9 ways to keep your clothes looking fabulous for longer!
The switch between winter and summer wardrobes is a good time to declutter, and you may find that now's the perfect time to get rid of anything you don't actually wear. If you're surprised at the number of items you don't want to keep, you're not alone — a recent survey by British Wool revealed that though the average Brit throws away 71 garments every year, often because they are no longer wearable.
Looking after your clothes properly is about more than getting to wear your favourite outfit for longer. The process of making new clothes is damaging to the planet, with fashion production being responsible for around 10% of global carbon emissions and roughly 60% of all materials used being made from plastic.
Recycling or donating clothes can help, but the best way to minimise your impact is to buy less clothes all together and make the most of what you have. To help you do this, we asked our experts at the GHI for their top tips for mending, washing and storing clothes to help them last longer.
1. Remove bobbles
Remove bobbles on fabrics with sticky tape or a gadget such as a sweater comb.
Try washing bobble-prone garments inside out on a delicate cycle with reduced spin. Our GHI experts also say using fabric conditioner occasionally also helps.
2. Spruce up your handbag
Clean your leather handbag regularly by emptying it and then using a damp sponge soaked in warm, soapy water then wrung out to clean the lining. If the lining is leather, take care not to get it too wet.
Get rid of compact or foundation stains from a fabric lining using kitchen or bathroom cleaning wipes, which work wonders. If you have a leather handbag, check the manufacturer's website or any care instructions that came with the bag for cleaning guidance. Otherwise, you could try a leather cleaner that's designed for use on leather accessories, such as Radley Leather Cleaner to smarten up the outside, testing it on a small, inconspicuous area first.
3. Wash correctly
Use a colour detergent to stop colour fading. Detergents for whites contain optical brighteners to keep them nice and white. Detergents specifically designed for colours don't have these.
For hand-wash only garments, carefully do so in warm water or machine wash on the wool programme with a detergent specifically for delicates. Do not rub, wring or twist. Dry the item flat between two towels, pulling gently to the correct shape while damp. Never tumble-dry. Some garments are dry-clean only, so check the care label.
4. Check your machine
There could be a build-up of washing detergent or limescale in your clothing, particularly if you live in a a hard water area.
Re-wash on as high a temperature as the garment allows with the correct dosage of detergent. If you have hard water, carry out an empty wash periodically using just white vinegar or a proprietary machine cleaner, such as Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean Washing Machine, to stop limescale build-up.
5. Pay attention to detail
For a loose hem, use iron-on hemming tape or fabric glue such as Bostick All Purpose Glu. Edges fraying? Try Prym Fray Check, a quick-fix liquid that strengthens and binds fabrics.
If you're dealing with a stuck zip, try rubbing both sides of it with petroleum jelly, some clear soap or an earbud dipped in olive oil – making sure not to get any on the fabric – then ease the zip down gradually.
6. Keep the shape
Dealing with wool or cashmere? Avoid wringing them out when wet, as you’ll end up with a misshapen sweater.
To remove excess water, loosely ball up the jumper and press gently against the basin, then lay flat on a white towel (white so no dye transfers from the towel) and roll together to soak up more water. Repeat with a fresh, dry towel if the first one gets very wet.
7. Allow air to circulate
Before putting used clothes away, air them thoroughly overnight. Sweat and dirt can attract moths and they can lurk in your wardrobes, so don't hand them your favourite woollen jumper on a platter.
If you're concerned that you have moths, dust and vacuum the inside of your wardrobes and drawers regularly and use a lavender/cedar spray to help repel them.
8. Pack it up
When last season's wardrobe is redundant, wash, dry and vacuum pack garments to help protect them.
Vacuum packing your clothes creates more space in your wardrobe for air to circulate and prevent moisture build-up.
9. Don't forget your shoes
Spray new pairs of leather or suede shoes with a waterproof protector, such as Nikwax. Clean leather shoes regularly with the same colour of shoe polish and always give them a good buff.
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