How To Extend The Life Of Your Clothes
Is there anything worse than your favorite piece of clothing looking worn after only a few washes? It can be pretty frustrating--especially when it’s an expensive or sentimental item of clothing. But don't lose hope! Fortunately, there are several ways to extend the lifespan of your clothes so you can enjoy them for as long as possible. In the below blog post, we’ll share some handy tips and tricks to get the most out of your clothing. Let’s dive in!
Follow the Instructions on Care Labels
While this seems like an obvious one, it’s an important one! Sewn into the inner seam of a garment are care labels that contain instructions on how to extend the life of your clothes and how to best care for them. By following the instructions on care labels, you can get a lot more wear out of your clothing, so you won’t have to buy replacements as often. If, for whatever reason, the item of clothing doesn’t have a label or the instructions are faded, it’s best to hand-wash and not tumble dry to be safe.
Not following care instructions can result in the following:
Rips and tears
Stains and discoloration
Choose the Right Setting on Your Washing Machine
Have you washed a brand-new piece of clothing only for it to come out of the machine looking like you’ve had it for years? If you’re wondering how to keep clothes looking new after washing, you’d be happy to know that sometimes, all it takes is to choose the correct washer settings.
Most washing machines and dryers have three setting choices that you must make before you start a load of laundry:
Load size or water level
To choose the right load size, look at the level of clothes inside the drum of your washing machine. From there, select ‘small’ if it’s a quarter of the way full and ‘medium’ if it’s half full.
For water temperature, use this as a guide:
Cold Water: This is ideal for lightly soiled clothing, dark colors and delicate fabrics
Warm Water: Choose this option if the load contains clothing made from synthetic fabrics like rayon, polyester, modal and spandex.
Hot Water: This is best for bed sheets, jeans, socks and other clothes made from cotton fabric.
Clean Clothes Only When Needed
Washing your clothes more often than you need to can cause them to lose shape and the dyes in the fabric to fade. So while the clothes you wear to work or school, as well as clothes that tend to get particularly sweaty or dirty, should be washed after one wear, other types of clothing don’t need to be.
For instance, winter coats can be washed or dry-cleaned once a season, and suits can be worn a few times before you have to take them to be dry-cleaned. It’s recommended to wash jeans after three uses and pajamas after three to four wears, as doing so can extend the lifespan of clothes.
Of course, there are exceptions. Dirt and debris can act like sandpaper on your clothes, destroying the fibers and eventually resulting in holes. If you’ve worn your jeans only once or twice but they’ve gotten exceptionally dirty, it’s best to get them cleaned instead of wearing them again. Additionally, clothes with stains should be spot treated, washed and dried as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that, with some types of clothing, it’s important to wash them after just one wear. For example, underwear and socks can harbor harmful bacteria if left unwashed, while leggings should be washed after every use to prevent the knees from becoming loose and baggy.
Treat Stains Immediately
Stains can, of course, immediately make something look worn and old. So, It’s best to treat stains and spots as soon as you can. The longer you leave them in, the harder it will be to get them out. Old stains typically need to be treated by professionals who have special cleaning fluids and equipment, such as spotting boards, at their disposal.
Which stain removal method you should use depends on the type of stain. Here are some examples to help you out:
Wine Stains: Blot the stain with a clean paper napkin to get as much of the wine out. Remember to avoid rubbing the stain, as this can cause it to spread. Afterward, flush out the remaining stain by running it under cold water. Some people recommend using a mixture of oxygen bleach and water. However, if the stained clothing is valuable or means a lot to you, it’s best to play it safe and take it to the cleaners as soon as possible.
Protein Stains: These are caused by animal-derived products, like ice cream and cheese. Other kinds of protein stains are bodily fluids, like blood. To remove this type of stain, first, scrape off as much of the solid part of the stain as you can. Rinse under cold running water, and soak the stain in a small amount of laundry detergent. Afterward, wash the garment in cold water. Never use hot water when washing stained clothing, as doing so will cause the stain to set and make it more difficult to remove.
Don’t Spray Perfume Directly on Clothes
Some people spray cologne or perfume directly on clothing because the scent lasts longer. Unfortunately, doing so will end up damaging your clothes.
Scents contain oils, dyes and alcohol, all of which can stain fabric. Spraying perfume directly on fabric can:
Make clothes more prone to pilling, which is when fabric forms tiny yet unsightly bobbles of thread.
Make cotton fabrics thin more easily than they should.
They can alter the color of fabrics.
Instead of spraying your perfume on clothes to make it last longer, consider purchasing a travel-sized bottle or solid perfume. Just apply it to your pulse points on your wrists, neck or behind your ears.
Soak Swimwear and Sports Bras After Using
After swimming, soak your swimwear right away and wash it by hand. Otherwise, the salt in saltwater or chlorine will break down the fibers of your swimsuit.
The same goes for sports bras and fitness clothes. Sweat contains salt, urea and lactic acid, which are substances that can damage your clothes. It can cause discoloration on the fabric, especially if you use an antiperspirant that contains aluminum salts. The latter can combine with the chemicals in your sweat, staining and damaging your sportswear.
Wash Delicates Carefully
Delicates are so-named because they should be cleaned gently. Intimates made from silk, satin, lace or any kind of sheer fabric may be washed by hand using a mild liquid detergent.
Alternatively, you can machine-wash them on the ‘delicates’ cycle. This uses cold water and low to no agitation to give your intimates a gentle cleaning. To protect them further, place them in a mesh laundry bag before putting them in the washing machine.
Other Things You Can Do To Extend the Lifespan Of Your Clothes
Taking care of your clothing by ensuring they’re cleaned properly and correctly is often time-consuming. If you’re in a rush, the best option is to have your clothing laundered by professionals.
At Laundry Care, we know how to extend the life of your clothes. Apart from the standard wash and fold, we also offer special services such as hand-washing, air drying and stain treatments. Just let us know of any special requests, and we’ll be more than happy to accommodate them.
To schedule a free laundry pickup, call us at 800-429-4332.