Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Make Your Clothes Last Longer

 Clothes can be very expensive.  Even if you buy from a thrift store - you want to them to last as long as possible.  You want to be conscious of your funds.  You can keep your look fresh and nice and still be financially responsible.

  • Dress for the occasion - meaning only wear old worn clothes for working in the yard, nice clothes for dress up.  Play clothes for play.  Aprons when cooking - so as to keep grease splatters off your clothes.  Grease can ruin more items.
  • Wash in cold as much as possible.  Cold water is not nearly as color fading as hot and it is more energy efficient
  • Don't launder as often.  Wear clothes more than once unless they are terribly dirty.  When working in the yard I have old jeans to wear and I may wear two or three times while working out in the dirt before washing.  Now, I wouldn't wear them any where else - but I plan.  I know if I will be out 2 or 3 days in a row and sure don't want to get every pair dirty.  Some people change clothes often and wash after every wearing - even if it was just an evening out.  That seems wasteful of energy and you are wearing your clothes out faster
  • Zip up all your zippers before laundering items.  It keeps them from catching on other things.  Fasten your bras as well - so hooks don't snag other clothes
  • Be gentle with your undies - don't ever put them in a dryer.  It wears them out and discolors & ruins elastic.
  • Mend, patch, fix buttons, hems and zippers when possible.  The more you you mend the longer you have your items in good repair.
  • Dye faded jeans or dark colors.  I have dyed jeans many times and they look great afterwards.  You can buy denim 'color' dye.
  • Wash your clothes inside out. Less color loss, less fraying and pilling, less cracking on T-shirt emblems, less lint.........
  • Use deodorant/anti-perspirant to prevent sweat stains in under arm area.  Some materials are hard to remove smells from - so keep the body odors at bay!
  • Hang laundry as often as possible - whether outside or inside.  The drier really does break down clothes (as does fabric softener).  Hang in garages, on patios, on racks inside, out on a line - where ever you can
Doesn't matter where you live - you have to take care of laundry!  Many places don't even have driers - so drying clothes happens however it happens!
  • Wash by colors.  Whites, darks, light colors, etc.  Keeps color from fading into others
  • Make sure you buy easy care clothes.  I do NOT ever buy dry clean only clothes.  IF I did I would wash on gentle at home and hang to dry (I have done that in the past).   I tried those home dry cleaning kits years ago and never again - the smell was horrible!!!!!   Simple care means just that - easy is better!!
  • Keep Tide pens or blue Dawn on hand for stains.  Stains can ruin an item you love.  Make sure you treat quickly.  If that doesn't work - get creative with a patch or embroidery!
  • Keep all those extra buttons you get with tops/sweaters.  Keep them in a jar or box separate from all other buttons - that way you can find them easily if you lose one
  • Place super delicate items in a pillow case to launder if you do not have a laundry bag.  You can easily make laundry bags from soft nylon net or from an old lace curtain panel or tablecloth.
  • Wash stuffed animals on gentle cycle
  • Wear jeans until you can't - patch as long as possible.  Once you can't patch - make shorts or a skirt or an apron!
  • Use vinegar for softening clothes - in rinse.  It is all natural!!!! (No smell once dry)
  • Use baking soda and or peroxide to brighten and whiten - again all natural.
Would you be prepared to be able to do laundry without your current facilities?  It would freak a lot of people out.  Our ancestors worked hard at laundry - it sure wasn't like we do today (and we still gripe).
I do have ways to do laundry the old fashioned way if I needed to.  I also have an old clamp  (onto a table) wringer that I could use for water removal.

I have every single one of these items!  And a crank wringer and a clothes line.  Yeppers I could do laundry the 'hard' way!
You could always use your bathtub as a wash/rinse bin.

Clothes are an outward picture of who you want to represent to the world.  They can be expensive and there is no reason to trash our lovelies and wear them out quickly - make them last!
Do you have any tricks to extend the life of your clothes?


  1. Clothes purchases and restaurant meals are two big culprits among people who have a lot of CC debt. In both cases, people have basically nothing to show for their purchases. A lot of clothing never even gets worn. Mending and stain removal are two big ways I save money. Last weekend I sewed up a rip in a seam of one of my husband's favorite sweaters. Took about 5 minutes. I noticed there were some spots on the front, sprayed them with Miracle Spray and washed the sweater in the kitchen sink with Dawn. Everything is perfect now! I can't say I actually enjoy mending, but I'm usually pleased with the results, and it doesn't take long if you keep up with it.

    1. I agree 100%. I used to buy brand new clothes with tags at the thrift store (when worked) for pennies on the dollar. I couldn't believe how much someone spent originally.
      I mend and stain treat as well. I have things that are years old.

    2. Cheryl, if the picture is of your own stuff, Zote works as well as Fels Naphtha.

  2. I keep a bar of Fels-Naptha in my laundry area. If something gets a dribble or spash, I dampen the clothing item and rub on the Fels-Naptha. I'll double check the item before it goes into the dryer. But most times, a simple rub of Fels does the trick. Better (and cheaper) than any spot remover I've found. And that bar lasts FOR-E-VER. I think I've only owned two bars since I've been living on my own, and the first bar got pitched when I moved 5 years ago and I started with a fresh bar in my new home.

