10 Ways To Make Your Clothes Last Longer

Hi! Welcome to my blog. Today we’re talking sustainable fashion and making the clothes that you already own last longer. If you’re wanting to have a more eco-friendly wardrobe, not buying new items unless you really need them and taking care of the things you already have is the best way to do this! So here are 10 ways to take care of your clothes.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which are denoted with an *. This means that I earn a commission on any purchases made through that link, at no extra cost to you.

Related: How to Create A Capsule Wardrobe

Wash Your Clothes Less & With Cold Water

Surprisingly, you don’t need to wash your clothes as often as you’d imagine! Things like jeans and jumpers don’t really need to be washed until they’re dirty, washing too often can reduce their lifetime substantially.

When you do need to wash things, choose the coldest setting you can (usually 30ºc) and a short setting. Washing at high temperatures can cause loss of colour, shrinking/stretching and the setting of stains. It’s also better for the environment as less energy is used.

Other tips are to Turn your dark clothes (esp. jeans & t-shirts) inside out to help preserve their colouring, make sure all your zips are done up and empty any pockets.

Invest in High-Quality Pieces

Generally higher-quality means higher price tag, but it could be cheaper in the long run. Buying a t-shirt for £25 which lasts for several years is a better investment than spending £5 on a fast fashion t-shirt which you have to replace every few months. You’ll also be more inclined to value and treasure higher cost items and take better care of them.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Sustainable Fashion Is Important

Learn How To Mend Clothes

Knowing the basics about mending clothes is a surefire way to keep your clothes functional for longer. Whether there’s a hole, broken zipper, snag or have lost a button – there’s no need to throw away or donate!

Make use of all those hotel sewing kits you’ve picked up over the years, or

Check out this super simple guide to fixing your clothes here.

Sewing and mending
Photo by Pixabay

Hand-Wash and Air-Dry

Hand-washing is a more eco-option as well as being better for your clothes. We don’t all have the time to spend washing our clothes in the sink, however washing 2-3 of your most precious or delicate items will really help them to last longer. Air drying is also great at it reduces your clothes’ exposure to heat which can damage them, and saves energy. If you can, dry your lighter clothes outside and darks inside as sunlight can lighten/fade clothing.

Putting your clothes in machines where they are thrown and tossed around is never going to be the best option for their preservation so try to avoid when you can! If your only option is to wash in the machine, then try to use a mesh delicate bag* to help protect your clothes somewhat.

Keep Your Stain Removal Products Close

The best way to avoid stains setting in your clothes is to treat the stain as soon as you can. Sometimes just soaking the item in water will remove the stain but for those harder to beat ones, try Ecover’s Plant-Based stain removal* or Natura Solution’s stain removal pen for those on-the-go moments.

Read The Garment’s Label

Every item of clothing has laundering instructions on their label and it’s best to check before buying. If you’re not prepared to hand-wash or dry clean that item every time, then it’s probably best to find something more suitable to your laundry habits.

Make sure to follow the instructions regarding temperatures, tumble drying and ironing to ensure that you minimise any potential damage.

Laundry Symbols and their meanings

Always Sort Your Laundry

Preserving colour is the primary reason for separating your laundry. This will help keep your clothes looking new for longer. Colours and darks can also run during the first few washes so it might be wise to hand-wash them before mixing everything together. You should also be careful to not overfill the machine as this can speed up fading.

Use Wooden Hangers & Watch Out For Moths

Store your clothes properly. If you’re hanging your items then use larger, wooden hangers as they tend to help keep the shape of your clothes better. If you have heavy jumpers, then fold them instead of hanging to stop them stretching out and becoming saggy.

Moths can ruin your clothes by laying their eggs on them and it’s the larvae that actually eat your expensive cashmere jumper. The easiest way to avoid a moth-related catastrophe is using cedar wood in the corners of your wardrobe and lavender bags* or liners in your drawers.

Take Care When Ironing

When reading the label, pay attention to what the ironing instructions are to avoid burning, crinkling or shrinking. You can probably use the coolest settings and still remove most wrinkles. If you want to avoid ironing all together, there are a few heat-free ways to get rid of the wrinkles.

When you’re showering, hang up your clothes and utilise the steam for de-wrinkling. You could also manually press your clothes with heavy items like books or your mattress. I think the best way is either the shower method or by hanging your clothes up out of the wash to avoid wrinkles in the first place.

Re-Dye Old Clothes

Whether you’ve owned your garments for many years or just bought them from the vintage shop, you can give them a touch-up using clothes dyes. A bit issue in the textile industry is that the chemicals used in dyes are not good for the environment. The best ones to use are natural/plant-based, with a high absorption rate and no heavy metals or toxic chemicals.

I really struggled to find eco-friendly textile dyes for use in the home, and the best I can come up with are the Dylon Eco Reactive Dye Packs.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you found this useful! Taking care of your clothes is a super easy way to be more eco-friendly. Do you have any other tips for making your clothes last longer? Please let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear them!

Related: My 2020 Sustainable Goals

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24 Comments

  1. These are great tips for looking after your clothes better! I had no idea there were so many laundry symbols… 😨 Some I recognised but a lot I’ve never come across before. I always try to wash my clothes on a cold, quick wash, but I think I go overboard on the fabric softener.

  2. Ooo these are such good points Jess, thank you for sharing! I try not to over wash my clothes and look at the labels but I have no clue how to fix clothes yet 🙁 (Always used to ask my Mum hahah) Also just signed up to your newsletter so looking forward to reading that monthly!

    1. Thank so much! Haha, I always go to my mum for laundry-related advice too 😅 I’m not the best mender but trying to improve this year! Yay so glad to have you 💚

  3. Really great tips, and I’m so glad you mentioned not washing your clothes as often. I’m always amazed when people wash things like jeans after one wear, so bad for the jeans and the planet. I’ve been looking into dying some of my older clothes recently, it’s such a shame when you love something but the colour starts to fade. I’m a tad nervous for the first item but hopefully it goes well x

    Sophie

  4. This is such a helpful post! I’ve always been one to buy clothes only when I need them and I definitely do a lot of the things included on this list. It’s good to know I’m doing a lot right, but even better to learn some of the things I can start doing too🙌🏼

  5. Thank you for this! Just what I need for my year of sustainable fashion. I’ve been much more conscious about the amount I wash my clothes lately actually. I used to wear something for 2 hours and then put it in the wash so apart from exercise wear and underwear, I’m not washing as much now 🙂 xxx

    1. Yay! Glad it’s useful. 100%, other than underwear/exercise gear you probably don’t need to wash it after one wear. Especially jumpers and jeans! xx

  6. I honestly didn’t know that washing your clothes with cold water can make them last longer! That’s such a fab tip and I’ll definitely be utilising it next time I do a big wash. 🙂 x

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