Experts have revealed that the average lifetime for most clothing items purchased these days is no longer than 18 months to 2 years, meaning that almost $200 million worth of clothing will be added to landfills each year. Being able to keep clothing for longer will not only help reduce environmental impact; over time, your budget will also thank you.
Read on if you’d like to learn how to properly care for your favorite items of clothing to have them last for as long as possible:
Wash Less Frequently
Although it’s purely habit for most people to toss clothing in the laundry hamper after a single wear, this often isn’t necessary – except for socks and underwear, of course. Items like jeans, other pants, shirts, sweaters and jackets can often be worn a few times before genuinely needing a wash.
Reduce Trips to the Dry Cleaners
Another aspect experts noted was that more than 75% of delicate items that state ‘dry clean only’ on their care labels can in fact be washed on a gentle cycle at low temperatures and laid flat to dry afterwards instead. Dry cleaning makes use of chemicals that are not only harmful to the environment; these substances also cause premature wear on clothing fibers.
Always Wash and Hang Inside Out
Before placing clothing in the hamper, ensure that it’s turned inside out. This will prevent unnecessary friction on the visible side of each item, which also causes premature damage. If you hang your clothing outside to dry, keeping it inside out on the line will also prevent it from fading sooner than it should.
Air Dry whenever Possible
While it’s super convenient to simply toss a full load of laundry straight into the dryer, the heat and friction these appliances rely on to get your clothing dry will also cause it to wear out a lot faster. Items containing elastane and elastic waistbands will also suffer because the heat will stretch them out quickly, so avoid putting these in the dryer wherever possible.
Close Fasteners, Zippers and Buttons before Washing
Ensuring that zippers, fasteners and buttons are closed on clothing items before washing them will not only help keep these specific items in shape; it will prevent snagging on other items in the wash load, which can cause severe damage – imagine the teeth of a zipper catching on the hem of your favorite t-shirt, for instance.
Learn Basic Sewing
Repairing a loose thread or replacing a missing button on a garment is a lot easier to do than most people realize, and knowing how to perform these basic repairs will not only provide a lifeline for your clothing budget; you’ll be able to hang on to those few favorite items in your closet for just that little bit longer if you know how to do a little basic sewing. Several quick and easy to understand tutorial videos can be found on YouTube nowadays.
Learning how to take the best possible care of your clothing will not only help preserve it for longer; you’ll also feel good knowing that you’re doing your bit for the environment by keeping as many pieces of fabric as possible out of landfills.