12 Ways to care for your clothes and make them last longer
Building a sustainable wardrobe is not just about buying sustainable or pre-owned items, it’s also about taking care of your existing clothes in order to make them last longer. Extending the lifespan of your clothes can help reduce carbon, water and virgin material footprints. Here’s some ways to incorporate some good garment care habits:
- Avoid over-washing which can fade, shrink or cause your garment to lose its shape. Before you put a garment into the laundry, ask yourself if it really needs to be washed or just a refresh, i.e. deodorise or air outside.
- Turn your garment inside out, close all zips and fastenings before putting it into the washing machine to avoid abrasions and damage to the garment.
- Check the load limit for your washing machine. Overfilling will cause friction and damage your garment, whereas underfilling can cause over-washing.
- To avoid having your garment shrink or misshapen, go for a low or delicate spin cycle, and use a laundry mesh bag, especially for delicate fabrics.
- Air dry instead of putting your garment into a dryer which can cause wear and tear. Hang your garment on a drying rack, or lay out flat to dry especially for undergarments and knits.
- Sort your garments before washing. Wash whites, colors, delicates and soiled clothes separately.
- Use warmer temperatures for whites to better remove stains and grimes.
- Dry your whites under direct sunlight as the UV rays have a bleaching effect and kill germs.
- Cold wash for colors and blacks to prevent fading and preserve the color.
- Repair a damage like a tear or a small hole early before it gets worse and cannot be salvaged.
- Alter or rework a garment style that no longer works for you, for example, shortening a maxi into a knee length Summer dress or skirt, or turning a button-down, slim cut work shirt into a sleeveless, cropped top for the weekend.
- Repurpose your old garments, turn them into aprons, table rags or coasters.
And lastly, but most importantly, invest in beautiful, quality clothes that spark joy every time, and very often, you wear them. Hallmarks of such pieces include timeless designs, thicker fabrics, better construction and fit, and quality workmanship.