Personally, when I buy clothing I get very attached to the pieces I own. It's very hard for me to dispose of clothing, shoes, bags or jewelry. I just can't seem to do it. So when I switched to sustainable fashion, one aspect that was a natural fit for me was prolonging the life of my closet.
I have had items in my closet for 5 to 8 years. Yes, I have added new items but I honestly have not disposed of much.
I wanted to share my tips for how I have been able to keep my collection in an impeccable state for many many years.
Don't wash too often
Now don't turn your nose up at this but I usually don't wash my clothes too frequently especially in winter. I will say that during summer the frequency increases after a hot humid day. However, in general I wash my jeans after 4-5 uses, tops after 3-4, dresses around 5-6 and pants around 3-4. I do take into consideration how long I have been wearing them, do they look visibly dirty and most importantly do they smell. So make a judgement call but less is more here! I also make sure to air them out between uses.
I carry a stain remover pen with me so when ever I am clumsy I quickly fix it :)
Don't dry clean too often
Not only is the process expensive, but it uses harsh chemicals that are bad for your clothing and the planet too. I would suggest using a steam iron or hanging the garment in the shower while you are taking a shower, the steam helps refreshing your clothes.
Read the wash instructions
Now this one is a no brainer, but I will be the first to admit forgetting to read the instructions and shrinking my clothes to where I could fit into them if I was tens of years younger! Read the instructions, it will help when it comes to extending the life of your clothes.
Turn Clothing inside out
This particular tip has helped me preserve the color of my cloths for longer. Especially jeans and dark colored clothes, turn them inside out when you wash them. This helps so much with reducing fading.
Put delicates in a mesh washing bag
I use this mesh bag for my intimates, delicate clothing and anything with hooks and buttons. It prevents the hooks catching onto other clothes and it helps protects the buttons on my clothes.
Don’t overload the washer
You might think that this saves water but actually you are causing two other problems, your clothes will not get cleaned properly and they will be perpetually rubbing against each other causing damage to them. So while under-filling your washer is a bad idea as it wastes water overfilling is also problematic.
Wash in cold water
Washing clothes in hot water degrades the fabric more quickly and causes the color to fade. It also uses up a lot of energy to heat up the water. Instead, wash your clothes using cold water unless they are very soiled. In fact, most modern detergents are actually formulated to work best in cold water.
Dry laying flat when possible
Drying your clothes in the sun not only is easy on your electricity bill but it saves energy and also does not over dry your clothes. The heat in the dryer has been known to break down the elasticity of clothing making it lose and sometimes it causes your garment to lose shape.
Laying an item flat to dry is the best as it prevents gravity from weighing it down also causing it to lose shape.
Baking soda and vinegar can do wonders
Baking soda can replace bleach and helps with keeping your whites white. Now isn't that amazing! Baking soda also acts as a detergent booster thus you can use half the amount of detergent and fill the other half with baking soda.
Vinegar on the other hand acts as an excellent fabric softener and stain remover too!
Store in a cool dry place
You have definitely read this sentence before and guess what it applies to your clothes too! Storing your clothes in a cool dry place without over exposure to bright light will prevent fading. Also avoiding excess humidity prevents mold and bacteria from growing on them and ruining your beautiful clothes.
With these 10 tips your high quality clothes will stay fresh and live longer. This would not only allow you to buy fewer pieces of clothing but it will also allow you to invest in better quality and fair trade clothing that you can have for many years to come!