Simple Tricks to Make Your Clothing Last Longer

Photo by Heather Talbert for Alaina Kaczmarski

So you’ve graduated from having an entire closet filled with inexpensive, fast fashion finds. As you start to invest in higher quality, staple pieces to round out those trendy less expensive picks, it’s important to remember that proper care can make a big difference in your clothes maintaining their shape, color, and texture for the long haul.

Below are a few simple tricks to make your clothing last longer.

Source: The Fancy Pants Report

1. Refresh your clothes with a dye bath.

If you wear a lot of black, you may start to notice the inevitable fade that happens with this fabric color. When blacks are starting to look a little less than bold, a simple dye bath (like Rit Dye) is the quickest and easiest way to refresh versus replace.

Here’s how: Fill a bucket with enough water to submerge the fabric. After pre-dissolving dye in two cups of water, add it to your bucket, along with a tablespoon of detergent and a cup of salt (optional). Separately, soak all clothes in hot water and then be sure to smooth them out prior to adding to the dye bath. And do not skip this step! Be sure to get clothes as smooth as possible to ensure even dyeing. Once clothes have been added to the dye bath, stir aggressively, let stand ten minutes, then rinse first with hot water and then cold water until the water runs clear. Wash and dry as normal. But remember to only dye cotton fabrics, as some synthetic fabrics (like polyester) do not dye well.

2. Invest in good hangers.

Soft, thin hangers can make all the difference. This Huggable Hangers combo set not only looks great but saves space in your closet. They’re also way easier on clothing fabric than wire hangers.

Source: Anna with Love for The Everygirl

3. Don’t over dry clean.

Not only is it expensive, but also the harsh chemicals from the dry cleaning process can, overtime, damage fabrics. It’s unnecessary to dry clean after just one use. A good rule of thumb is to dry clean every three to four wears to keep clothes clean and in good shape.

Just need to de-wrinkle? Purchase a handheld steamer or hang it in your bathroom when you’re taking a shower for a natural steam. Stained garment? Before heading to the dry cleaner, check the tags and have it laundered then steamed without starch, if the fabric allows it.

TIP: Deodorant stains on one of your favorite white t-shirts? No need to toss! It’s time to get your hands on Raise, a specially formulated treatment that helps to remove yellow armpit stains. (You’re welcome.)

4. Zip clothing zippers.

Little snags and tiny tears usually start inside the washing machine. The culprit? Unzipped zippers.  Zip everything up—think jeans, jackets, dresses—prior to adding them to the wash. This ensures they don’t snag everything else in the load.

5. Take the time to waterproof special fabric.

Protect special fabrics like suede and leather with fabric waterproof. I can’t tell you how many shoes I’ve had to say goodbye to because I didn’t take time to spray this magical formula over my favorite pieces. Never again! For suede try Revivex Nubuck, Suede & Fabric Water Repellent and for leather try Liquid Aquaseal Waterproofing & Conditioner.

Source: The August Diaries

6. Stuff your shoes and bags.

Maintain the shape of accessories by stuffing them with old newspaper when not in use. Not only will it keep the shape, but it will force you to clean out the purse mess that is left when you switch bags. (Wait, is that just me?)

7. Separate before washing.

Take care when washing your clothes by: washing in cold water with less detergent; separating delicates from linens; turn shirts with graphics and other fabrics (like denim) inside out to avoid fading. While this may take extra time, it can make a big difference in the lifecycle of your clothing.

I am often asked the question: “How often should I wash my jeans?” While I have yet to try the denim in the freezer trick, I do think that you should take extra care of your denim. I recommend washing every four to six wears and letting them hang in a closet to air out between uses.

8. Freeze tights to keep them from running.

Yes, you read that right. Here’s what to do: Run a new pair of tights under water and squeeze out the excess. Then, place them in a plastic bag and let them freeze overnight. Let them come to room temperature naturally and voila! They should now be more resistant to snags and tears.

Have any great tips I didn’t share? We’d love to hear!