Written by Katrin Bielawski - 4 Minute read
Okay, let’s be honest. How often did you purchase something only to discover it’s worn out, torn, or in poor condition just a couple of months later? Isn’t it crazy that while we have an abundance of clothes at our disposal, we typically don’t take good care of them?
Did you know that if clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer (extending the average garment life to around three years) we could save £5 billion a year from the costs of resources used in clothing supply, laundry and disposal? What a simple way to make an impact, don’t you think?
Let’s get started with our 10 tips on how to make your clothes last longer.
1. GIVE YOUR WASHING MACHINE A BREAK
Freshly washed clothes are nice for your nose but quite harmful for the environment. Not saying you should walk around in dirty, stinky shirts - please don’t. However, next time you wash a piece after wearing it only once, ask yourself twice if it’s really necessary or if you could wear it another couple of times. Having your carbon footprint visually in mind might make the decision easier.
2. MEND CLOTHES WHEN BROKEN
If something is broken, fix it - don’t just throw it away. This doesn’t apply to relationships only. Just grab a needle and fix that hole, button, zipper or whatever it may be. Not sure how? Check YouTube for one of those millions of tutorials available out there. We live in the 21st century after all, let’s take advantage of it.
3. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
We all know it’s tempting to fall into the fast-fashion trap: It’s cheap, fast & trendy. Sadly, most of those clothes aren’t made to last and are harmful for our planet, people and oftentimes animals. Next time you’re out for a shop, try to ditch those trend-focused and short-lived items. Instead, treat yourself and get that (sustainable) quality piece you were always too stingy to buy. It might be more expensive - but trust me, it will not only last you longer, but you will value it so much more.
4. PASS ON THE DRYER
First off, a drying rack is significantly cheaper compared to a tumble dryer which should be reason enough to just pass on the dryer altogether. What’s more, it doesn’t need any electricity and toxic fumes won’t be released either. Plus your clothes will last longer, as the dryer causes damage to fibers over time. That’s 4:0 for the drying rack - I guess we have a winner.
5. INVEST IN A GUPPYFRIEND
If you love your clothes and care for the environment, get one now. A Guppyfriend not only prevents underwear and bras from ripping in the washing machine, it also reduces fiber shedding and protects your clothes. As of now, it’s one of the most effective ways to reduce microplastics in our rivers and oceans. Your clothes & the oceans will thank you.
6. USE A CLOTHES SHAVER TO REMOVE PILLING
Oh my, I think I have found the ultimate secret wardrobe weapon for any piece of clothing that tends to peel - it goes by the name of clothes shaver. It works wonders on your wardrobe and can have your favourite pieces look like new in no time. You’re welcome!
7. INVEST IN GOOD HANGERS
Plastic and wire hangers might have been cost-saving wardrobe essentials while you were in university, but they should be exchanged for a more sustainable alternative, like wooden hangers. Why? Because cheap hangers will stretch out the shoulders and collars of your shirts, sweaters, hoodies etc. and leave you with saggy clothing. Wooden hangers on the other hand are more sturdy and durable and will offer your clothes much better support, preventing them from getting out of shape.
8. CHECK YOUR GARMENT LABELS
Before giving your clothes a wash, it’s a wise idea to check the garment labels for washing instructions first (speaking from experience here). Doing so can help you avoid creating felted jumpers, turning formerly white shirts pink, or shrinking trousers into extra skinny shorts.
9. GO COLD WASH
Did you know that about 90% of a washing machine’s power usage goes towards heating the water? This leaves only 10% to power the motor and actually wash the clothes. Using cold water instead saves energy, money and puts much less pressure on our electricity grids and the environment.
Bonus fact: Washing 4 out of 5 loads of your laundry in cold water could cut out 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year. That’s the same as planting .37 acres of U.S. forest!
10. GO EASY ON THE DETERGENT
Am I the only one who would pour in a little ‘extra’ detergent, thinking I was getting my clothes extra clean? Turns out I was wrong. Excess soap is actually counterproductive and can make stains on your clothes permanent, ruining you well-loved pieces - and your day. Too much detergent also cuts down on a washer's efficiency and off-loads more pollutants back into local ecosystems. Lesson learned. Less is more.
That’s it. Hope you learned a thing or two. Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comments down below. Feedback and shares are always appreciated!