How Not to Ruin Your Clothing: Taking Better Care of Your Clothes
Wondering how to take better care of your beloved clothing? Luckily for all of us, the path to the optimal longevity of our clothing is incredibly straightforward.
Taking good care of my clothing is something that has been instilled in me from a very young age. My mum is a dedicated seamstress and clothing designer so, as you can imagine, she is VERY serious about clothing. I've basically grown up in her designs and when you wear something homemade, handmade and very delicate, the last thing you want is to accidentally ruin it. And yet, there have been occasional slip-ups and painful realisations that my favourite pair of trousers have started peeling. What have I learned?
I've learned that to make sure my clothes will last I need to focus on 2 things: BUYING the right thing and then TAKING CARE of it properly.
Step 1: Buying The Right Thing
Don't forget that the best way to determine the longevity of clothing is to look at your buying choices. What does that mean? It essentially means that if you choose the right kind of fabrics and overall quality produced items they will last considerably longer. Not just years, but a decade longer. I still have a robe from when I was 12 (I'm 25 now and yes, it does help that I'm still incredibly short), several knitted jumpers that are older than I am and still look impeccable, as well as about 10 other items that are older than a decade. As outlined below, buying quality items doesn't have to mean blasting a hole in your budget by getting designer-made jeans and tailor-made suits. The main tricks are:
- Avoid polyester: polyester fabric will lose its shape and peel the most! It's also the opposite of environmentally friendly, so you definitely want to stay away from it.
- Always read the labels to see what materials your items are made of and choose natural, breathable fabrics.
- Feel the fabric! Whether you shop in-store or online, feeling the fabric is one of the best ways to test the quality. Generally speaking, the thicker the better! Don't be fooled by fluffy, super soft items as these are the most likely to lose their shape.
Step 2: Taking Proper Care of Your Items
- Avoid the dryer: avoid tumble drying your clothing at all costs. Not only do tumble dryers leave a terrible impact on the environment, but they are also the single most effective way to ruin your clothing. They cause clothing to shrink over time and take a large toll on fabric. All in all, tumble-drying is a rough process so if you're looking to extend the longevity of your clothing, switch it in favour of a washing line or a drying rack.
- Wash less! The importance of washing less really can't be overstated! Quick tip? Always change your clothing to casual once you get back home from work. It will ensure your 'proper' clothing is less worn out and protect it from any food stains.
- Always wash at 30°: If you want to be eco-friendly and save your clothing at the same time, then a cold wash is certainly your best friend. Most of the laundry detergents will work perfectly well at a colder temperature and make sure that your clothing is squeaky clean. Unless you're washing underwear and towels (these should be washed at a slightly higher temperature to avoid the spread of germs or bacteria), then a 30° wash is a must to extend the life of your clothing.
- Mend, mend, mend: contemporary throwaway culture teaches us to dispose of any items that might not be perfect in favour of cheap, new clothing. And yet, it seems utterly ridiculous to me to throw away a perfectly fine item because of a small stain, hole or discolouration. My tip is to find a local clothing repair service and simply bring in your damaged items - there are so many ways you might not even know about that will restore your clothing.
- Be alert: look out for stains when you take off your clothing (or put it on - you can never be too careful). Even some of the worst stains can come off if only you notice them in time, put on a stain remover and wash them immediately.
- Take your time: why not turn laundry day into mindful laundry day? Just like tidying up your bedroom, doing laundry can cleanse your mind and is one of the easiest things to do to improve your mood. Taking time to do your laundry helps to ensure you've separated your clothing correctly, which is of massive importance. It can save you from accidentally shrinking your favourite knitted jumper to doll-size because you've washed it on a high temperature (yes, I did do that!)
This concludes my little list of tips! Hope you enjoyed it and remember that taking proper care of your clothing will benefit you, your wallet and the environment. Let me know what your favourite little tips and tricks to are - let's all learn from each other and make the most of our clothing!
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