Words by Melissa Chorlton
Clothing has a lifetime of around 2 years which sounds ridiculous, in reality, they last much less than this because we don’t care for them properly. The issue with this is that many clothes then end up in landfills. It is no secret that fast fashion is one of the largest contributors to pollution in the world, so taking care of your clothing properly is more important than ever. The global production of clothing increases every year and with fast fashion bringing out more low-quality clothing, it feels like a never-ending process. In this article, we will go through some of the top tips for caring for your clothes that will help to keep them for longer and look as good as the first day you purchased them.
Know Your Fabrics
Knowing your fabrics may be one of the most important things you can do when caring for your clothing properly. It can be complicated, but once you have your head around it, you will be able to determine the best methods for cleaning that certain item of clothing. Whether it is suede, plant-based, blended, organic or anything else that you may have, they will all have certain specifications. It is great to see innovations in fabrics for less disruptive and resource-intensive materials being used in clothing. Understanding how to wash certain fabrics, wash cycles, detergents to use and how to dry clothing is an essential part of caring for your clothes properly.
Wash Your Clothes Less
If your clothes aren’t dirty and don’t smell then don’t put them in the wash. Washing your clothes too often is going to deteriorate them much faster as it damages the fibres which in turn reduces your clothing lifespan. When you have only worn something for an hour or two or your clothing just isn’t dirty or it doesn’t smell, then consider putting it back in your wardrobe instead of the laundry basket. You can now buy fabric cleaners that you can spray on your clothing so it smells fresh for your next wear. Alternatively, you can hang your clothes outside and let them air out for an extra fresh scent.
Wash At Low Temperatures
When you are going to clean your clothing, it is important to do it in the kindest way possible. This means using low temperatures and also using a detergent that is gentle and possibly organic. High washing temperatures damage your clothes and will result in colouration fading as well as the fibres getting damaged. 30 degrees or less will do fine, as long as you buy the correct detergent. When washing jackets or denim, it is also best practice to wash them inside out and one at a time to save discolouration. If you are conscious about the environment, then you may want to invest in wash bags such as guppy bags so that the fibres don’t fall out in the wash. This is especially the case with athleisure such as tracksuits as these contain harmful fibres.
Always Sort Through Your Laundry
When an item of clothing is dirty you obviously put it in the laundry basket. This leaves all of your clothes mixed together. Darks, colours and whites should not be combined so it is vital that you sort through your washing before you wash them. The best way to do this is to separate your clothes and also read the instructions as some materials may be more delicate than others. If you do wash all your clothes together, you could face all of your washing being different colours, damaged fibres, pulled zippers or worse.
Store Your Clothes Correctly
We all have clothes that are looking a bit worse for wear and we all know how it feels when you open your wardrobe and it’s just a cluttered mess. This is one thing that is ruining your clothes. Instead, a top tip for caring for your clothes, you need to keep your clothing aerated with space between your hangers. Draws should not be crammed with clothes, you need to have this in a way that your clothes are folded neatly away without brimming out. If you don’t have enough room in your wardrobe, it is time to start purchasing some vacuum bags so you can easily store them away when out of season.
Repair Damage, Don’t Throw
One thing that doesn’t happen enough these days is people repairing their own clothing, or even getting them repaired at all. If you see any damage in your clothing, repair it as soon as you can so it doesn’t get worse. This will result in you still having a great item of clothing, rather than it ending up in a landfill. This is a great tip for caring for your clothes, but it is important to understand how to repair different types of clothing. Increasing the lifespan of clothing is a result of caring for your clothes properly, so if you have anything over 2.5 years and it still looks good to wear, then you are doing a great job.
Pre-treat Stains Before Washing
Stains are something that must be dealt with straight away and it is pretty simple to do with an easy cleaning solution. Take some warm water, and put some detergent in it. If you are hand washing, the powder is best as you can rub this into the stain to encourage it to come out in the wash. If using a liquid, simply add it directly to the stain. Once rubbed in, pop it in the wash for a final rinse.