Loved clothes last! There are so many things we can do to extend the life of our clothing, saving us time and money while reducing our carbon footprint too. Get into some of these good habits below:
1. Wash less.
Your clothing might not need to be washed as often as you think! Jeans, for example, should only be washed every six weeks according to experts. You can be the expert in determining when your clothes next need a wash. Put them through a sniff test first!
2. Wash without overstuffing your machine.
Overstuffing your washing machine causes clothes to rub against each other in the wash, and this friction wears down the fabrics. When loading your machine, make sure that the washer tub is no more than three quarters full. For a front-load machine, your clothes can be piled high but shouldn’t be crammed past the last row of holes.
3. Use less detergent.
Using too much detergent is not only a waste of money, but it will also leave residue that can damage your washing machine AND your clothing! So how much is too much? Most of it. You only need about two teaspoons of liquid detergent, or two tablespoons of powdered detergent. You can also ditch detergent completely and use laundry balls instead. They alter the pH balance of the water as an alternate method for cleaning. I got mine from Les Gargouilles a few months ago and they’re not paying me for saying so but I’m very happy with them!
4. Wash clothing inside out.
Even when you’re not overstuffing your washing machine, your clothing will be more protected when it’s washed inside-out. This will help preserve their colours, prevent lint and pilling on the outside, and protect decorative elements from damage.
5. Use a delicates bag.
Mesh laundry bags are essential for keeping delicates like bras and underwear safely away from friction in your washing machine. But did you know they can also be used for items with “hand wash” and “dry clean only” instructions? They’re also a brilliant idea for keeping sock pairs together. Just make sure when using laundry bags that they’re not too full and have lots of room to slosh around in the washer.
6. Don’t dry clean too often.
“Dry cleaning” is actually a misnomer. While the process does not use water, it does involve processing clothing in a chemical liquid solvent. This solvent (called perchloroethylene or “perc” for short) is used by around 80% of dry cleaners today even though it’s been flagged as an environmental and health hazard. Needless to say, harsh chemicals will also cause wear and fading in clothing. There are alternatives, of course! Track down a Green Dry Cleaner, invest in a clothing steamer, use a delicates bag in a front loader washing machine, or simply hang the item(s) up in the bathroom when you shower to refresh them with steam.
7. Use a clothesline or drying rack.
Not only is a clothesline or drying rack more friendly to your electricity bill, they will also help you avoid overheating and possibly shrinking your garments in the dryer. Air-drying is particularly important for activewear, swimsuits, and anything elasticized, as heat from the dryer will break down the fabric and cause unwanted stretching. But it will help extend the life of all your other clothing, too!