Most of us spend a decent amount of money on our clothes. And if not, we still invest time digging through thrift store racks, or hunting down deals. So it's important to keep in mind ways you can better care for your clothes, to make the most of all that time and money.
But beyond that, it's important to take care of your garments for personal reasons, too. Our wardrobes consist of things we wear everyday to express ourselves, stay warm, and ya know — not be naked. The longer they last, the brighter they stay, and the fresher they smell, the better.
I promise caring for your clothes won't take too much extra time. It will, however, require more than occasionally remembering to do laundry. To start off right, take a second and actually read the label. Each type of fabric — be it rayon, cotton, polyester, silk, wool, etc. — has different washing and drying instructions, and you should definitely follow them. If you can't be bothered, stick to pieces that don't need to be hand washed or dry cleaned.
Once you know the basics, you can follow the tips below for more ways to better care for your wardrobe.
1. Don't Wash Your Jeans
Let's start off the list with something easy – not washing your jeans. "Serious denim aficionados know that raw denim ... can take up to six months to break in and thusly, shouldn’t be washed until then," said Perrie Samotin on StyleCaster.com. "Jeans really do conform to our bodies, and when you wash them, most of the shape is lost."
2. Store Shirts In Drawers
I know, it's nice to see all your belongings hanging neatly in a closet. And yet drawers are where it's at if you want tops to last longer. "Putting them on hangers will mess with their shape (stretching out the shoulders, for example)," noted Marissa Miller on Teen Vogue. So rescue them from your closet, and fold shirts using this handy trick.
3. Turn Yoga Pants Inside Out
Whether or not you actually wear your yoga pants to the gym, it's still important to care about maintaining their stretchiness. "Throw them inside out in a cold wash cycle with other synthetic fibers," suggested Miller. And be sure to avoid using fabric softener, as it can damage your workout gear's ability to wick moisture.
4. Air Dry Whenever Possible
Unless you're in a rush and need that shirt dry now, always take the time to air dry your clothes. The heat and dramatic tumbling in dryers will make your clothes wear out faster, according to Arianne Cohen on Women's Day, and may even cause shrinkage. However, if you must, be sure to use the dryer's lowest heat setting, and don't let clothes tumble for more than 30 minutes.
5. Hand Wash That Fancy Sweater
If you're lucky enough to have gotten your mitts on a nice, cashmere sweater, then I'm sure you want to do everything you can to protect it. The best way? Hand washing. "Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand in cold water with baby shampoo or Woolite for optimal softness and protection from chemicals," Samotin said.
6. Rotate & Re-Wear Your Clothes
This isn't possible for everyone, but if you have a hefty enough wardrobe, you may want to consider rotating your clothes to avoid wear and tear. Or, at the very least, consider washing items less often. "This is because laundering clothing shortens its lifespan — and Americans are chronic over-washers," said Cohen. "As long as an item doesn't smell and isn't noticeably stained, it can be reworn."
7. Soap Up Your Leather
Your shoes, belts, purse, and awesome leather jacket all need to be taken care of, especially since leather has the tendency to spot, stain, and dry out. "For real leather, wash it by hand with mild soap, focusing on scuffs and marks," said Miller. "Hang to dry, and then apply leather conditioner to retain its original texture." Just be sure to test a small area first, to see how it looks.
8. Rinse Out That Bathing Suit
It may not occur to you to wash a bathing suit, seeing as it just spend the whole day in water. But doing so can hep the fibers stay intact. "While your swimsuit doesn’t need to be washed with detergent every time you wear it, it should be rinsed in cool tap water every time you take it off after swimming or sunning to remove most of the sunscreen, dirt, sweat, and chlorine," said Samotin. Then lay it flat to dry.
9. Hang Pants By The Cuffs
Go ahead and never wash your jeans again. Do, however, try a bit harder when it comes to pants you might wear to work. "Trousers remain wrinkle-free and get maximum air circulation if you hang them by their cuffs," said Cohen. "If that's not an option, hang them over special thick-barred hangers, which prevent a horizontal crease mid-leg." They'll stay fresh, and won't require pesky ironing.
10. Don't Go Overboard With Bleach
Since this is all about maintaining your clothes, then it makes sense to avoid pouring caustic chemicals all over them, right? Of course, it's sometimes necessary to use bleach. But the chlorine kind really does a humber on fibers. "So go with nonchlorine bleach, or only use bleach every third wash for whites," Cohen suggested.
11. Protect Your Winter Coat
When tucking your coat away for the summer, be sure to skip the mothballs. Not only do they smell horrible, but they actually do more harm than good. As Chanel Parks said on HuffingtonPost.com, "... the materials used to make some of them have come under scrutiny in the past. As alternatives, the experts recommend components like cedar (in any form), lavender sachets, and even lemon peel rinds, which keep items dry and nice smelling."
Clothes are a big investment, so it only makes sense that we should treat them as such and make them last as long as possible, right?
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