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Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes

How can you make clothes last longer? Do laundry better. Read about washing machines and dryers, as well as habits, that can help.

Making Clothes Last Longer: How to Do Laundry Better

There’s nothing worse than when your favorite shirt reaches the end of its rope and you have to toss it. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help prolong the life of your clothing. The longer your clothing lasts, the longer you’ll have your favorite outfits and the more money you’ll save. Who wouldn’t want to try and extend the wearability of their entire closet for these two reasons alone?

If you’re in need of some tips on how to best keep your clothing in tip-top shape, then the following information should come in quite handy. From safely removing stains to reducing the appearance of wear, follow these pointers to help prolong the life of your clothing.

Why You should Deal with Stains Immediately

The longer a stain sits, the longer it has to penetrate your clothing and set. For this reason, as soon as you notice a stain infiltrating your clothing, you’ll want to act on it.

There are a variety of stain-removal products on the market, including OxiClean and Shout; however, if you’re looking for a more natural way to remove stains, you can always turn to vinegar and baking soda. The combination of these two products can take care of all sorts of common stains, including tomato sauce, coffee, tea, mustard, sweat, grass, ink, crayon, and bloodstains. If applying vinegar and baking soda doesn’t appear to be immediately lifting the stain, you can soak the clothing in a vinegar and water bath to help remove it.

After removing the stain, always throw the clothing directly into the washing machine to help prevent any residual staining or cleaning marks.

Why you shouldn't Wash Clothes Too Frequently

Of course, if your clothes are dirty or giving off an unpleasant odor, you’ll need to wash them. However, there are actually quite a few clothing products that don’t need to be washed after every wear. While t-shirts, tanks, exercise clothes, and underwear should receive a wash cycle after one wear, skirts, slacks, bras, and sweaters can go three to four wears without washes. Jeans are best kept in top-quality if only washed after four to five wears, and jackets and blazers can go as long as five to six wears before washing.

In addition to not washing your clothes too often, you should also air-dry your clothes when possible. In fact, if you can get away with hang drying your clothes, this is ideal. Dryers have a tendency to break down materials because of the heat, as well as shrink clothes to an unwanted size. For this reason, it’s especially important not to throw delicate and fragile garments into the dryer.

Why it's important to let Air Circulate Through Your Clothes

One way to keep your clothes fresh without tossing them into the washing machine is to hang them. By hanging even your dry clothes, this allows air to circulate through the fabric, helping to remove any unwanted odors or bacteria. If you want to wear your clothing multiple times before washing, make sure you’re not just throwing them into heaps on your floor. Rather, hang them out in a breezy area of your home with solid airflow.

Why to Turn Your Clothes Inside-Out When Washing Them

When it does come time to wash your clothing, turning your pieces inside-out will help preserve their wear-life, keeping colors brighter for longer. In addition to preventing fading, turning clothes inside-out helps to prevent pilling, particularly with sweaters and knits.

Why it's important to Use the Appropriate Water Temperature

Many people don’t realize what water temperature actually does in the cleaning process. The warmer the water, the more bacteria will be killed during the washing cycle. The colder the water, the better your colors will be preserved.

All this being said, determine what water temperature is most appropriate for the clothing you’re washing. If you have a bright red shirt that has only been lightly worn, it’s best to use cold water. On the flip side, if you’ve got a load of sweat-covered gym clothes, it’s OK to crank up the water temperature in favor of providing the best clean for your clothing.

Why to Hand-Wash as Often as Possible

Finally, because of the wear caused by washing machines, hand-washing apparel whenever possible is an excellent way to prolong the life of your clothing. While it isn’t always possible or realistic to handwash all your clothing, and while much of your clothing might need a much more heavy-duty clean than hand-washing can provide, it’s smart to hand-wash articles of clothing that are fragile or only need a light rinse whenever possible.

Resources— The Spruce, Organize & Decorate Everything, Wise Bread, Warner Service