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How to look after clothes – 15 tips to save your favourites

Everyone has a favorite. Whether it’s a lucky pair of jeans or a woollen jumper, you love it unconditionally. But the march of time will take its toll on your prized pieces – the knees will wear or a zipper will break. If you’re wondering how to look after clothes more effectively, our clothing care guide is here to help:

1. Read clothing care labels

Let's go back to basics: if you love your clothes, then read the clothing care label. This little square of fabric contains vital information, so pay close attention if it says things like “cold wash” or “dry-clean only”.

2. Sort laundry by fabric and colour

Separate your laundry based on fabric type and colour – cotton from wool and dark from light. Each washes most effectively at different temperatures and cycles – and they don't play well with each other inside the drum.

3. Don’t overload the washing machine

An overloaded washing machine

Resist the temptation to stuff as much as you can into your machine in one load. Your clothes won't get as clean and they'll rub against each other, shortening their lifespan.

4. Use the correct amount of detergent

Wondering how to maintain clothes quality? Don't use more detergent than necessary. It won't make clothes any cleaner and the excess will leave your favourite items dull and stiff.

5. Keep the temperature low

Certain fabrics shrink if washed at high temperatures. Woolly items are particularly sensitive. Study the clothing care label and dial in the correct temperature. And don’t worry; your detergent is capable of optimal cleaning even at lower temperatures.

6. Button and zip it up

A close-up of a jeans button – keeping these closed is an important clothing care tip

Close up the zippers and buttons on your garments and they won't snag or grind against other items in the drum. Left open, a rogue zipper could tear through your favourite blouse.

7. Wash clothes inside-out

Preserve the colours and textures of your favourite clothes by turning everything inside-out. Your jeans won't fade so fast, jumper pilling will be minimised and printed designs on your T-shirts will be a bit slower to crack or fade.

8. Use a mesh bag

Another layer of protection for your favourite clothes is a mesh bag. Ordinarily, these protect delicates like lingerie against the rigors of the spin cycle, but they can be redeployed for other items, too.

9. Air-dry clothes if possible

Clothes air-drying outside – a good example of how to look after clothes

Tumble dryers are convenient, but the heat can shrink and stretch clothes beyond repair. Whenever possible, hang out your clothes to dry in the open air. Your clothes will last longer, and you'll save on your energy bills.

10. Invest in proper hangers

Cheap wire clothes hangers are like clothes kryptonite. They stretch out the shoulders and leave fabric looking saggy. Invest in a decent set of wooden hangers so your favorite pieces keep their shape.

11. Get handy with a needle and thread

Uh-oh! You've ripped a hole in your favourite pants. Don't chuck them into the bin; pick up a needle and thread, and see what you can do. Mending them might be easier than you think!

12. Fold your knitwear

A stack of folded knitwear – clothing care extends to how you store your clothes

Heavier items, like woollen jumpers, shouldn't be placed on a hanger at all; they will droop and stretch over time. Neatly fold and stack them instead.

13. Store in a cool, dry environment

Your wardrobe needs to be cool, dry and not too crowded. Give clothes room to breathe or they'll get wrinkled and faded. If your closet is bursting at the seams, maybe it's time to give it a sustainable makeover?

14. Wash less often

Sure, it's good basic hygiene to wear clean undergarments every day, but give trousers or jackets a little airing overnight and they'll be fine to wear at least two or three times.

15. Use lavender

A small bouquet of lavender lying on a bathrobe – a good clothing care tip is to use the flower to ward off moths

Put bunches of lavender inside a breathable muslin bag alongside your clothing. It’ll leave an appealing scent, while also keeping wretched moths from nesting in your wardrobe and feasting on your clothes.

Image credits

Header image: Shutterstock
Image of overloaded washing machine: Shutterstock
Image of a close-up of jeans button: Shutterstock
Image of clothes air-drying: Stocksy
Image of a stack of folded knitwear: Stocksy
Image of a small bouquet of lavender: Shutterstock