How to Extend the Life of Your Clothes

One of the best ways to save money on clothing is to take good care of what you’ve already got—those classic, basic pieces in your closet will carry you through many a season assuming you extend their life through proper care. Some tips for keeping your clothes looking new, for longer:


How to Extend the Life of Your Clothes

1. Use the appropriate laundry detergents. Meaning mild formulas wherever appropriate (especially delicates and fine fabrics), and those formulated especially for dark clothes to help prevent fading, as does washing in cold water. Also, use bleach and bleach alternative only as needed, as both can be harsh on fabrics. Hand washing can definitely extend the life of some more delicate garments, as can using the gentle cycle on your washing machine.

2. Skip the dryer when you can. Heat deteriorates fabric and can cause garments to shrink, both of which will affect how they look and fit on you. Use fabric softener in the washing machine instead of a sheet in the dryer so you can skip the drying step, or, if you must, fluff clothes for a few minutes to dewrinkle, then hand or lay out to dry the rest of the way. This tip will save energy too, which also saves you money. Which is good.

3. Only wash when necessary. Seriously, clean clothes are very important, but assuming you wash yourself everyday, that pair of jeans you wore for the afternoon, or that pencil skirt you wore to work probably could stand another wearing or two before you wash them.

4. Treat stains immediately. This sounds like a no-brainer, but stubborn, forgotten-about stains can ruin an otherwise perfectly good garment, which is a huge waste of money. Carry a handy stain remover like Tide to Go or Clorox Gel Pen with you for instant treatment, or at least remove the garment as soon as possible and use a leave-on stain treatment like Spray N’ Wash Stain Stick, which doesn’t have to be washed right away.

5. Use good hangers. No wire hangers! Wood is preferable, or plastic, with rounded corners. Also, make sure there’s room between your clothes as they hang in your closet to keep them in the best shape . . .

6. Iron with care. Always iron clothing on the lowest setting possible, always read the care instructions on the tag, and never use circular strokes when ironing (which can stretch fabrics)—instead use lengthwise strokes and steam as appropriate to help your iron work more gently.