    1. We are big fans of Fels-Naptha, too. There is nothing to equal it for stain removal!

    2. I have some of that and just never use it. Going to have to start. Thanks to both of you for the plug on that!!!!

    3. We cannot get Fels Naptha in Canada anymore. I sure miss it.

    4. Have you tried to order it from Amazon?

  3. A friend of mine worked at a dry cleaners when she was in college and she said that a lot of what comes in just goes in the washer and the dryer or drip dried and pressed. This was really eye opening. Our oldest daughter's wedding dress wash really dirty around the bottom edge after her wedding from pictures in a park and dancing with her shoes off that night and dragging it on the floor. I took it to the cleaners and was quoted $100 to clean it. I was a long time customer at that cleaners from taking my husband's dress shirts for work there so the girl leaned across the counter and whispered to me that they would just put it in the washer on delicate and then hang it it dry. So, I took it home and did that and even though it was covered with beads it washed up just fine and the grime was mostly gone. (Yes, I know the dress shirts to the cleaners was costly but Hubby was working for IBM at the time and dress code was very strict.)

    1. It really is amazing how much you can wash at home on gentle. I have done down coats, wool items, you name it. Just don't throw it in a dryer.
      Nice clerk to tell you that.

  4. My parents are Swedish and they say Americans wash their clothes too often. Just habit. I have started to wear all my outfits two days in a row if I don't get super dirty. I am terrible about putting on an apron and I splatter grease all the time, but hurry and treat it. I get so mad at myself. Right now I have three items hanging to dry so they don't shrink. We waste so much water and energy washing things that don't need it.

    1. Yes indeed - we wash clothes way too much.
      I hang mine too, so they don't shrink. Most stuff is cotton and will - so I hang until dry and then fluff for about 5-10 minutes.
      Grease is a mean one for sure - it is hard to cook without splattering. An apron is so handy.

  5. I think you have covered everything!
    More and more I have switched to uniform dressing - both for the office and for casual wear. Dark bottoms, mostly white tops and lots of scarves & earrings to change things up. I do have a weakness for cardigans but these have taken the place of suit jackets so cost effective. I also buy the best quality I can afford - always have. I do shop sales but quality is what I look for first.
    I make repairs as needed, polish shoes and store things neatly.
    I separate colours & fabrics and would rather pay for an extra couple of loads of laundry than risk dumping everything together. I usually only machine dry sheets & towels - everything else gets hung up on either the shower rod or my drying rack (money well spent)!
    As a child we had clothes for school - and we changed into play clothes when we got home, plus we had 1 or 2 special outfits for church and parties. I have kept up this practice even as an adult.
    I once travelled two weeks through Europe with just a weekender case and a tote bag and when people on the tour saw my luggage as we prepared to leave I got more than comment asking me how I had managed to dress so well with so little luggage! Quality, mixing & matching plus accessories means that you don't need nearly as many items as social media & advertising would have us believe!

    1. My late in-laws were travel agents and led tours and traveled to Europe themselves several times each years. They had the packing in a carry on down to a science!

    2. Margie - we had to change from school clothes to play when coming home from school too. Also had one or two Sunday outfits.

      Love having mix and match basics - so smart. That is the way to do it - especially when working. You are obviously wise with your shopping and decisions. That is essential.
      A few pretty scarves or sweaters can change everything up.
      Great job!

  6. Great tips on keeping clothing looking great and fresh! I am a firm believer in laundry bags. My bras definitely go into one and are air dried, either on the clothesline or drying rack. After several of my daughter's sweaters got mangled in her washer and were unrepairable, I gifted her some large laundry bags and now her sweaters look really nice. I have some very old jeans that are worn to the point that they can't be seen in public so they are relegated to yard work only. Same way with older tee shirts that have seen better days. Vinegar makes an effective and inexpensive fabric softener. Sometimes I add a few drops of essential oils to the detergent or vinegar. I had to call a washer repair man once and he said to not use very much detergent. I saved a small cup that came with some liquid medicine and use that to measure the soap. The felted dryer balls are nice but sometimes they "hide" in the laundry and I find them when I fold things.

    1. Laundry bags are wonderful. They sure can save our clothing.
      I do the same with the oldest jeans and t-shirts. I don't care what they look like when working in the yard. I keep my 'good' jeans for going out in public.
      I always use way less detergent than called for. My clothes really never get that dirty.
      We can use less soap in everything that takes soap.

  7. I seem to always forget to wear an apron. Must remember to do so.

    Every Tuesday I mend something or darn something. Getting a few more years wear out of things I purchase makes me happy.

    God bless.

    1. Aprons sure can safe from those splatters!!
      What a great idea to have a specific day to mend!

  8. Hubby and I have always worn our clothes more than once before washing. I mean how dirty can they get after wearing once. Seems silly to wash after just wearing once. I use fabric softener very sparingly. I just don't like using too much of it, too perfume-y for me. I like using vinegar to soften our clothes instead. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Good for you and I sure do agree.
      I like vinegar too - no perfume smell and no residue on clothes and dryer.

  9. When I like material and want to sew with it but it is dry clean only, I wash it first and hang to dry or dry in the dryer BEFORE I cut and sew. Using vinegar in black or dark clothing, including jeans, keeps the color from fading away. During a tornado induced blackout, I put pants in a five-gallon bucket with some vinegar. I swished them around then half squeezed them out and threw over the line. The crotches were the only part needing to be washed. The vinegar did the job. fortunately, I had other things washed and ready to wear and after five days the electricity was restored.

    1. That is a pretty smart idea with the material.
      I have heard that vinegar helps hold color. Kind of like adding salt when dying fabric.
      I have to remember that tip on laundry - just in case. We never know!!