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Stylish and Practical: How to Make Your Clothes Last

Clothes are an investment. Yet, with the rise of fast fashion, some pieces wear and tear easily. If you want your clothes to last for years (or even decades), you have to take extra care on how to wear, store, and launder them.

Keeping your clothes for a long time reduces carbon emissions during the life cycle of a piece of clothing. While many would normally use their clothes for a good year, making a conscious effort to preserve clothes can prolong their useful life.

A good way to measure how long an item is kept depends on the owner’s willingness to wear the item repeatedly. It is suggested to use an item for over 30 wears. Other measures include choosing resilient fabrics, a consumer’s willingness to repair or alter an item, and how owners handle their clothes. Here are ways to improve your handle, wash, and store your favorite items.

1. Do not wash your clothes too often.

Washing delicates are a different story. But washing garments too often can damage the fibers of your clothes and decrease their lifespan. While your local laundry service provider knows how to handle your clothes with care, taking it to be washed when it does not need to be washed can wear it out. Your clothes come in contact with chemicals whenever you wash them, which can flatten the fiber follicles in many fabric types.

Fabrics like cotton or linen can be freshened up by air drying instead of tossing them in a wash bin. If you use steam when you take a bath, you can hang it on your door from the outside to breathe.

While denim is a low-maintenance fabric, its colors can wear off when you wash them frequently. Instead, turn your jeans inside out when air-drying them. While there are reports that storing jeans in freezers can prolong their life, this has been debunked by some denim manufacturers. Instead, they suggest keeping the denim pieces hanged to dry when you plan to use them multiple times before washing.

2. Wash clothes at lower temperatures.

Washing your clothes at a lower temperature can keep your clothes clean and soft. These can also prevent color fading. However, other items like beddings, towels, and thermal underwear may require a higher temperature washing to ensure disinfection.

3. Treat your delicates with care.

Delicates are called delicates for a reason. Wash your delicates, especially your silk pieces, by hand. Never put them in the dryer. Machine washing your intimates can even ruin the elastics. The key is to wash like colors, use a gentle detergent, squeeze out water, and put them on a rack to dry. If you’re pressed for time, you can wash your intimates while you are in the shower.

sweaters on a rack

4. Wash and stash your T-shirts with caution.

Although T-shirts may look durable, they can wear off easily if you do not take care of them. A simple tip for handling shirts would be to wash and stash them carefully. Wash your shirts in cold water and dry them on the press to lessen wrinkles. Fold the sleeves toward the back, and fold the shirt in half crosswise to avoid creasing. Moreover, do not hang your cotton T-shirts as these can stretch the sleeves.

5. Pay more attention to how you store your dress shirts.

Your dress shirts are important, especially if you work in a corporate setting. Make sure you use the hanger’s correct width––not over the shirt’s shoulders––to keep its form. Pay attention to the inside collars, which could have stains of lotion or makeup. Wash them immediately before hanging.

Another good practice is to avoid dryers. Drying can break down fibers and can cause the garment to shrink. Air drying on wooden hangers can limit wrinkles. And if you are ironing your shirt, make sure to use wet the fabric a little with a water spray to help press the shirts. When you need to fold your dress shirts, make sure you button them completely. Place a sheet of paper inside before folding them to keep their form.

6. Always rinse your swimwear after a dip.

Others fail to take proper care of their swimwear. Some leave them to dry after a swim, while others dry-clean them. Swimwear should be soaked in water after every use. Chlorine and saltwater can break down fibers and elastics. You can extend the life of your swimwear by soaking them first for an hour before washing them with soap. Leave them to air dry, too.

Most of our clothes are built to last. Taking good care of your clothes will not just help extend its life, but can also help the environment. Remember to choose eco-friendly and durable fabrics so that you won’t have to buy new ones from time to time.

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