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70+ ways to make your clothes last longer

Finding out these super simple ways to make your clothes last longer has multiple benefits for you, your wallet and the environment.

Whether you buy second-hand clothes or high street clothes, if you neglect to look after them, it won’t be long before you will have to replace them pretty soon.

Taking care of your clothes from the start will:

  • make them last longer
  • maintain their quality for longer
  • save you more money than you know in the long run
  • have that maintained like-new look, keeping you looking stylish for longer
  • help you rock your favourite pieces for longer
  • help reduce the harsh impact it has on our planet by cutting down on our consumption and reduce carbon footprints
  • So all in all, caring and extending the life of your wardrobe will be one of the best things you could do you for, your finances and mother earth.

Below is a list of tips and ways to help make your clothes last longer. All you have to do is give them a go, you’ve got nothing to lose and only the benefits to gain.

1) Buy quality pieces

It’s definitely better to buy one high-quality piece of clothing that will last you multiple seasons, rather than having to buy several of the same for each season. As well as these types of pieces lasting you much longer, they also have an environmentally friendly impact on the plant, people and animals. You may have to pay a little more for them but

2) Use a delicates bag

There are times when, accidentally, your delicate underwear or garments have been ripped and ruined in the washing machine. Investing in a few delicate bags can help protect, maintain and preserve the lifespan of your intimates and other delicate items.

3) Wash less

Your poor garments and what they go through every time you wash them. Their elastic fibres continuously stretched, drained of its colour and now fading, them frustratingly shrinking in the hot dryer. Unless something is visibly dirty, try to get a lot more wear out of your clothing items before running them through the washer, they’ll be less likely to fall apart quicker.

4) Keep all those buttons

The easiest way to prolong the usefulness of your garments is to keep the spare buttons that come with them when you buy them. Create a little box of buttons that you can refer to in case you ever need to replace them.

5) Carry a stain removal pen or wipe

This will help you to tackle stains right away if and when they happen, which will less likely ruin your favourite clothes.

6) Don’t dry clean often

Dry cleaning certain pieces of clothing more than necessary can end up being expensive and require the use of harsh chemicals that can harm your fabrics and the environment. If you have a clothes steamer, run this over your items and allow to air-dry overnight, this will help to refresh your outfits without the huge expense and the use of chemicals.

7) Get it right in the machine wash

The trick is to get the wash load right. Not having a full wash load obviously wastes water but then overloading your washing machine is not good for your clothes and won’t wash properly.

8) Reduce the amount of detergent and fabric conditioner

The more detergent and fabric conditioner you use is not necessarily better as this can actually make your clothes duller and stiffer. A tip you could use is to use ½ the amount of detergent to ½ the amount of baking soda and that should act as a booster to your detergent and clean your clothes as a regular detergent normally would.

9) Wash clothing inside out

This will help preserve the outside colour and quality of your clothes. This is particularly useful to prevent the cracking and fading of clothing that have prints on them.

10) Use a clothesline or drying rack

It’s eco-friendly, cheaper and preserves the life of your garments.

11) Store clothes and accessories in a cool and dry environment

Avoid storing your clothes in mouldy, damp environments. Giving them a little breathing space in your wardrobe will help avoid wrinkling, rubbing and fading of the fabrics.

12) Buy better hangers

You may have to pay a little more for them, but buying wooden hangers will take better care of your clothes as compared to plastic and wire hangers as these tend to stretch out the shouldering parts of your clothing which will leave you with a saggy fit.

13) Know your iron

To avoid shrinkage or even burning of your clothing, use your iron at the right temperature for specific items. A good tip is to set the temperature slightly lower than what’s recommended as this will get out most light creases and avoid accidental damage.

14) Fold your knitwear and heavy sweaters on a shelf

You might think you’re doing your heavier items a favour by hanging them up but this will actually stretch your items over time and you’ll be left with a droopy and saggy jumper. Fold and store away your knitwear and heavy sweaters with essential oil scents that will not only keep your items smelling fresh but will help keep away the moth holes.

15) Learn basic mending

Learning a few basic sewing and mending skills will save you money and you’ll be able to keep your garments for longer.

16) Inspect, treat and reinspect stains

Stains happen and do not always disappear after the first attempt at its removal so remember to recheck the stained area after washing it. You may have to repeat the treatment if it has not gone.

17) Read fabric care labels

A very simple and easy way to preserve the lifespan of your clothing is to follow its care label, especially if the item is new. The care label is basically giving you the guidance tips on how to best treat your clothes when having to put them through a slightly harsh process such as washing.

18) Always sort laundry properly

Whites with whites. Colours with colours. Also, pay attention to mixing your delicates with your not so delicate clothing. You don’t want to end up finding your favourite black lace underwear shredded by a jagged metal zipper or mangled and tangled with a thick hooded jacket.

19) Button it up, zip it up

Button up, zip up, close up your garments and turn them inside out before putting them in the wash. This will help prevent wear and tear on the item and will be less likely to snag and hook onto other items in the wash.

