Depending on your personality, clothes are either a necessary evil or one of the best parts of every day. You don’t have to be a fashionista to want your clothes to last, though. We all have a favourite shirt or pair of jeans that gives us anxiety every time we stick it in the wash.
To help you care for your clothes and make them last longer and stronger, we’ve made this helpful list of 12 simple tips to keep your clothes like new. Follow these rules to make your clothes stand the test of time.
1. Wash Less
This may sound counter-intuitive, but the washing (and especially drying) your clothes can do more damage to them than everyday wear and tear. Get out of the habit of washing your clothes after wearing them just once. A quick sniff test and a check for any stains will let you know if your clothes really need a wash, or if they’d be okay to wear another day.
2. Always Close Zippers
Zippers and bra hooks can be devastating to fellow clothing articles in the wash. Always zip and button pants and hoodies, and hook your washer-safe bras before starting a new load. For extra points, turn these articles inside out to further protect your laundry and the zipper’s integrity.
3. Limit Dryer Use
We’ve already mentioned that dryers can do damage to your clothes, but you should understand that even clothes that seem to come out fine are taking a beating from extreme temperatures and constant tumbling inside your machine. We’re not saying every single t-shirt or sock should be hang-dried, but it would be wise to invest at least in an indoor clothes rack for your nicer clothes. It takes less time than you think and your clothes will last much longer and retain their color better.
4. Use Color-Safe Bleach
Bleach is a lifesaver when it comes to brightening whites to their former glory, or removing tough stains. It’s also very hard on clothing fibres and isn’t safe for colours. Just a little bleach can ruin your favourite piece! Instead, opt for color-safe bleach, which is gentler on clothing and safe to use with any coloured garment.
5. Knits Need Special Attention
Depending on the material of your knit, it may require different care instructions, but almost all knit items are subject to stretching and snagging. Reduce this risk by hand-washing and air-drying knit items. If you’re impatient, cold water on the gentle cycle is appropriate for acrylic and cotton. Fold to store.
6. Be Delicate with Delicates
Certain materials like lace, silk, nylon and not to mention undergarments, lingerie’s need special care when washing, because they are at high risk for shrinking, tearing, stretching, and deteriorating with intense agitation or hot temperatures. Always treat delicates like hosiery, lingerie, silk scarves and socks, and fine linens to a hand wash in mild detergent, followed by air drying.
7. The Right Hanger is Everything
No piece of clothing can survive the awkward shape and lack of support offered by wire and plastic hangers. Both are too thin to give proper shape to your tops, and will cause stretching and hanger marks on the shoulders. Get wooden or padded hangers to boost the longevity of your clothes.
8. Proper Storage
Not everything should be folded, nor should every piece be hanged. Follow these rules:
- Knit and stretchy materials should be folded.
- Dress clothes should be on supportive hangers.
- Don’t stuff clothes in closets or drawers; allow enough room to “breathe”.
- Make sure storage space is dry, and rewash any clothes that smell of mildew.
9. Separate Colors
This is important for a few reasons, but essentially it:
- Reduces bleeding
- Keeps blacks and white from going grey
- Is especially important for blues and reds
10. Use Cold Water Washes
It’s tempting to use warm water for a boost of cleaning power, but you’ll regret it in the long run. Cold water is easier on your clothes, causes less bleeding, and reduces the damage done to delicate fabrics like elastic. It’ll also save you a couple bucks in utilities every month.
11. Work and Play
No matter if your job has you sitting at a desk or running around all day, your work clothes and “street” clothes should always be kept separate. It may seem old-school, but having a separate set of clothes for after work will make them last much longer, and hopefully you can also wash them less often. Never, ever wear your street clothes or work clothes to bed.
12. Undergarments are Key
Another old-school trend that we seem to have forgotten is the use of undergarments. Believe it or not, relics like slips, undershirts, and camisoles serve more purpose than modesty. They also keep sweat and skin oils from dirtying our other clothes. They’re also easier on buttons and zippers, reducing the friction between your movements and clothes.
13 . Keep Your Clothes Looking Great
Proper care instructions are essential for keeping your clothes at their finest, so always be sure to look at the tag BEFORE you buy an item to ensure you’re willing to give it the right maintenance. Nothing’s worse than wearing something once before it’s ruined forever by the wash.
If you’re not exactly a seamstress, remember it’s much cheaper to get an item patched up at the dry cleaner than to replace it entirely. You’d be amazed how well a good tailor can alter the fit of something, too, adding years of usefulness to your garments even after weight loss or gain.
Featured photo credit: buzznigeria.com via buzznigeria.com