5 Clothing Care Hacks That Will Keep Them Looking New For Longer

by: Rosie Dalton | 8 months ago | Features

Statistics show that Australians today send $500 million worth of clothing and textiles to landfill each year — a figure that amounts to an average of 30 kilograms per person. Perhaps this is unsurprising, given we’re now purchasing 400% more clothing than we did 20 years ago, but discarding 30% of our garments after just one wear. Of course, the fast fashion system is partly to blame for this rampant cycle of waste, but it’s not the only contributing factor.

Another part of the problem is the lack of understanding many people have about their clothes and how to best make them last. On the one hand, cheap clothing is designed to be discarded, therefore its poor quality also means it’s more likely to fall apart. But on the other hand, even the finest of fabrics will deteriorate more quickly if they’re not treated to the tender loving care that they deserve.

This is where our clothing hacks come in. Below we’ve rounded up some practical tips for keeping your clothes looking new for longer. As Patagonia so perfectly puts it, “one of the most responsible things we can do as a company is to make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it.”

1) Read the label before you wash

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To understand how to make your clothes last, you first need to understand what they’re made of and how to properly look after that particular material. Delicates, for example, should always be treated with care, which means hand washing wherever possible, or at least washing them inside a laundry bag (or pillowcase). This will protect your lingerie and the like from pulls and other abrasiveness, thereby extending the life of each piece. In other words then, with a little research you can discover a lot about your clothing. Like the fact that silk lasts longer when it is dry-cleaned rather than machine-washed, for example, or that denim should be washed as little as possible. In fact, washing and drying jeans can actually cut their lifespan in half, so spot treating stains or even freezing them inside a Ziploc bag to kill bacteria can be a great way to ensure they go the distance.

2) Choose your detergent wisely

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Oftentimes the laundry detergent you use can be just as important as the way you are washing your clothes. As a general rule, excessive amounts of detergent should always be avoided, as this can leave a build-up on your garments and potentially even stain them. It’s also important to pay attention to what’s in your detergent though. Using an organic or natural brand, for example, means that you won’t be adding unnecessary chemicals to your clothes — chemicals that can then be absorbed by your skin, but can also wear out your garments more quickly. Overall, the gentler the better but when in doubt, just be sparing on the suds.

3) Avoid heat where possible

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Heat has a tendency to make clothes fade faster, whether that’s through a hot wash, dryer or even the humble iron. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to wash your clothes in cold water and air dry them wherever possible. If it’s in the dead of winter though, the washing machine spin cycle can be handy for minimising dryer time even after you’ve hand washed something. Ironing is obviously tricky to avoid, as well, but using the cold setting or a cotton cloth as a buffer between the iron and your fancy lady dress can be a great way to help your clothing go that extra mile.

4) Wash your clothes inside out

Image: the Cult Skinny Ankle in Blackout.

Fading is a sure fire way to make your clothes look older and decidedly less fabulous very quickly. But washing them inside out can be another way to keep the great fade at bay and your clothes looking new for longer, while also protecting them from wearing out in the process. This is particularly important for dark denim or other darkly coloured clothing, as well as for any items with prints or embellishment on them — though these garments usually need to be treated with extra special care. When in doubt, just hand wash.

5) Think about your storage

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Finally, the way you store your clothes is just as important as what goes on in the laundry. Folding rather than hanging knitwear, for example, will prevent it from stretching out — while wire hangers should be avoided in general. Not only can they leave points in the shoulders of your shirts, but they also aren’t supportive enough for heavier fabrics and can therefore warp the shape of your clothing over time. Another good idea for closet organisation is to keep a clothes brush on hand. Carpet beetles and clothing moths love leftover crumbs, dandruff and pet hair, so by shaking out your sweaters and brushing your woolens, you can eliminate these kinds of nasty creatures from your wardrobe.

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