For the finest advice on how to maintain your clothing so that it lasts as long as possible, read on.
Taking proper care of your clothes has never been more crucial given that the average lifespan of a clothing item in the UK is only estimated to be 2.2 years and that an estimated £140 million worth of clothing ends up in landfills every year.
By extending the active life of a piece of clothing by just nine months, you can significantly reduce its environmental impact, and by doubling its useful life from one to two years, you can reduce the emissions of a piece of clothing by 24% over the course of a year. This can help you keep your clothes for longer.
According to Wrap, factors that affect how long an item of clothing is kept include the owner’s willingness to wear the same item repeatedly; technical aspects like resilient fabrics, dyes, and colours; the ability of consumers to repair or alter clothes; and how owners take care of their clothing. We are giving some of our best suggestions for caring for your garments so they remain in wonderful shape for as long as possible, since doing so may help to considerably prolong their lifetime.
1. Washing less
Before you wash your clothing, pause. The longevity of clothing may be reduced by washing it too often, according to Chris Morton, head seamstress at Clothes Doctor. This is particularly true of dry cleaning, which employs hazardous chemicals that cause certain materials’ natural fibre follicles to flatten.
Try hanging it outdoors or in a hot bathroom to let it breathe first if an item doesn’t need to be cleaned but simply needs to be freshened up.
2. Use low heat while washing.
When it’s time to wash your garments, do it at a cooler temperature. According to Morton, washing garments at a moderate temperature with a mild laundry detergent will keep the fabric smooth and clean while also preventing colour loss. Washing at 30° or below helps to minimise those emissions while also preserving your clothing. For an average shirt that lasts more than a year, washing and tumble drying account for 80% of the emissions produced during the “in-use” stage of its life cycle.Underwear, beds, and towels that come into direct contact with your skin may be the exceptions and need a higher temperature wash.
3. Study the care instructions.
Different methods of laundry are required for various materials. For instance, wool should only be hand-washed or gently machine-washed when absolutely necessary, using a wool-specific detergent. According to Morton, delicate materials like cashmere and silk should be carefully cared for since they are especially susceptible to harm from strong chemicals and heat. Pay close attention to the label’s directions, which provide information on the highest suggested temperature at which you should wash an item (rather than the recommended temperature). Unless the label specifies dry cleaning exclusively, that is
4. Reduce the use of dry cleaning.
Due to the additional work required to clean the item, one in three buyers choose not to purchase a garment that is labelled as “dry clean only.” However, the majority of sensitive products with this designation can be cleaned on moderate, lower temperature cycles (unless the item has details that might become damaged in the washing machine). Dry cleaning is a very chemically demanding technique that has an adverse effect on the environment, the fibres of textiles, and the skin of customers. If dry cleaning is the only choice for a garment, seek out green cleaners like Blanc Living that provide non-toxic and “eco” cleaning services.
5. Use eco-friendly washing detergents and powders.
Standard detergents may include components derived from fossil fuels, which may be harmful to the environment since they don’t biodegrade. Your most priceless possessions can survive longer if you use specialised washing solutions like our line of eco-washes and a gentle hand wash, according to Chris. Fortunately, an increasing range of eco-laundry solutions are now available that are produced from biodegradable, plant-based materials and have the additional benefit of being refillable. While Clothes Doctor’s new line of clothing wash products for cashmere, silk, and everyday washing is made from plant-based ingredients that nourish delicate fibres and comes in recyclable aluminium bottles, B Corps Ecover and Method both offer cleaning products made mostly of natural, plant-based ingredients and packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles (it also offers a refill programme).
6. Reverse the washing
Chris continues, “Another helpful hint is to wash clothing inside out when using a washing machine and to prevent overfilling as this may create friction and damage the fibers.”
When you bring your clean clothes in from the washing line, nothing compares to the scent of newly cleaned, air-dried clothing. In addition to smelling fantastic, air drying is healthier for the environment and your clothing than tumble drying, which consumes a lot of energy to operate and may also harm certain fibres.
Instead, shake out your clothing and place it on a drying rack, a laundry line, or a hanger so it can air dry. Once again, pay attention to the labels on your clothes since certain items, like woollen sweaters, may dry more effectively flat.
8. Organise correctly.
According to Chris, proper storage may significantly increase the longevity of a garment. “To avoid damaging dampness, sunshine, and heat, store all of your clothing in a cool, dry place.” Before storing your clothing, make sure it is clean since surface grit and filth might attract damaging clothes moths. To keep clothing moths at bay, store your knitwear with lavender or moth balls.It’s crucial to keep your closet from becoming overstuffed since clothing needs breathing room. By doing so, you’ll also avoid colour fading and wrinkles caused by clothing rubbing against one another.
Use wooden or cushioned hangers while hanging clothes to further prevent clothing from deforming.
9. Repair any harm.
When you first discover any damage to a piece of clothing, Chris says, “Repair it.”
This will not only keep the item out of the trash and in a wearable condition, but it will also lengthen the item’s lifetime since, if the damage is not repaired, it will probably become worse over time.
She continues, “You may also repair and refresh goods to keep them looking their best.” In order to maintain them and keep them in wearable shape, for instance, de-pilling a sweater you’ve worn every day or rehydrating an old leather jacket that has gotten dry or cracked over time,
10. Modify to suit or modernise the style.
Many individuals stop wearing their favourite items because they no longer fit them or because they dislike the fashion, according to Chris. “A simple change, such as taking in at the waist or reducing a full-length dress into a mid- or short-length version, may offer you what seems like a brand new outfit, as well as keep your old favourites updated with the newest fashion,” says the author.