When you purchase clothes, you probably want to ensure that they last a long time. Whether it’s a cute knitted sweater, a crisp button-up shirt, or a sophisticated maxi dress, they should look as good as new each time you wear them. The best way to do this is by taking proper care of them. This not only keeps them pristine, but also saves you money and encourages sustainability. Without the right clothing care, your garments are likely to fade, lose shape, and look shabby at a faster rate.
When your clothes get damaged or become unusable, you’ll need to buy new ones to replace them. However, this is only a temporary solution—if you continue to neglect clothing care techniques, you’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of buying and throwing away apparel. This creates more waste and may not be great for your wallet in the long run.
Thankfully, it’s not difficult to make your clothes last for longer. By investing in the right garments and performing some simple techniques, you can keep your clothes beautiful for years to come. If you want to learn more, below are some clothing care tips to help you get started:
Purchase Quality Garments
Even with proper care, garments made from flimsy materials are likely to quickly deteriorate. Some clothing items aren’t properly constructed due to fast manufacturing processes and a lack of quality control, making them more prone to damage. With that in mind, it’s best to invest in well-constructed garments made from quality materials. Even if quality clothing pieces tend to have a slightly higher price tag, they usually last much longer than other apparel, making them well worth your money.
Invest in clothing staples that never go out of style—their timeless designs and quality materials will keep you looking fashionable for many years. Additionally, consider investing in functional apparel that you know you’ll be frequently wearing. For instance, if you plan on wearing women’s pajama tops every night, it’s worth buying two or more tops made from durable and comfortable materials. Remember, choosing the right clothes will make caring for them much easier.
Address Stains as Soon as Possible
Stains are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to making your clothes look shabby and old. Nothing is more frustrating than spilling sauce on a white shirt—and worse, realizing that the stain won’t go away, even after you’ve washed it. Most stains actually require additional treatment and should also be addressed immediately to prevent them from becoming permanent. Keeping this in mind, make sure to inspect your apparel for any stains before you toss it into the washer.
Treat stains by applying a stain-removing solution onto them. You can easily create a homemade solution by mixing one cup of hydrogen peroxide with half a cup of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. If you want to quickly address stains while on the go, you can carry a stain remover in your bag. These are portable tubes or pens filled with a special cleaning solution. Simply rub the pen’s tip on the affected area then toss your garment into the wash once you get home. Even after your garment has been laundered, make sure to check for stubborn stains before you dry it. If there are stains that haven’t left, do treat them again. The heat from drying can make it more difficult to eliminate stains, which is why you should ensure that they’re completely gone first.
Take Note of Clothing Label Instructions
Most clothes come with labels that tell you how to wash and dry your garments. Do be sure to read them carefully and follow their instructions. For instance, certain delicate fabrics may require hand washing to prevent discoloration and damage. Clothing care labels also emphasize water temperature, as it can greatly affect the appearance of your garments. For example, some fabrics will shrink or stretch when washed in hot water. High heat from dryers and irons may also damage certain clothes, so do be sure to check your apparel’s drying and ironing instructions.
Zip, Button-Up, and Turn Your Clothes Inside-Out
Buttoning-up and zipping your garments will prevent them from hooking onto other clothing items in the wash and damaging them in the process. It also prevents smaller parts like zippers and buttons from breaking and getting lost. For extra measure, you can also turn your clothes inside-out after zipping or buttoning them up. This will protect their exteriors from damage and color fading.
Place Delicate Pieces in a Mesh Bag
To protect your more delicate garments, be sure to place them in a mesh bag before laundering them. These handy bags will protect fragile clothing items—like lingerie—while they’re in the washer. Mesh bags are especially good for items made from machine-washable silk, wool, and lace. Additionally, you can use the bag to keep smaller items like socks in one place, so you’ll never have to lose a pair.
Avoid Overloading Your Washer
Running your washing machine without a full load can be a waste of water and energy. However, overloading your washer can also be disastrous. Cramped garments will rub against each other, which often leads to damage and color fading. Overloading your washer also decreases its performance, preventing your clothes from undergoing a proper cleaning. So if you’re using a top-loading washer, make sure to leave at least six inches of space between the machine’s lid and your laundry. For front-loading washers, you should leave at least half a foot of space at the top.
Use Less Laundry Detergent
Using a lot of detergent doesn’t actually make your clothes cleaner. In fact, less is more—excessive detergent can make your garments stiff and dull in appearance. You can prevent this by using half the recommended amount of detergent with half a cup of baking soda. Baking soda increases your detergent’s effectiveness without decreasing the quality of your clothes. It also helps to use some fabric conditioner, which will keep your clothes soft to the touch. The conditioner acts as a lubricant, preventing the clothes from rubbing too hard against each other while they’re being washed.
Store Your Clothes Properly
Where and how you store your clothes can also affect their appearance and quality. Try to avoid hanging knitted items, as this can cause them to stretch and lose shape over time. The last thing you want is to wear a saggy sweater or cardigan that’s been stretched beyond recognition. Instead, fold your knitwear and place them on a shelf. Additionally, knitwear may get eaten by moths when stored in closets. To prevent unsightly moth holes, it helps to store them with lavender, cedar scraps, or bay leaves, which naturally deter the insects.
For clothes that you plan on hanging, do make sure to buy the right kinds of hangers. Plastic and wire hangers tend to stretch clothing, especially at the shoulder area. With that in mind, purchasing wooden hangers can be a good investment. While they’re a little more expensive, they’ll keep your garments in better condition and also last longer.
Keeping your clothes in tip-top shape throughout the years doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Practicing some caution and care before, during, and after washing them can go a long way. By following the steps mentioned above, your clothes will always look clean and brand new, no matter how many times you wear them.