You want your clothing to last longer. You don’t want your favorite clothes to fade, rip, shrink, or wear out. You want every garment in your closet to look and feel as stunning as the day you bought it.
There are three key reasons you want your clothes to last longer.
First, you care about fashion. You know that well-maintained clothes look and feel better. Imagine walking down a runway in a faded, wrinkled Chanel dress! Being polished and pulled together is always in-style.
Second, extending the life of your closet saves money. The average family spends about $1,800 per year on clothing. If your clothes aren’t living out their full life, that’s about $1,800 you’re throwing in the trash each year (more, if you’re a fashionista). Maintaining your clothes means that any new clothes you buy add to your closet rather than replace it.
Third, longer lasting clothes help reduce the waste that ends up in landfills. About 26 billion pounds of textiles end up in landfills. This comes from each American tossing out about 81 pounds of clothing annually. If you reduce the amount of clothing you’re ditching, you’re helping keep the landfills clean - and your closet full.
There’s a reason vintage is always trending - because a garment well-lived is a garment well-loved! At Current Boutique, we believe in the longevity of clothes. We know that quality fabrics and designs can last for decades if properly cared for.
If you want your clothes to last, you have to take care of them.
So what can you do to care for your wardrobe? How do you make your clothes last longer?
Here are our 10 unbelievably easy hacks to make your clothes last longer –
1. Use a mesh laundry bag
Mesh laundry bags are made for delicates, but you can also use them for anything you throw in the wash. They help prevent your clothing from wear and tear and snagging in the washing machine, which is one of the top causes of damaged clothes.
The mesh allows water and suds to get through to wash your clothes, but it creates a protective layer between your clothes and the harshness of the machine. It also makes sure that your clothes don’t get entangled and entwined with each other, which can end up causing ripping or tearing.
This maintains the integrity of the fabric while still getting a good, thorough clean.
There are a lot of great laundry bags on the market, but we particularly like The Laundress’ washing bags. A bundle includes one small bag for your delicates and a large bag for sweaters and dresses. You can use both in the same wash to keep your clothes fresh, clean, and beautiful.
2. Follow instructions on laundry tags
Every garment will have a tag on it that tells you how to properly wash and dry your clothing. You’ll see laundry symbols that give specific instructions to follow for your specific fabric.
Make sure you wash with “like colors.” That means separating out your darks, lights, reds, and whites. You may also want to wash denim separately.
You should never throw your bras in the dryer because the heat can damage the underwire and padding.
When in doubt, wash in cool water with non-bleach detergent. Lie out or hang to air dry.
3. Keep a stain remover in your purse
Stains set quickly. Once a stain sets, it can be nearly impossible to get out. And most women won’t wear an outfit once it has a stain on it.
Keeping a stain remover in your purse equips you to tackle spots and stains before they start to set into the fabric. You don’t have to worry about drinking wine in your favorite white dress if you know how to tackle those stains.
For oil- or grease-based stains, we especially like the Janie Stick. It’s all-natural and solvent-free. This helps preserve your clothes even while removing the toughest stains.
Did a pen explode on you? Amodex is the best for lifting ink and other harsh stains, even on leather and dry cleanable garments.
4. Get a deodorant remover pad
Deodorant stains aren’t just unsightly—they can actually damage your clothes. Removing deodorant before it sets can help prevent from long-term yellowing, bleaching and discoloration. No more pit stains or white marks!
We particularly love the Gal Pal deodorant remover. These pads quickly remove deodorant stains without damaging the fabric.
Just rub the remover on your clothing and it will get rid of your deodorant marks in a flash.
5. Invest in a steamer
Even if you don’t burn your clothes, ironing adds unnecessary heat that can cause your fabrics to loosen, unravel, and wear out. Steaming your clothes reduces the heat applied to clothing, instead releasing wrinkles with moisture. This helps protect the fabric of your clothes while keeping them gorgeously wrinkle-free.
Steaming your clothes refreshes them between washes. The hot steam kills odors and bacteria. Steaming will save wear and tear from the washing machine and your clothing will last longer.
You want to have a personal steamer to keep in your house, in your desk, or even to bring with you on vacation.
