If you buy quality clothes and take care of them, they will last much longer than if you buy cheaply made clothes that fall apart after a few washes.
In addition, making your clothes last longer is better for the environment.
Textiles are some of the leading polluters in the world, and the more clothes you can wear before throwing them out, the less of an impact you’ll have on the planet!
Here are Techniques that Extend the Lifespan of Clothes:
Mend and repair your own clothes. Keep moisture off of clothes to prevent mildew. Store your clothes in dry, dark areas like closets. Hang your clothes when you can instead of folding them. Buy natural fiber clothes instead of synthetic ones. Always follow the care instructions for your fabrics.
1. Mend and Repair your own Clothes
Fixing your old clothes can give them a new lease on life.
Instead of being cast aside, you can wear your favorite shirt or pair of jeans for years to come.
Knitting, sewing, and mending your own clothing is a great way to ensure that they last a long time, and it can also be a relaxing, fun hobby!
Fixing Clothes on Your Own
Rather than buying a new sweater or taking it to a seamster to get fixed, you can repair your own clothes!
Mending and repairing your own clothing will save you money and time. You won’t have to shop around all day looking for new things, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment from doing it yourself!
Fixing or mending clothes is also a great stress reliever, as it can give you a moment to relax, work with your hands, and look away from a computer screen or turn off your phone.
Updating the Size of Clothes
Not only can you alter your clothes to fix wear and tear, but you can also alter clothing for size changes.
For example, if you have children, you can add length or width to your knitted or sewed clothing by altering it to its new size. That way, you won’t have to constantly buy new clothes for children going through growth spurts!
Also, if you lose or gain weight, altering or updating your clothes to match your size makes them more comfortable and look better on your body!
Saving Old Clothes from Donation and Landfills
Repairing your own clothing, rather than recycling or donating old clothes, is a great way to keep your wardrobe tidy.
You’ll also be able to keep those favorite sweaters or inherited clothing from your family if you care for it yourself!
In addition, repairing your old clothes can help to reduce textile waste. Every year, massive amounts of textile waste end up in landfills, releasing harmful chemicals into the environment.
By creating something new or fixing something old, you can help to reduce this environmental impact!
2. Treat Winter Clothing for Moisture
Winter can be hard on clothing, especially outerwear exposed to the elements.
To help prevent moisture damage, taking care of your winter clothing properly is important:
Treat and Waterproof Boots and Coats
Moisture from snow and rain can cause fabrics to become damp, which can lead to mildew and other problems.
Waterproof waxes and water-repellant sprays can help protect your clothes, especially your shoes. For leather boots especially, use wax-based materials that are compatible with your shoes.
You can also use waterproofing sprays on running gear or winter coats to keep them from getting too damp out in the elements.
Storing Damp Clothes
When you come inside, make sure to take care of your clothes right away.
After each wear, hang your wet clothes up to dry in a warm, well-ventilated area. Avoid using the dryer too much, as the heat can damage delicate fabrics.
If your clothes get soaked, wash them as soon as possible. You don’t want to leave any chance for mildew or mustiness.
When storing winter clothes for the offseason, ensure they are clean and completely dry before putting them away.
3. Choose Natural, Thicker Materials Over Synthetics
You should always consider the materials you’ll want in your clothes to make sure they last longer, as some clothing materials are more durable than others.
Natural fibers, rather than synthetic ones, are generally stronger and are nicer to look at, and thicker materials will always hold up to more abuse than thin, delicate ones.
Natural vs. Synthetic Materials
Natural fibers like cotton and wool are typically more durable than synthetics like polyester and nylon.
This is because polyester and nylon are manufactured fabrics produced by combining multiple chemicals. Synthetic materials aren’t as nice to look at, nor as long-lasting – especially if they are made too thin.
Wool, on the other hand, is a natural fiber derived from sheep. Wool fibers are stronger and less likely to break than synthetic ones, and wool has a natural resistance to dirt and stains.
As a result, it can retain its appearance longer.
Oh, and don’t even get us started on how polyester and nylon affect the environment! it’s basically plastic and there are no good processes for getting rid of it again.
