How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

There are plenty of steps you can take to make your clothes last longer, saving you money and minimizing waste.

make your clothes last longer

The throwaway culture which is endemic within much of the western world is one of the world’s largest contributors to waste. The more eco conscious amongst us may buy versatile items to reduce the need for hundreds of pieces of clothing, and sell or donate to charity any unwanted items, but one of the key problems with this is making items last. While buying more expensive, higher quality items may keep them out of the waste stream for longer, there are other steps you can take to make your clothes last longer, preventing them from becoming waste and reducing your need to consume new resources.

Cut back on washing

Not only does clothes washing consume energy and increase your household’s carbon output, it can also damage clothes in the long run, especially at higher temperatures. Resist the urge to wash items which aren’t particularly worn or dirty and instead, hang them up to air them, making your clothes last longer and stay smelling fresh.

Separate your colours

Many of us get a little lazy with our laundry and throw all our colours in together, which can dull lighter coloured items over time. With a bit more patience, you can wash a full load of whites, darks and colours, helping items to maintain their original vivid colours.

Wash at 30

All the big detergent companies are telling you to do it, it saves money, is better for the environment and is much, much kinder to your fabrics. So turn that dial down a notch and see the benefits!

Air dry your clothes

Tumble driers are convenient appliances, but can guzzle energy costing you money and increasing your household’s emissions. What’s more, all that heat and spinning around isn’t good for your clothes. Dryers damage the fibres of your clothes as well as shrinking them and fading colours. Use a washing line on a sunny, breezy day to dry your clothes naturally and keep them smelling fresh, and if the weather isn’t so good, a clothes horse by an open window should do the trick.

Dress for appropriate tasks

It may seem obvious, but don’t be tempted to rush into certain tasks before changing. If you need to cook dinner as soon as you get back from work, slip into something you don’t mind splashing tomato sauce onto, or cover up with an apron. Likewise, if you’re working in the garden, dark colours are the best way to prevent muddy stains from ruining any clothes.

Keep hold of buttons

It’s easy to tear off and lose those spare buttons that come with new jackets and cardigans, many end up thrown away with the labels in the excitement of wearing your new clothes for the first time. To help preserve the lifespan of your new garments, make the effort to keep spare buttons in a box or jar. Buttons coming unattached common, especially on cheaper garments, so keep hold of those spares to replace any lost buttons and keep your clothes looking newer for longer.

Turn items inside out

When machine washing, turning items inside out will protect any delicate fabrics and printed designs. Many printed patterns can easily wrinkle and peel off when heated and washed. Washing with the more delicate side facing inwards will keep them protected from other clothes and the metal drum of the washing machine, whilst washing vibrant colours inside out helps to prevent fading.

Store with care

Storing your clothes properly in a wardrobe is important to protect them from the damage that exposure to sunlight and moisture can cause. Keep any best, rarely worn clothes under breathable, canvas covers rather than plastic, which allows odours and mildew to develop.

Image sourced: Alex Proimos

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