6 simple steps to extend the life of your clothes

How to extend the life of your clothes

Summer is here and your wardrobe probably already has something tie-dye, leopard-print or neon in it.

Fashion trends are fantastic for shaking up our wardrobes, but we all know changing clothes every season is not good for the environment. If we could extend the life of off clothes a little longer, then the impact is dramatic.

Extending the life of clothes by an extra nine months of active use would reduce carbon, water, and waste footprints by around 20–30% each.(1).png

Not only that, extending the life of your clothes will save you cash, time and tonnes of frustration as you traipse round the shops looking for the jeans EXACTLY like the ones you’ve said goodbye, too.

Over time, though, washing and wearing take their toll and our clothes can lose their lustre. So to help you extend the life of your wardrobe must-have you’re not ready to say goodbye to, here are six simple tips…

Don’t overfill the washing machine

Unless Nick Kamen is there, I am not interested in laundry. If you’re like me, then you probably load as much as possible into the washing machine as possible to get it over and done with.

However, cramming all your items into one load isn’t the way to go. Too many clothes mean they can’t move around as much, so they’re not getting all that lovely water over them.

Plus packing the tub means your clothes will rub together and we all know friction isn’t good.

Fill the drum to ¾ full so there’s enough movement to ensure your load gets a thorough clean and encounters less wear.

Mix it up

If you’re worried about that one red sock getting in the wash (yes, Mr 50Sense, I’m looking at you – I haven’t forgotten my former blue-and-white striped shirt) then Dylon Colour Catcher is your saviour.

It’s a laundry sheet that you pop into the drum with your wash to prevent colour-run accidents. It works by trapping any loose dyes so you can wash colours, patterns and whites together without worry.

Simply pop a sheet into the back of the drum before loading and then wash as normal (yes, with detergent!).

Let your clothes breathe

I used to be a right one for demanding clothes be washed as soon as I’d worn them. (Yeah, that was when I was living with my mam…) Jeans that I’d worn for a couple of hours to go and visit a friend, a jumper that I’d shoved on to run to the shops. They’d all be thrown into the laundry basket.

Incredibly, once I started doing my own washing (and more importantly, the ironing) I discovered that you don’t actually need to do this – especially now pubs no longer allow smoking. (Can you remember going home smelling like an ashtray? Mind you, that smell also reminds of my first snog so…)

Anyway, now I hang the likes of jeans, jumpers and even shirts up as soon as I’m done to wear again. Air them for about 24 hours and you’re done.

Embrace your inner KonMari

I used to hang everything, until I noticed little bumps where certain fabrics were hanging over the edge of the hangers. Now jumpers, most T-shirts and anything with a stretch in it gets folded so they don’t sag.

And yes, I do it the Marie Kondo way. Being a jaded old hack, I didn’t think it would work at first, but even my knickers are folded this way now.

Colour me beautiful

If the colour of your favourite piece has started to fade, try giving it a dye before you throw it away.

When I were a las (always wanted to say that here), you used to have to muck around measuring salt and using buckets of water. Now you simply fling a pod in the washing machine. No more blue arms dying your jeans…

Clean your washing machine

We have terrible trouble with limescale in our water and have to clean our kettle, dishwasher and washing machine quite regularly. You can get Oust Dishwasher and Washing Machine Descaler to help.

It’s also good for your clothes. Limescale deposits can build up in the fibres, making them feel rougher.

What are your top tips for extending the life of your clothes? Let me know in the comments below.

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