Your clothes shouldn’t need to be replaced after just a few months. Check out these 10 tips for making clothes last longer.
With all the benefits of using capsule wardrobes, one of the potential side effects if that you wear your clothing more often. This is a good thing because you’re getting more mileage out of that clothing. More bang for your buck. But it can also mean your clothes are wearing out more quickly.
Not to worry! There’s lots you can do. I’ve got 10 tips you can try right now.
10 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer
1. Start with Quality
As you add new clothing to your wardrobe, look for quality fabrics and quality manufacturing. Feel the seams to make sure they don’t feel like they’ll pull apart easily. Put your hands in the pockets, do and undo the buttons and zippers, put the item on and move around in it.
Be careful though. Price does NOT always equal quality. I learned that the hard way when I purchased an expensive basic t-shirt and it became so thin it was practically see-through after just 1 season.
Also, quality and durability are not synonymous. As a boutique owner, I have had to explain this to some customers. Just because an item has a higher price tag does not mean it’s going to withstand rough wear and being put in the dryer. Which brings me to my next several points about caring for your clothing.
2. Wash Inside Out
When your clothing is in the washing machine, it is being agitated to loosen particles that have soiled your clothing (dirt, natural skin oils, lotions and perfumes, etc.) That agitation is necessary for the washing process, but it also causes a lot of friction on your clothing as it’s rubbed and shaken around. Friction causes the surface of the fabric to wear.
Turning your clothing inside-out to wash will help the outside surface of your clothing to last longer. This reduces the amount of friction happening to that surface, which will help to reduce fading and pilling of the fabric.
3. Fasten Zippers and Buttons
Zippers and buttons can easily get caught on loose threads and in more delicate fabrics. Fastening them helps to minimize the damage they can cause. And be careful not to wash particularly delicate fabrics, like lace, with clothing that has hooks or other fasteners that can easily catch. Those items are often better hand-washed.
4. Avoid Heat
Heat weakens the fibers in fabric so they break down more quickly. Always wash on the coldest setting possible and air dry (hang or lay flat). If you need to, you can always fluff your clothing in the dryer on a low or no-heat setting, but only do that for as long as you need to and remove the clothing right away to avoid wrinkles. And only iron when absolutely necessary.
5. Avoid Fabric Softeners
In addition to causing many health concerns, fabric softeners work by coating fabric with a substance that is resistant to soaps and detergents. The substance makes your clothing feel soft, but it also makes it less absorbent. Because water can’t penetrate the fabric as well, the clothing actually doesn’t get as clean and can begin to hold stains and odors over time that would normally wash out if the fabric softener coating weren’t a barrier.
6. Use a Garment Bag
A garment bag can help to reduce the friction that happens inside the washing machine. It can also protect clothing from snags caused by zippers and buttons. I like to use a garment bag for open knit or lace items that are durable enough to withstand the washer but delicate enough that they could use a little extra protection.
7. Use Quality Hangers
Those thick plastic hangers you’re probably using? Yeah, they might be causing your clothing to stretch in ways that make it unflattering when worn. Clothing tends to slip on those hangers, which means your tops are stretching in the neck and shoulders. I highly recommend velvet coated non-slip hangers.
This might be a small splurge as these hangers are more expensive than the plastic ones. But if you are using a capsule wardrobe, you only need around 30-ish hangers. Even fewer if you tend to include several sweaters and pairs of jeans that don’t hang. These are less than $15 for a pack of 30.
8. Use a Fabric Shaver
If you clothing does start to get fuzzy or pill, use a fabric shaver and nip it in the bud. If fuzzing and pilling is left alone, it will worsen to the point of being beyond repair.
9. Wear Your Correct Size
Aside from being uncomfortable, wearing clothing that is too small is hard on your clothes. Putting the fabric and seams under more pressure than what they were designed for causes them to weaken and stretch. If you need help figuring out what size you wear, look for a small boutique where the owner hand-picks the clothing. You’re much more likely to find someone who truly understands the clothing and how it should to fit.
10. Learn to Mend
No matter how well you handle and care for your clothing, it could still get damaged. A thread could come loose or snagged. That doesn’t mean the item is at the end of it’s life.
Sewing is becoming a lost art. But it’s such a useful one! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mended a hem or a pocket or a seam. I’d much rather take the time to do that than toss a piece of clothing I love to wear. And basic sewing skills are pretty easy to learn.
Do you have tips and tricks for making clothing last longer? How about some fun ways to use clothing that is at the end of it’s life? Go ahead and share in the comments!