20) Lower the heat

Follow the care label instructions and learn to use the correct water temperature for different clothing items. High heat and hot water can cause shrinking, stretching and set stains, which can lead to the fast track damage of your fabrics.

21) Don’t overload the washer

This can be harmful to your clothes due to them being compacted and tossed around in a confined space causing them to rub together and not getting as clean as you think.

22) Be careful with bleach

Normal chlorine bleach will cause damage to any fabric so if you need to use it, make sure to properly dilute it and know how to use it safely.

23) Wash jeans inside out

This is a big and super easy tip that will help prevent your jeans from fading in the wash from water and detergent.

24) Wash jumpers as little as possible

The freshness of your clothes can last longer than just one wear before they need to be washed, even just hanging them up and airing them out can prolong the need to put them in the washer.

25) Steam your clothes where possible

Compared to using an iron, a steamer is a much gentler way to remove creases from your clothing.

26) Keep shoes and bags in dust bags

This will help keep them looking like new for longer by keeping them dry, clean and protected from dirt.

27) Don’t keep suits or dresses in plastic dry cleaning covers

Plastic dry cleaning covers may do a good job at protecting your clothes from dirt, but enclosed plastic harbours heat and moisture which is bad for your clothes. Try using a dry cleaning garment cover which protects your clothes and is airy.

28) Rotate your clothes

Instead of wearing the same items over and over again, try rotating and mix and match between your favourites and non-favourites. Give all your clothes equal wear and time to recover, this will help your clothes not wear out sooner than necessary.

29) Use pillowcases

Before you get rid of any old bedding that you no longer want, think about reusing the pillow casing as dust bags for things link shoes, bags or even turning them into garment covers for certain items of clothing.

30) Use lavender in your drawers

Hanging lavender bags in your wardrobe and putting them in your drawers not only smells nice but will help keep moths and bugs from creating unwanted holes in your clothes.

31) Air dry your clothes

Simple fresh air and natural sunshine can do a better job at drying your clothes than an energy-consuming dryer.

32) Freeze your tights

Wet your tights in water, squeeze out the excess and put into a plastic bag and store in the freezer overnight. The next day, let the tights reach room temperature before wearing them. This tip should help your tights become more resistant to snags, rips and laddering.

33) Hand wash delicates

This isn’t the most exciting chore on anyone’s list of things to do around the house and if you aren’t up for the handwashing task, then there is a way around it by simply placing them in a mesh bag or pillowcase on a cool temperature wash.

34) Dry whites outside and dark clothes indoors

Natural sunlight tends to lighten clothing which is good news for keeping those whites nice and bright but not so great for darker coloured clothes.

35) Respect your clothes

Give your clothes space and room to breathe and hang nicely and freely. Over cramping and stuffing your clothes together will mean you’d have to use your iron a lot more than you’d like. Creating more work for you and harsher times for your clothes.

36) Dye faded clothes instead of buying new ones

You can bring your favourite garments that you are not ready to let go off back to life. You can rejuvenate faded clothing by washing them in clothing dye with like for like block-coloured garments.

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37) Practice good hygiene

Sweat causes stains and your clothes can harbour bacteria, so keeping yourself fresh, clean and wearing a good deodorant/antiperspirant will help keep your clothes cleaner and in better condition.

38) Stuff your shoes and bags

Stuffing your shoes and bags with newspaper, tissue paper or packaging paper will help them to keep their shape for longer.

39) Regularly waterproof your leather accessories

To prevent damage, apply waterproofing products for leather to protect and keep like new for longer.

40) Spot clean small stains instead of washing the whole garment

Target clean stained areas instead of putting the whole item into the wash. This will preserve the shape, quality and colour of your garments for longer

41) Clean matching two-pieces together

If you wear and wash a pair of trousers more than its matching blazer piece then over time you will see the difference in colour and that the trousers will have faded compared to the blazer. So keep a note of how many times you wear either together or separately and make sure to wash them the same amount of times to keep them looking similar.

42) Practice good storage habits

Folding heavier garments, investing in better hangers, store in cool and dry places will help to make sure your clothes last as long as possible.

43) Learn basic repairs

Not only will you develop new skills but you can also save a lot of your garments from facing disposal.

44) Waterproof fabric shoes with beeswax

Waterproof your favourite wearable and save your canvas shoes or Vans from those damp rainy seasons.

45) Get dressed after your hair and makeup

Cosmetic products can stain and fade garments if any of it gets onto your clothing which can lead to a vigorous cleaning process and even then the stains might not ever come out. If you don’t want to run the risk of messing your hair up or rubbing your makeup with your tops, it’s probably best to put a towel over your shoulders or wear a robe to cover you fully while you finish getting ready.

46) Don’t wash jeans after one wear

You really don’t need to wash jeans after every wear. Unless they are visibly dirty and stained, you will be able to get away with simply airing them out.