Finally, wool is a breathable fabric that helps regulate body temperature and can reduce the risk of skin irritation (if you aren’t allergic). That means it not only lasts long and looks good, but it also feels good!
Thicker vs. Thinner Materials
Thicker fabrics are often better at hiding wrinkles and other imperfections, so they look newer for longer.
This is why denim jeans, made from heavy cotton twill, can last for years with proper care, while a silk blouse will show wear much sooner.
For instance, linen is a natural fiber that tends to be delicate. Linen is made from flax fibers which are very strong and durable and is highly resistant to dirt and stains.
However, linen clothing will wear out quickly if you don’t take good care of it. On the other hand, real denim is thick, strong, and can handle a lot of abuse before it wears out.
Plus, faded or worn-looking denim is a fashionable style, so even if your jeans start to wear, they will still look good.
4. Use Sustainable Laundry Practices to Keep Clothes Safe
Many people don’t know that laundry can harm their clothes.
The detergents and fabric softeners used in the wash can cause fibers to break down, making them more susceptible to damage. In addition, the high temperatures of the dryer can cause shrinkage and color fading.
To protect your clothes, it’s important to follow the care instructions on the label.
Use a gentle cycle for delicate items, and avoid overloading the machine. When drying, use the lowest heat setting possible. Take items out of the dryer promptly to avoid wrinkles, and hang delicate items to air dry.
With a little care, you can keep your clothes looking new for longer.
Follow Care Instructions:
Keep an eye on the care instructions written on the clothing tag or as described by the manufacturer.
Different fabrics have different care instructions; if you don’t follow them, you could damage your clothes.
For example, many delicate fabrics should be hand-washed instead of machine-washed. Others should be washed in hot or cold water.
Some clothes dry-clean only, while others should be air-dried instead of in the dryer.
Depending on the kind of materials your clothing is made of, using the right care methods will prolong their life quite a bit.
Avoid Certain Chemicals and Detergents:
Too much detergent can strip the natural oils from your clothes, making them more likely to shrink or fade.
Over time, these harsh substances can break down the fibers in the fabric, leading to fading, pilling, and other forms of deterioration.
In addition, chemicals can also cause skin irritation, so it is important to be careful when using them.
Fortunately, there are ways to clean clothes without relying on harsh chemicals. For example, vinegar and baking soda can be used as natural alternatives to laundry detergent.
Add a cup or less of vinegar to your washing machine and regular detergent for light washes. For tougher stains, pre-treat the area with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda before washing as normal.
Ensure you are using the right amounts, and don’t overdo it!
Wash with Cold Water:
Use cold water instead of hot water whenever you can.
Not only is hot water more likely to cause shrinkage and damage, but clothes tend to last longer when they are washed in cold water.
Hot water can also cause fabric fibers to break down over time, leading to premature aging of garments.
On the other hand, cold water is more gentle on delicate fabrics, such as silk and wool. It is also less likely to cause color bleeding, so your clothes will retain their vibrant hue after washing.
Additionally, washing with cold water can save you money on your energy bill. Heating water takes up a lot of energy, so cold water can reduce your energy consumption and lower your carbon footprint.
Air Dry When Possible:
Always air dry your clothes whenever possible to prevent the high heat of a dryer from causing shrinkage and damage.
Not only does air drying require no electricity, but it is much gentler on fabrics. Many garments will last longer if they are air-dried rather than tumble-dried.
For those times when you need your clothes to dry quickly, there are a variety of types of clotheslines and drying racks that you can use indoors or out.
Furthermore, you can save on energy costs, protect delicate clothes, and return to a simpler lifestyle with a little air drying now and again!
5. Use the Right Products on Your Clothes
Laundry helps keep your clothes clean and safe, but there are other things you can do to help your clothes last longer.
From lint rollers to ironing, from storage to steaming, there is always an extra step that you can take to protect your clothes:
A lint roller is a must-have for removing fuzz and lint from fabric and can also help prevent pilling.
To use one, roll it over the surface of your clothing in a back-and-forth motion. The lint will adhere to the roller, leaving your clothes clean and lint-free.
If you have pets that get your shirt or pants too hairy, lint rolling is better than wearing out your clothes with multiple washes.
