Clothes Care 101: How to Make Clothes Last Longer

There is nothing worse than being super excited about a new purchase and watching it seemingly fall apart in front of your eyes after just a handful of washes. Yes – sometimes this can be due to the clothes not being of great quality. However, sometimes it can be the case that you just aren’t quite giving your clothes the care they need. 

You can do many things to make clothes last longer, and if you are looking to do just that, you have come to the right place! In this article, we will be outlining our top 10 clothes care tips; but first things first, why is it important to make clothes last longer?  

Why is it important to make clothes last longer?

The obvious answer is the benefits it presents you (and your wallet!). Making clothes last for longer means you get more wears for the cost of the item, making each item in your wardrobe better value for money in the long run.

However, practicing good clothes care and making your clothes last is also a great way to reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe. Sadly, more than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK each and every year.

By taking better care of your clothes, you can keep them in circulation for longer and keeping them from going to landfills. According to WRAP, keeping clothes in circulation for just an extra nine months can reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%, meaning your small clothes care changes really can have an impact. 

When you take the best possible care of your clothes, they will last much longer than when poorly treated. Even if you no longer want to wear them, keeping them in the best possible condition means that you can easily donate or sell them second-hand to extend their lifespan further.

Top 10 clothes care tips to make your clothes last longer:

1. Wash your clothes less frequently

Make clothes last longer by washing them less frequently

Washing your clothes less frequently is one of the best ways to keep them in good condition for longer. Some garments such as jeans or knitted wool jumpers don’t need to be washed that frequently. Unless they smell or have a significant stain on them, don’t feel like you need to wash all your clothes after every wear. Washing them less will help keep their shape, reduce fading, and will reduce the chance of threads tugging and leading to any rips or holes. 

A great way to refresh clothes between washes is using a clothes spray such as those by Day2. Not only do they freshen your clothes, but they also leave a lovely smell! In fact, we like them so much, we use them on all our clothes before they are packed and shipped to their new homes.

2. Fold heavy items instead of hanging them

One of the most common mistakes people make when caring for their clothes is hanging everything on hangers thinking that it is the best approach. For items such as shirts or blouses, hanging them is absolutely best. However, it isn’t always the case

Heavier items such as knitted jumpers or cardigans are often better off being folded and stored in a drawer. When they are kept on a hanger, the weight of the garment will cause the item to stretch and pull. This can damage the shape and even lead to holes in the shoulders where they are strained by the hanger.

3. Wash clothes at a lower temperature

Washing clothes at a lower temperature will reduce damage to fabrics such as shrinking, fading or colour bleeding. If you are concerned that stains won’t come out when you set your wash to a lower temperature, you don’t need to be! Most laundry detergents have been designed to be equally effective at low temperatures.

Plus, by setting your wash to a lower temperature, you won’t be using as much energy which can, in turn, save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

4. Actually read the care label

Follow care label to help clothes last longer

When was the last time you actually read the care label when going to wash your clothes? 

We can’t be the only ones that have been guilty of mixing loads for convenience rather than prioritising what is best for each garment. Whether it’s guidance on wash temperature, or a recommendation to handwash, following the care labels of your clothes will help you wash them in the best way possible to help them last for longer.

5. Avoid tumble-drying where possible 

Although tumble-drying your clothes is convenient, it can actually be really damaging to the fabrics. Every time you put your clothes in the dryer, they are exposed to the rough tumbling action, as well as the chance of shrinkage or overheating. 

Hanging clothes to dry on a washing line or clothes horse is much less damaging. Plus, it’s much less energy-intensive – a bonus for both your energy bill and the planet.

6. Repair clothes instead of throwing them away

Repair clothes to help them last longer

Have you ever thrown away an item of clothing due to a small rip or tear?

Fixing minor damage to clothes can often be very simple, especially if it’s just a case of stitching up a small rip or re-attaching a button. By learning some basic sewing techniques, you’ll never need to throw away slightly damaged clothing again. Instead, you will quickly be able to fix damaged clothes with a couple of stitches, meaning you can continue wearing them time and time again. 

7. Wash delicates in a mesh bag

Washing delicates in a mesh laundry bag will help protect them during a wash cycle, especially if you are doing a mixed load. 

Delicate items such as bras, pants, swimwear or tights will last much longer when washed in a mesh laundry bag. It will protect them from getting tangled, stretched or torn when in the washer with other, more resilient items of clothing. 

8. Turn clothes inside out before washing

This is an excellent tip for those clothes that are prone to fading, such as your favourite pair of black jeans. 

Turning clothes inside out before putting them through the wash will help protect the visible side of the clothing, as the inside will take the brunt of the wash cycle. Your clothes will come out just as clean, but this simple tip will help them look as good as new for much longer. 

9. Buy clothes that will last

Buy clothes that will last a long time

When buying new clothes, prioritise finding items that you know will last – not just in terms of quality but also style. Buying garments that you will wear over and over again is a great way to ensure that the items you have in your wardrobe will stand the test of time. 

Too often, people throw away clothes not because they are of poor quality, but because they have fallen out of love with them. Fashion moves so quickly, so it’s important to be mindful when buying clothes that are very heavily driven by what’s ‘in’ at that moment. 

10. If you are tired of your clothes, but they still have life left in them, donate them to extend their lifespan further

Last but not least, if you are tired of your clothes, consider donating or recycling them to keep them in use rather than just throwing them away. Just because you no longer enjoy wearing them doesn’t mean someone else won’t! 

Recycling clothes is a great way to extend the lifespan of your clothes, and if you have been following these clothes care tips, we are sure they will have years of enjoyment left ahead of them.

If you are interested in re-homing your old clothes, Re-Fashion is here to make it as simple as possible. All you need to do is order a clear-out bag online, fill it with your old clothes, and send it to us for free. It couldn’t be easier!

Small changes can go a long way to making your clothes last longer

We hope these clothes care tips help you discover how to take care of your clothes to make them last much longer. Every small step that you take to make your clothes last longer will add up to create a positive change! After all, taking better care of your clothes will not only save you money but will also help you to minimise your impact on the environment.

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