47) Freeze fuzzy sweaters to keep them from shedding everywhere

This is a good tip for those really furry and fluffy type tops such as an angora wool sweater. When these types of tops have been taken out of the freezer and given a good shake, most the hairs from the top will shed at once instead of throughout the day.

48) Add a pinch of salt to your wash cycles to keep colours from fading

As well as to preventing the colours from bleeding and help maintain colours in clothing by setting the dye and sealing the colour across washes, it can also act as a stain remover and help reduce yellowing in clothes.

49) Spray clothes with vodka to reduce odour between washes

Making a blended mix of one part vodka and two parts water into a spray bottle will help eliminate that musty smell that can sometimes happen with old clothes or clothes packed into tight spaces with not a lot of air getting to them. After giving your clothes a spritz down and allowing them to air dry, you should notice a big difference in smell.

50) Don’t use fabric softener on moisture-wicking or stain-resistant gear

This will end up sticking and coating the fabric fibres of the material and reduce its effectiveness.

51) Hook your bra on from the back instead of from the front

Learn to put your bra on from the front and hooking it on from the back. This is to help avoid tugging and stretching your bra out as you turn it the correct way round if hooking it up from the front.

52) Use moleskin to hide any under-wire poking out of your favourite bra

This is probably something that will happen to all who wear a bra but unfortunately, it does happen sometimes that the under-wire from your bra becomes exposed and starts poking and stabbing at you. Simply pushing the wire back into its original position and covering the hole with moleskin mole-foam padding will help make it possible for you to wear that bra once again.

53) Use white vinegar

This is an inexpensive way to discourage the fading of your colours act as a fabric softener. It doesn’t stain or make your clothes smell like vinegar and can help make your clothes last longer than you think.

54) Don’t over-dry clothing to avoid ironing

If you use a dryer, you can pull out your clothes halfway through its cycle and finish off air drying your clothes. You’ll save money running your dryer, preserve your clothes fabric and help reduce wrinkles.

55) Wear undershirts

Wearing an undershirt will act as a barrier between you and your clothes. It will help reduce sweat stains from ruining your clothing.

56) Take your outdoor clothes off when you get home

Change into something more homely and comfortable. Avoid getting cooking smells or any staining on your outdoor clothing by airing them out and putting them away ready for their next wear.

57) Check the seams

Check before you buy. Check the inside of the garments for any shabby seams that can unravel. Just because an item is expensive, don’t assume that it was made to a high standard.

58) Give your clothing a rest

Try to rotate clothing items and shoes across your whole wardrobe, instead of wearing the same one thing constantly and every day. This will reduce wear and tear and avoid them getting prematurely worn out.

59) Know your fabrics

Some fabrics are durable and can last longer over others, such as synthetic fibres over natural fibres. But natural fabrics over synthetic fabrics are breathable and you sweat less so you don’t need to wash them as often.

60) Death to moths

Lining your drawers and wardrobe with scents of lavender or cedar should help to discourage moths and keep them away. If you are worried about moth eggs that may have been laid, put the item into a bag and pop it into the freezer for several days.

61) Know how to store clothes

Every now and then, do a wardrobe cleanse. Check for damaged items and decide on what to keep. When putting items back into the wardrobe, fold them properly, hang them up neatly and place items in a protective cover if they need it.

62) Support your local tailor and cobbler

Think about whether a pair of shoes needs a new heel or resoled or if you need something taken in or out or repaired. Slight alterations like this mean you can save and keep your items for longer.

63) Don’t be quick to bin it

Millions of items are sent to the landfill each year and have a huge negative impact on the environment. Why not donate your clothes to a second hand or charity shop for a new lease of life and become someone else’s favourite item.

64) Sniff test

If it is not visibly dirty and has no unpleasant odours then there’s no need to wash it, you can simply hang these up outside and allow the breeze to blow through it.

65) Repair damage

Repair damages to items right away when you first notice it to stop it from getting worse over time. This will help increase the lifespan of the item and keep it in a wearable state.

66) Lay items flat

Avoid hanging up bulkier items to dry as they will stretch and get out of shape.

67) Alter to refresh or fit the style

Update old favourite items with simple alterations like lengthening or shortening a skirt or letting out or taking in the waist for a new fit.

68) Buy what you can care for

Don’t waste your money on delicate and special fabrics if you aren’t going to look after them.

69) Tuck everything in

Zip up, button-up and tuck away straps when putting them into the washer. This will reduce clothes being clumped together and avoid the snagging and ripping off others.

70) Wash you washer

We often take our washing machines for granted and forget that they too need to be taken care of. Keep your machines clean and free of soap scum residue that can build up.

71) Reinforce hems

Reinforcing the hems on your items can make even your cheaper clothes last longer and wear better. You can do this with a simple stitch on your sewing machine or take it to your tailor.

72) Patch early, patch often

A small tear can be stitched up straight away with needle and thread or a small hole can be patched over with fabric that matches or adding a nice patchwork design.