them to dry, but that is not always possible. If you are drying them in your machine, follow the instructions as much as you can but do not be afraid to use a cooler cycle too. High heats can make stains permanent and can damage the fabric. Stay cool.
There may be times when you want to use bleach on your clothes, and there can be good reasons to do so. But, bleach can stain if spilled on clothing so be sure to have the clothing out of the way before you open the bottle. It works best when diluted, so dilute it away from your machine and then add it.
10. Wash Less
How often do you wash your clothes? After each use? Well, you may be harming your clothes even though you are keeping them clean. There are many instances where you do not actually need to wash your clothing.
Take a look at the item. Is it dirty or stained? Does it smell bad? Go ahead and wash it. If it looks and smells okay, wear it again. The less you can wash your clothes, the better it is for them. Color can be drained as it is washed over and over, and any elasticity can be drained from the garment.
11. Use A Stain Remover
I always carry a stain remover wherever I go — a little pen which I keep in my pocket or car. Stains can ruin a piece of clothing, and if you are not quick to remove it, the stain can become permanent and ruin the item. A stain-remover pen can get rid of the stain before it sets. The additional benefit to this is that you may not have to wash your garment when it gets a stain, thus prolonging the life of your clothes.
12. Store Correctly
If you expose your clothing to a lot of sunlight, the UV rays can make the color fade. Store your clothing in a place where it is not in direct sunlight. You also want to avoid moisture, so ensure that the storage area is clean and dry. Storing clothes on a hanger gives them more air circulation. I would recommend this for your most expensive or luxurious items. Hangers also help rid the clothes of excess creases.
13. Know Your Hangers
You want to store some of your clothes on hangers but some hangers can actually be detrimental to your clothing. Plastic and wire hangers can stretch out the shoulders of your clothes, and render them useless. If you want your clothes to stand the test of time, then I recommend using wooden hangers. They cost a little more, but that cost is worth it for the protection which they provide.
Some simple tips which will create long-lasting clothes and even save you some money. The clothes which you buy should not be for a single occasion. If you follow my tips above, you can begin to create a stylish and fashionable wardrobe with pieces that do not need to be replaced for years.