How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

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Written by Bernie Carr

Quality clothing can get really expensive especially when times are tough. By making your clothes last longer, you can avoid having spend money to replace them.

Here are a few ways to make your clothes last longer.

Rotate your clothes

Our parents made us change out of our outside clothes as soon as we got home. By changing out of your work or school clothes, you minimize wear and tear. When you constantly wear a piece of clothing, it will wear out faster, so it makes sense to give them a rest.

Wash clothes correctly

A few easy changes in your normal washing routine can help protect your clothes from getting worn out prematurely.

  • Use cold water whenever possible, as hot water causes fading and more wear and tear.
  • Use less detergent.
  • Turn clothes inside out so the fading occurs on the opposite side.
  • Close zippers before washing. I have personally found this out the hard way. Open zippers can break in the wash, as well as cause other clothing to rip.
  • Wash light and dark colors separately. This might sound very basic, but when I started washing clothes, I threw everything together in one wash and ruined a lot of clothing in the process.

Stain removal

Take care of stains before they set. As soon as I spill something, I immediately treat the stain with blue Dawn dish-washing liquid. Leave it on the stain then launder. Wash it again if the stain is still there. Drying the item when the stain is still visible will cause the stain to set.

Learn to mend

As soon as you see a rip or tear, mend the item of clothing as soon as possible before the hole gets bigger. Even if you do not know how to sew, it is easy to learn.

I was not excited about mending until I read the book Mending with Love-Creative Repairs for Your Favorite Things by Noriko Misumi.

The book shows step by step directions on how to mend items: it gives several mending techniques, repair knitted and woven fabrics, repair socks and gloves, make patches that are artful to cover holes and stains. It will give you lots of fun ideas, making mending into a joyful activity instead of a boring chore.

Avoid the dryer

The reason you see a lot of lint every time you dry clothes is because the high heat of the dryer breaks down the fabric of your clothes. Try line drying instead. If you don’t want to give up the dryer, line dry just your delicate items.

If you prefer to continue using the dryer, try these wool dryer balls that allow for faster drying time and reduce wrinkles. They are also a natural alternative to liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets. I really did not believe in using them until my daughter gave me one to try and now I am sold on their effectiveness.

Store your clothes with care

Avoid cheap wire hangers – they can stretch the shoulders of your suits and shirts and can warp them. I should know – I was being cheap about using free wire hangers from the cleaners, until I noticed one of my good blouses was getting drooping shoulders as it got stretched out in the wrong places. Use wood or velvet-covered hangers.

Hang or fold clothes – put them away after they dry. Use moth repellents in your closet.

Repurpose your clothes

No matter how hard you try, clothes will eventually wear out. As good clothes age or wear out, use them around the house instead. Repurpose jeans into shorts, oven mitts or purses. Make a quilt out of old clothes. The book Mending with Love that I mentioned earlier, also gives ideas on how to remake old items into something better.

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

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