Here's some tips on how to best care for your clothes to make sure they last for as long as possible.
Proper care for your clothes can help extend their life and keep them looking fresh for longer. By taking care of your clothes, you can save money in the long run by not having to replace them as frequently. Extending the active life cycle of a piece of clothing can significantly reduce its environmental impact.
When you take care of your clothes, you will look and feel better. Wearing clothes that are clean, wrinkle-free, and well-fitting will boost your confidence and help you make a great impression. You'll feel good about yourself and be ready to tackle anything that comes your way, which is why we are sharing some of our top tips for taking care of your clothes so they stay looking great for as long as possible!
Clothing is a basic necessity in our lives, and taking care of it correctly can help maintain its appearance and longevity. Different clothing types require different care instructions, and it's important to follow these guidelines to keep your clothes looking their best.
Washing garments too often can actually cause damage to the fibres and hence decrease the lifespan, so think twice before tossing it in the washing basket. If an item isn’t dirty but just needs freshening up, try hanging it outside or in a steamy bathroom to breathe first.
Wash with a cold cycle setting in the washing machine
Washing clothes at a low temperature helps to reduce emissions, while also protecting your clothes. The exceptions might be items that are in close contact with your skin, such as underwear, bedding and towels which may need a higher temperature wash.
Read care labels
Pay careful attention to the instructions on the label, which advise you on the maximum recommended temperature an item should be washed at, rather than the recommended temperature. As many different materials need different approaches to laundering. Proper care will also help prevent fading and keep colours looking bright and vibrant.
Cotton is a versatile and durable fabric that is commonly used for t-shirts, jeans, and other casual clothing. It's easy to care for and can be machine washed and dried. When washing cotton clothes, use cold water and a mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softeners as they can reduce the absorbency of the fabric. To minimise shrinkage, tumble dry on low heat or hang to dry.
Linen is a breathable and lightweight fabric that is often used for summer clothing and home textiles. It's more delicate than cotton, so it requires a gentle touch when washing. Linen clothes should be hand washed or machine washed on a gentle cycle using cool water and a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach, as it can weaken the fibres and cause yellowing. To avoid wrinkles, iron linen clothes while they are still slightly damp.
Silk is a luxurious and delicate fabric that requires special care. Silk clothes should be hand washed or machine washed on a gentle cycle using cold water and a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as they can damage the fibres. To minimise shrinkage, lay silk clothes flat to air dry. When ironing silk, use a low heat setting and a pressing cloth to protect the Fabric.
Wool is a warm and insulating fabric that is often used for winter clothing and blankets. It's important to follow the care instructions on the garment, as some wool clothes can be machine washed and others should be hand washed or dry cleaned. When washing wool clothes, use cold water and a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach, as it can damage the fibres. To minimise shrinkage, lay wool clothes flat to air dry.
Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, nylon, and spandex, are widely used in active wear and other performance clothing. They are easy to care for and can be machine washed and dried. When washing synthetic clothes, use cold water and a mild detergent. To minimise shrinkage, tumble dry on low heat or hang to dry. Avoid using bleach, as it can damage the fibres and cause discoloration.
Try to buy eco/environmentally friendly laundry powders.
Many standard washing powders and detergents contain non biodegradable fossil fuel based substances, which have negative effects on the environment. There are now a growing number of eco-laundry products that are made from plant-derived ingredients, and which also have the added bonus of being refillable.
Turn clothes inside out when washing
Wash clothes inside out when doing a machine wash and avoid overfilling the machine as the fibres in clothing can get damaged if there is too much friction.
Avoid the dryer and air dry clothes
If the weather permits, hang out washed clothes to dry. Shake out your clothes and hang either outside on the washing line, drying rack or on hangers to air dry. This is better for the planet and better for your clothes compared to using a dryer as it uses a lot of energy to run and can also damage certain fibres. Pay attention to clothing labels as some fabrics, such as woolen items, might be better dried flat.
Avoid too much dry cleaning
Dry cleaning can be a highly chemical intensive process that has negative environmental impacts and can also have a negative effect on textiles fibres and consumers’ skin. If the only option for the garment is dry cleaning, look for environmentally friendly cleaners offering non-toxic and ‘eco’ cleaning services.
Some consumers avoid buying a garment that says dry clean only on the label thanks to the extra effort involved in cleaning the item, but actually most delicate items labelled as ‘dry clean only’ can be washed on gentle, lower temperature cycles (unless the item has details that might become damaged in the washing machine).
Repair damage a.s.a.p
When you first notice a hole or rip in a garment, repair it the first chance you get! This will keep the garment in a wearable state and increase the lifespan of the item. Also avoiding the item going to a landfill and any damage will likely worsen over time if left unresolved. E.g. de-pilling a worn jumper or dying a discoloured fabric will keep them in a wearable condition.
Store clothes carefully.
Store all clothes protected from sunlight, excess heat and dampness. The correct storage can prolong the lifespan of a garment. Thoroughly clean clothing before storage so any dust or debris won't cause any damage. Use a good quality hanger with padding or wide frames to protect garments from being misshapen. Clothes need breathing space so try not to overfill wardrobe space to avoid wrinkling or colour loss from clothes rubbing together.
Re purpose to get a new style or alter to fit.
Get items taken in or altered from a tailor shop or do it yourself. Many people no longer wear their favourite pieces because they can become ill fitting or the style isn't right anymore. A simple alteration like shortening a full-length dress into mid or short length or taking it in at the waist can give you what feels like a new outfit.
Taking care of your clothes correctly can help maintain their appearance and longevity. Different clothing types require different care instructions, so it's important to follow the care label guidelines for each garment. By following these tips, you can keep your clothes looking their best for years to come.