25 very easy ways to make sure your clothes last longer

·5-min read
Photo credit: Raimonda Kulikauskiene - Getty Images
Photo credit: Raimonda Kulikauskiene - Getty Images

We’re all looking for ways that we can be more sustainable when it comes to fashion and the way we shop. There are now lots of brands out there embracing new ethical production processes and working with materials that make the clothes we buy more sustainable and better for the environment.

However, one of the easiest - and cheapest - ways to make a change to your shopping habits and achieving a sustainable wardrobe is by making the clothes we already own and love last longer. We definitely don’t judge you if, like us, when your favourite shirts start to wear away, your winter coats bobble under the arms or get that funky smell from being left in storage too long, you mourn, dramatically, the mighty outfits that have fallen. And that mourning is quickly followed by the knowing, guilty feeling that it’s probably our own doing in the first place.

Whether it’s not washing your clothes in the correct way, not dealing with stains quick enough or the sloppy storing solutions we’ve adopted - honestly, some days more clothes see our bedroom floor than a hanger - we sometimes need to give our garms a little more love.

By following these helpful pointers, including some cheeky hacks to discover and share, we can breathe new life into our wardrobes without saying goodbye to our favourite cherished pieces, and staying true to our eco-conscious selves. All whilst saving those pennies. Win-win and win.

Washing your clothes

1. Sort your washing properly. Separate darks from whites but also keep heavy fabrics away from light ones, heavily soiled garments from less soiled and always wash towels on their own.

Photo credit: Jamie Grill - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jamie Grill - Getty Images

2. Wash jeans inside out... to prevent the colours from fading so quickly.

3. Hand wash delicates... or place them in a cool wash on your machine inside a pillowcase or mesh bag.

4. Zip all zips and tie all drawstrings before washing to avoid any nasty snags in the drum.

5. Treat stains straight away. You'll have the best chance of it completely disappearing if you spot treat it immediately. Cold water always works the best for this and then you don't have to wash the whole garment. Score.

6. Wash jumpers as little as possible. In fact, aside from underwear, most of your clothes can last longer than just one wear before they need to be washed, and according to the CEO of Levi's you should actually never wash your jeans at all. We know, baby steps.

7. Dry clean as little as possible. All those heavy chemicals aren't great for the shelf-life of your clothes - and it's expensive, too. Try spot cleaning or hand-washing until a deep clean is completely necessary.

Treating your clothes

8. Air dry your clothes... instead of using a tumble dryer, as it's more gentle on clothing.

9. Dry whites outside and dark colours indoors. Sunlight could lighten/fade dark clothing, so keep it away from natural light while it is drying.

10. Steam your clothes where possible. Steaming is a much less aggressive way to remove creases from your clothes than ironing. If you don't own a steamer, try hanging your clothes in the bathroom while you have a hot shower.

Photo credit: PeopleImages - Getty Images
Photo credit: PeopleImages - Getty Images

11. Removing bobbles on your clothes... with neat little gadgets like a fabric shaver you can remove bobbling (AKA pilling) from your favourite jumpers and clothes to give them a new lease of life.

12. Regularly waterproof and clean your leather accessories to prevent damage and lasting stains.

13. Find clothing repair and alteration places near you. You can use apps like Sojo, who'll match you and your clothing needs up with local businesses, as well as arranging drivers to collect and drop off your clothes.

Storing your clothes

14. Keep your shoes and bags in dust bags... to keep them dry and protected from dirt. Or if you don't have dust bags, you can use pillowcases.

15. Invest in good hangers. Try to avoid wire hangers that won't support your clothes properly and might misshape the shoulders. Soft or wooden hangers will also prevent hanger-related clothing injuries.

Photo credit: Carina König / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Carina König / EyeEm - Getty Images

16. Use lavender or cedar wood in your drawers. Not only does it smell nice but it'll keep moths and bugs away from nibbling at your clothes, too.

17. Try the Marie Kondo method... and neatly organise your clothes in your wardrobe. The more your clothes are stuffed together, the more you'll need to use an iron to get rid of creases. Give them space to breathe by storing away items you don't need for that season.

18. Don't hang your jumpers. Fold and place your knitwear in a dry drawer instead. The weight of jumpers or cardigans on a hanger, especially if they are wool, cashmere or angora, can cause them to stretch out of shape.

Photo credit: Irina Lev - Getty Images
Photo credit: Irina Lev - Getty Images

19. Store all clothes and accessories in cool, dry places, away from natural sunlight.

20. Don't keep suits or dresses in plastic dry cleaning covers. Plastic harbours heat and moisture which is bad for your clothes - use canvas garment bags or pillowcases to store your occasion wear.

21. Stuff your shoes and bags... with tissue paper or balled-up socks to keep their shape.

Hacks to help clothes last

22. Use hair conditioner to un-shrink wool... believe it or not, it is actually possible to un-shrink your washing machine knitwear disasters.

23. Freeze your tights. Avoid annoying ladders by soaking your tights in water and freezing them before their first wear.

24. Use a pair of pliers to fix a broken zip... if the zipper fastens, but the teeth come undone, you can use a pair of pliers to tighten the gap and will keep the teeth in place.

25. Re-dye black clothes instead of buying new ones. There are tricks to prevent your black jeans from fading but if the damage is done, try using speciality clothing dye to breathe new life into your faded darks.

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