Conserving Clothing

The most recent Yes! Magazine gives some good tips on how to extend the life of your clothes:

  • Wash spills or stains by hand when you can, rather than running the item through the washer. The less you wash your clothes, the longer they’ll last.
  • Don’t overload the washer. Overloading can cause irreparable contortions in the fabric.
  • Fasten all buttons before washing. This helps protect the buttons and also prevents other items from catching–and potentially pulling or ripping–on the buttons.
  • Have a stuck zipper? Save your favorite jeans or jacket with a little olive oil or soap. Greasing the zipper with either will get it moving smoothly again.
  • Turn clothes inside-out before washing. The side that rubs against other clothes and the sides of the washer will fade more quickly.
  • Minimize time in the dryer. The high heat of the dryer puts a great deal of stress on clothes.
  • Store clothes made from delicate material, especially nylon, in plastic bags so that they don’t catch on the inside of your dresser.
  • Fix small holes and frays before they grow. If you’re not handy with a needle and thread and have a problem with a particularly expensive item of clothing, get an estimate on repairs from a professional tailor. Many small problems can be repaired for under $20.
  • Get creative! Iron-on patches on the inside of holes can prevent a raggedy appearance, and interesting patches on the outside can create a whole new look.