What if I told you there was a way to save money while doing something good for the environment? While making your clothes last longer will save you cash by reducing the frequency in which you need to buy new ones, it also helps cut the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills.
Here are 10 ways to make your clothes last longer while doing something good for the planet:
1. Zip and unbutton
Laundry machines put our clothes through a bit of a beating. By zipping up a zipper, you prevent the clothing from pulling in too many directions and by unbuttoning a shirt, you reduce the amount of strain on the buttons and buttonholes.
2. Turn it inside out
Wash coloured items inside out so they can hold on to that colour a little longer.
3. Use less detergent and softener
Don’t use fabric softener on moisture-wicking or stain-resistant gear. While you’re at it, reduce the amount of detergent and fabric softener you’re using. Too much chemical detergent can degrade the fibers in your textiles faster.
4. Wash on cold
Wash on cold to prevent the heat from making your clothing shrink to unwearable sizes. This will also reduce the amount of electricity used to heat the water. Speaking of energy, why not skip the dryer altogether and hang your clothes?
5. Steam instead of iron
Ironing is much more intensive on fibers and it takes a lot longer to iron clothing than steaming it – so it might be time you invest in a personal steamer.
6. Know when to fold and when to hang
Some materials, like silk, satin, lace and starched cotton, last longer when they are hanging and others that are heavy, embellished or stretchy like lycra and jersey should be folded to keep them from losing their elasticity.
7. Remove it from the dry cleaner bag
Leaving clothing in the dry cleaner bag actually holds the dry cleaning chemicals in the bag and decreases the longevity of the textile fibers over time.
8. Spot clean
Spot clean when you can and if you must wash, sort the colours and fabrics by washing light fabrics together (and same for dark). Heavy textiles should also be washed together, so they don’t rub on soft materials. Super dirty clothes should not be washed with hardly worn clothes. For example, washing t-shirts together will help them last longer because they don’t have buttons, zippers or anything else beating them up in the washer.
9. Become fluent in fabric care symbols
Fabric care symbols are there for a reason, but sometimes it feels like they are in another language. Here’s a laundry guide to common care symbols to help you out.
10. Buy quality
Quality items will last even longer. Longer lasting indicators are: lighter colours that will fade less, well-finished items that will hold up over time and items that are reinforced in areas where your clothes tend to wear out.