Are you tired of feeling like you're burning through clothes at a frantic pace, having to pick up a new shirt or pair of pants every couple of weeks? While it's easy to throw up your hands and declare this an inevitability, there are several techniques you can use to help prolong the life of your clothes and ease the strain on your wallet.
But what are these fabled strategies?
You've come to the right place to find out! It's time to take a look at the list of our top 5 tips for garment care!
But enough chitchat! Let's get into this thing.
1. Garment Care Revolves Around Washing
When it comes to prolonging the lifespan of your clothes, the first thing you want to do is wash your clothes less often. While this sounds counterintuitive, putting clothes through the washer stretches and batters the fabric, weakening the seams and fabric quality.
To counter this, think about what clothes you're washing. Pants can get 2-3 days of use before they need to be cleaned, but socks are going to smell and build up bacteria if you wear them past one day. Turning your clothes inside out before washing them also helps ease the wear and tear they endure in the washer.
You'll also want to check the tags on all your clothes to make sure you're washing them the right way. Some garments need to get washed by hand and putting them through a washer will ruin them in no time. Others require specific water temperatures to prevent deterioration.
Speaking of water temperature, try to switch to colder water when washing your clothes. Since an estimated 90% of the energy your washer uses goes into heating the water, this strategy not only reduces your energy bill but helps put less pressure on the environment.
You can also preserve the colours on your clothes by washing them with clothes of a similar hue. This way, there's less risk of the colour bleeding out and diluting.
Make sure to pay attention to the detergent you use while washing. Biodegradable detergents help the environment, and detergent pods tend to waste less detergent than their liquid or powdered counterparts. You can also get special cold-water detergents that will work well with a move away from using hot water when washing.
2. Avoid the Dry Cleaners
Another tip to help keep your clothes in tip-top shape is to try and avoid using the dry cleaners unless necessary. This is because dry cleaners use a lot of harsh chemicals like perchloroethylene to get a quick, efficient clean.
The trade-off is that the chemicals weaken your clothes and can prove irritating to the skin. They also create chemical pollution. The 3.5 billion dry cleaner hangers that populate landfills annually don't help either.
So what can you do for those "dry clean only" garments? Many of them will do fine in a washer as long as you keep the cycle low and smooth. You can also handwash them to cut down on waste.
3. Investigate the Seams Before You Buy
When picking out clothes in the store, make sure to take a close look at the seams before you buy. Cheap clothes will unravel very easily, meaning you'll be back at the store in no time to pick out more. Dropping a little extra cash for a higher-quality shirt may sting at the time, but you'll have something that sticks around a lot longer (saving you money).
If the seams break after you've bought the garment, make sure to repair it soon. The longer that hole or split seam stays, the higher a chance it grows in size, rendering the garment unwearable.
4. Pay Attention to How You Dry
Once you've washed your clothes, you need to pay attention to how they dry too. While dryers tend to be the popular choice, they eat a ton of energy and often douse your clothes with more heat than you need (causing shrinkage). For elastic garments like track pants or underwear, this excess heat can also cause the garment to stretch more than desired.
Instead, opt to hang your clothes to dry in the sun. This saves energy and extends the lifespan of your clothes. When doing so, hang them over a rack as opposed to hangers to avoid stretching and tearing. This technique also dries some garments better than the hangar methods.
In addition, sunlight can cause the clothes to whiten, which can get circumvented by turning your clothes inside-out to dry (so the side people don't see gets bleached instead).
But if you want to iron that button-down shirt? Turn the shirt upside-down and dampen it a little before you iron it to get the best results without damaging the garment.
Once they're dried, make sure to fold them neatly and put them somewhere spread apart. This reduces wrinkles and gives the clothes a longer usability period.
5. Fabric Choice and Sustainable Fashion
Finally, one of the best things you can do to preserve your clothes is to pay attention to what fabric your clothes are made of. For example, linen, polyester, and wool tend to last longer than other fabrics.
It's also worth paying attention to the environmental sustainability of each fabric. Cotton, for example, takes a lot of chemicals (like pesticides) to ensure it grows and can end up having a net negative effect on the environment as a result.
Opting for organic and biodegradable fabrics is far more sustainable and provides the same durability as its more manufactured counterparts.
Renewable fabrics like rayon (made from wood pulp) also prove helpful here. Each fabric also has different washing and drying methods that work best to clean it that you should pay attention to. Otherwise, you're taking entire weeks or months off your garment's lifespan.
The Years Ahead
And there you have it! Now that you know all about our top 5 tips for garment care, you're ready to ensure your clothes last for years!
And if you're in the market for sustainable fashion that can go the distance and help save the environment, make sure to check out the garments made by our Australian designers today!