Have you ever bought a new shirt and found that after a few washes it has faded and shrunk? Drained of the allure it possessed when you first bought it, you might be tempted to throw it away or banish it to a charity shop.
But there are many preventative measures you can take to prolong the life of your clothes that will save you money. Here is a guide to make your clothes last longer with a few easy changes to your washing and drying routine.
- Follow the laundry symbols
When you take a new piece of clothing home, it comes with its own care kit in the form of laundry labels. They are not always self-explanatory and can be difficult to interpret. After all, do you know the difference between an iron with one dot and an iron with two? If not, swat up on this guide to laundry symbols.
Zips are metal teeth that can bite into clothing and snag fabric. To avoid micro-holes ripping apart your favourite clothes, make sure the zips are done up tightly on your jeans and dresses before throwing them into the violent vortex of the washing machine.
- Less is more
Ask yourself the question, “does this really need to go in the wash?” When it comes to washing, drying and dry cleaning, less is more. After all, your washer dryer is the most perilous place for your clothes. Tossed about, drenched and doused in chemicals for hours, every wash is likely to erode the fabric in some way.
If you’ve only worn a delicate blouse once, can you wear it another one or two times? Take a note of how many times you’ve worn a piece of clothing and, unless you’ve had a particularly active or muddy day, avoid the one-wear wash.
- Beware the tumble-dryer
Have you ever tumble-dried a pair of black skinny jeans only for them to come out skinnier? Then you’ll also be familiar with the pain of prising them on afterwards. Granted that you’ve followed the laundry symbols, this is a pain that you can avoid by choosing to air dry them instead.
Tumble-drying is notorious for shrinking clothes and reducing a fabric’s tensile strength, so finding alternative ways of drying your clothes will delay irreversible damage. Remember that every time you clean out the lint filter on your tumble dryer, that grey fluff is made up of damage to your clothes. Air drying is better for the environment too.
- Clothes overload
No one likes an overcrowded, cramped space where you can’t move. It’s the same with your clothes. It might be tempting to fill your washing machine to its maximum capacity (especially if you’ve not done a wash in a while) but this can erode and wear out the fabric without even cleaning them fully.
The life cycle and wash cycle of a piece of clothing are tightly intertwined. But no matter how careful you are with washing and drying your clothes, you cannot fully protect them from natural wear and tear. Eventually you will need to replenish your wardrobe. And you know what that means: you have an excuse to explore London’s top shopping streets!