How to make clothes last longer

By taking better care of your clothes, you’ll not only ensure that they’ll last longer, but you’ll also save money on your wardrobe.

Extending the life of your clothes won’t necessarily take you hours of hard work, but will require a conscious effort during washing, storage and wear. Here are 20 tips for taking better care of your clothes.

1. To help prevent your jumpers from becoming misshapen, try using the fold–hang method shown in the video below.

2. Old pillowcases can be converted into garment bags in which to store your out-of-season clothes and keep them looking fresh.

3. Using thick wooden hangers will minimise shoulder damage to your coats, jackets and jumpers. They can be expensive, though. So try binding a few skinny plastic ones together to create the same effect.

4. Always zip up your zippers before washing clothes, because open zippers are more likely to snag other fabrics during agitation.

5. If you don’t want your jeans, pant or shirts to fade, then it’s best to wash them inside out. It stops your clothes from rubbing against each other in the washing machine, which causes colours to wear away and fade.

6. Adding a pinch of salt to your wash cycles will help to prevent colours from fading.

7. Stuff your shoes with newspaper to keep them in shape.

8. Waterproof your shoes to protect them from water damage and staining.

9. If you’ve got any black clothes that have been bleach marked, you can retouch them with a laundry marker.

10. Freeze natural fibre clothes, such as jumpers or woollen tights to stop them from shedding. Put them in a zip-lock bag and pop them in the freezer. You only have to do it once (ideally immediately after purchase) for shed-free clothes. It may sound weird but it works!

11. If you don’t like the idea of frozen tights, you can spray them with hairspray prior to wearing them. This locks the fibres and prevents shedding and runs.

12. A dab of clear nail polish on your buttons can help prevent them from falling off.

13. Hook your bras before washing them and, if possible, it’s best to wash them in a delicates bag or try a pillowcase instead.

14. In winter, instead of using your clothes dryer, purchase an inexpensive indoor clothes line. It’ll save your clothes from the wear and tear of the dryer.

15. Spraying clothes with vodka can help to reduce odours in between washes.

16. Don’t iron your clothes unless you really have to. There are other ways to remove wrinkles from clothes, such as SJ’s tips for a wrinkle-free wardrobe, or this trick for ironing without an iron.

17. And don’t wash your clothes for the sake of it. If you can get away with a wipe or a spot clean, your clothes will thank you for it.

18. Rotate your clothes and shoes so that they don’t prematurely wear out.

19. Shoes should be given time to air out in between wears, too.

20. If you have t-shirts with graphics, it’s best to wash them inside out as well.

Taking proper care of your clothes will extend their life, so you’ll save money and be looking fresher for longer.

Read more about clothes care at

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How not to ruin your clothes
How to remove stains and unshrink clothes
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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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