Check out the Conair travel fabric steamer. It’s handheld and easy to use, but it will help relax your clothes and get rid of wrinkles in minutes. For everyday use, check out the Conair stand steamer. We use it every day and it’s lasted for 8 years!
6. Get rid of fuzz and pilling with a fabric comb
Have pulling and pilling on your favorite sweater or luluemon leggings? Get rid of these little fuzzies with a fabric comb or electric fabric defuzzer. The old solution used to be to take a razor to your clothes, but this can actually cause pulling and thinning of your fabric with an unskilled hand. A fabric comb and electric fabric defuzzers are specifically made to lift pilling and fuzz without harming the fabric itself.
What causes pilling?
“Pilling” is a cause of multiple fibers woven together. In a blend of fibers, one fiber is usually stronger than the other. This can cause the weaker fiber to “break” and attach to the stronger fiber. That attachment is what creates that little “pill” or bump in the fabric. So, that pilling is actually your clothing trying to stay intact.
That’s why you don’t want to just shave off these pills, because you’ll hurt the integrity of the fabric. A comb removes the pill while keeping the strong and weak fiber tied together.
7. Keep your patent leather clean
Are your nude patent pumps looking a little worn after a night on the town?
Put petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) on a paper towel or Q-tip. Gently rub it on your shoes in circular motions. Wipe off with a fresh towel to pull the stain off. This will not only remove marks, but it can also help prevent more scratching and scuffing in the future.
If this doesn’t work, try nail polish remover. Wet a Q-tip in acetone nail polish remover. Gently move the Q-tip in circular motions on the discoloration and marks. Flip the Q-tip over to the dry side and move in circular motions to “dry.” Repeat until discoloration is gone. Be careful with nail polish remover, though, because it can sometimes take away the shine of patent leather.
8. Prevent shrunken clothes
To make sure your clothes don’t shrink, hand wash your clothing in cool water. Lay flat to air dry.
If you pull your favorite sweater out of the washer, and it’s half the size it was. Don’t fear (yet)! While it’s still damp, gently stretch the item. Carefully pull on it from all sides to help loosen the fabric stitching. Then, put it on and wear it while it dries. This can help it stretch out and reshape to your body.
If your sweater shrunk in the dryer, hand-wash it in the sink to get it damp. Then, throw it on to reshape.
Why do clothes shrink?
Fibers innately want to be smaller and more wound together. Heat releases the tension between the fibers, which makes them return to their more natural state. So heat is really what causes shrinking in the wash!
9. Store your clothes properly
We think about how we treat our clothes when they’re on our bodies, but we don’t always consider what’s happening to our clothes when they’re tucked away in the closet. But incorrect storage is one of the main reasons your clothes might not be lasting as long as they should.
Make sure you don’t overcrowd your closet. Cramming your clothes together can cause wrinkling, which wears down at the fabric. Minimize clutter and focus on a few key wardrobe essentials that will last for years.
The same is true for bras and bathing suits. Stuffing your bras in a drawer is a surefire way to cause wrinkling in the padding and damage to the underwire, which both usually can’t be fixed.
Fold clothes along the seams. This helps maintain their shape while avoiding creasing (and fading along the creasing). This is especially important for sweaters and denim.
Clean clothes before storing them for the season. Smells - even smells you can’t smell - can attract bugs and mites in your attic or storage. You should also store them in plastic garment bags to wick away moisture, dust, grime, and pests that can damage your clothes while away for the season.
10. Invest in quality clothing
Clothing is an investment. Today’s “fast fashion” culture means that the shirt you buy in May is purposefully designed to fall apart by August so you’ll buy more clothes.
That’s why you want to invest in clothing that’s going to last. Not only does it save you money, but high-quality fabrics actually look and feel better as well. You can instantly tell the difference in value, durability, and beauty in a classic designer outfit.
Although higher quality clothing can be an investment upfront, it’s the best thing you can do for your wardrobe in the long run. Make sure you have a sewing kit on hand to do simple sew projects like sewing a button or reinforcing a seam to make your items last even longer.
How long do your clothes last? Are you caring for your clothes the way you should?
With a few easy steps, you can make your clothes last for years to come. This saves your wallet, the environment, and your closet!
What are your clothes-saving tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!