Don’t you hate it when your best outfits get stained, fade in the wash, or develop nasty holes in the fabric? The sad news is that clothes simply aren’t made to last forever these days.
It’s completely reasonable to expect a decent quality dress, shirt, or pair of jeans to be in your closet for 2-5 years. If clothes are made well, they should go out of fashion before they wear out. With lower quality clothes, an easy solution is to save your favorite items for special occasions... but where’s the fun in that?
Luckily, there’s a bunch of clothes washing and storage techniques that reduce wear and tear. With these 9 tips to make your clothes last longer, you’ll be wearing that rock band or travel tee morning noon and night for years to come.
1. Look for Quality When You Shop
As tempting as it is to buy cute tops and shorts for under $20, it actually works out cheaper in the long run to spend a little more on quality clothing items. Look for staple pieces like jackets, jeans, and shirts that won’t go out of fashion in a hurry.
A quick way to check quality is to look for tight stitching on the hem and buttons. If there are already threads coming loose, that hem will be falling down after a couple of washes.
2. Always Read Washing Labels
As convenient as it is to chuck everything you own into 1 load of laundry, nothing could be worse for the longevity of your clothes. Different fabrics have different washing requirements, regardless of whether they fit in with your load of whites, darks, or colors. If labels read ‘cold wash only’, ‘hand wash only’, or ‘dry-clean only’, listen to them. If you try to wing it, there’s a real possibility your clothes could shrink, stretch, or fade in the wash.
3. Inspect Clothes for Stains Daily
How many times have you spilled coffee on white pants or dropped pasta sauce on your top and forgotten about it, only to realize it’s still there after being washed? The earlier you treat a stain, the more likely it is to thoroughly come out.
A good habit to get into is checking clothes for stains at the end of each day and leaving them to soak if required. Another handy tip is to carry a stain removal pen to use on the spot.
4. Wash Dark Clothes Inside Out
To make colors last longer, always turn jeans and other dark items of clothing inside out before placing in the washing machine. When fabrics rub up against each other or against the machine, it increases the chance of fading. You can also add a pinch of salt to colored loads to preserve the brightness.
5. Don’t Leave Clothes to Dry in the Direct Sun
While getting some vitamin D on your clothes is definitely good for that fresh air smell, direct sunlight can also fade and weaken fabric. Hang your clothes up inside or in a covered outdoor area instead.
Air drying clothes is always better than tumble drying. If you do have to use a dryer, turn the heat right down to reduce shrinking, and avoid stains setting in or colors bleeding onto other items. It’s also a good idea to turn the heat down on your washing machine.
6. Keep Lavender in Your Draws to Repel Moths
Moths and silverfish are your worst enemy when trying to preserve clothes. Even if you wash, fold, and store your clothes perfectly, you can still bring them out to find a fast-growing hole from bugs eating through the fabric. Pick up some fresh lavender pouches to place in your draws or hang a few coat hangers. This will keep the bugs away and also keep your clothes smelling nice and floral.
7. Zip Zips Before Washing
If you’ve ever pulled a kitted sweater out of the wash to find threads pulled out of place, you’ll understand the importance of zipping up zips and buttoning up buttons on all items being washed. This reduces the chance of threads catching and snagging.
8. Invest in quality hangers
Cheap, wire hangers can stretch your clothing out of shape. Instead, buy quality wooden or padded hangers. If possible, avoid hanging stretchable sweaters and cardigans as even the best quality hangers can leave lumps in the shoulders. Neatly fold your sweaters on a shelf instead.
9. Regularly Waterproof Leather
Good quality leather boots, jackets and bags can last for decades, unless you walk through a puddle or get caught in the rain. Water is sure to stain and weaken leather, so protect your leather goods with a quick waterproofing spray every few months, depending on how often you wear the items.