Lint rolling is gentle on clothing and won’t damage delicate fabrics like vacuuming or using a lint brush does.
Overwashing and drying your clothes – even with good detergent – will wear them out quickly. It would be best if you relied on lint rollers for regular, non-laundry days.
Fabric shavers are a great way to keep your clothes looking new and extend their life. In addition, it can also help to save money by reducing the need for frequent trips to the dry cleaner.
Fabric shavers are designed to remove pills, lint, and fuzz from clothing.
They can be used on various fabrics, including wool, cashmere, and cotton.
Most fabric shavers have a rotating blade that quickly and easily removes pills and lint.
Others also have a built-in lint catcher to prevent the pills and lint from being redistributed onto the clothing.
For best results, always test the fabric shaver on an inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure that it will not damage the fabric.
If you do it carefully, steaming can help extend the life of your clothes.
Steaming can help to remove wrinkles and restore shape to fabric, making clothes look newer for longer. In addition, steaming can help to kill bacteria and freshen up the fabric.
However, it’s important to be careful when steaming, as too much heat can damage delicate fabrics. If you’re unsure how to steam your clothes without damaging them, it’s best to consult a professional.
Donating or recycling clothes with permanent stains happens all the time.
Using stain removers outside of regular laundry days can prevent overwashing or overdrying your clothes.
Overwashing can wear out fabrics quickly, so spot cleaning with stain remover is a great way to prevent this.
Just make sure you are using your stain remover properly. While stain removers can help to prolong the life of some fabrics, they can also damage delicate clothing.
It is generally best to spot clean with a mild detergent. For tough stains, pre-treat with a gentle cleaner before washing.
Ironing can help to extend the life of your clothing.
When clothes are stored in a drawer, they can become wrinkled and matted. This can sometimes permanently ruin a high-quality blouse or pair of pants.
That’s why hanging your clothes rather than folding them is recommended for several pieces.
Therefore, by taking the time to smooth out the fabric with an iron and hang your clothes, you can help to keep your clothes looking new for longer.
Also, while it might be gross, ironing can help to prevent damage from insects and moths. The heat from the iron helps to kill any eggs or larvae that may be present in the fabric, stopping them from causing further damage.
Just follow all ironing instructions or limitations depending on your clothing materials.
Whether you use hangers for air-drying or hanging clothes to prevent wrinkles, investing in hangers is great for keeping clothes looking better for longer.
The heat from a clothes dryer can cause the fabric to shrink and warp. In addition, the tumbling action can wear down fibers, causing them to break and leading to premature fading.
Hanging your clothes up to air dry, on the other hand, is much gentler on fabric. Fresh, gentle air helps freshen clothes while they dry and retain their shape and color much better.
Clothes that are hung up can also air out more easily, which is ideal for items that tend to hold onto odors (like workout gear).
In addition, hanging your clothes takes up less space than folding them, making hanging a good option for small closets or crowded dressers.
Garment and Storage Bags:
Garment bags are an invaluable tool for anyone who wants their clothes to last a long time.
Garment bags are made of smooth, durable fabric that helps to protect clothes from wrinkles. They also help to keep clothes clean and free of dust and other airborne particles.
Garment bags also prevent smoke or odor damage. If you live with someone who smokes, storage bags protect expensive clothing like leather and wool, which can absorb those odors.
In addition, garment bags help to protect against moths and other insects that can damage clothing.
Finally, garment bags are perfect for those once-in-a-lifetime clothes, like wedding and prom dresses or family heirloom blouses or hats.
6. Prevent Clothes from Fading Over Time
Hot water, harsh chemicals, and overwashing or overdrying can cause your clothes to lose color over time.
It can be difficult to restore the color once it is gone, but not impossible. Still, it is better to prevent fading before it happens!
By following these simple tips, you can keep your clothes looking vibrant for years to come:
- Choose the right detergent and washing cycle.
- If you are washing bright colors, use a color-safe detergent on the gentle cycle.
- Avoid using fabric softener, as this can cause colors to run.
- Always wash colorful clothes in cold water, and hang them to dry instead of using a dryer.
- When storing clothes, keep them in a dry, cool, dark place.
- Avoid wearing colorful clothes in direct sunlight for an extended time.