Taking care of your clothes
Every year an estimated 336,000 tonnes of used clothing is thrown away in the UK.
Extending the life of our clothes is one way we can reduce waste and save money. If clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer (extending their average life to around three years), this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%.
Just a little know-how in the care department can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your clothes looking great.
Follow these top tips to keep your threads in good condition:
Washing clothes accounts for about 15% of water use in the home, with modern washing machines using around 50 litres of water per load (Hubbub). Over washing can seriously reduce your clothes’ lifespan. Before you throw it in the washing machine, consider whether the whole garment needs to be washed. Spot cleaning can be just as effective, or maybe just airing a garment will give it a new lease of life.
Separate your clothing into colours, whites and delicates. Zip up zippers, put bras and any items with hooks into a netted wash bag and turn jeans and anything with a screen print inside out to reduce fading. Use the coolest, gentlest cycle possible for the type of clothes you’re washing. It saves energy AND makes your clothes last longer. Make sure you have a full load each time, which means filling ¾ of the drum – full enough to make the most of the water and energy but not too full that your clothes aren’t washed properly.
Do you know your care labels? Just over a quarter of us have around five unworn items in our wardrobes because we don’t know what the care symbols on the clothing means. If this sounds familiar, this label guide should explain how best to care for your clothes.
Drying and Ironing
Remove garments from the washing machine and hang as soon as the cycle has finished to avoid creases. Hang them on an outdoor line or indoor drying rack if you can – try to avoid tumble drying as much as possible.
If you need to use an iron, choosing a low-heat setting makes it cheaper to run while being kinder to your clothes. Hanging garments up after ironing will help keep them wrinkle-free.
Repairs and alterations
Did you know that 75% of people can sew on a button, but only 17% can replace a zip? Getting some basic sewing skills under your belt will not only help your clothes last longer, but make them fit better too.
Whether it’s ink, blood, mud or red wine, knowing how to remove different stains will help keep your clothing looking good and lasting longer. Check out these handy tips for removing common stains.