Friday, July 19, 2024

Fashion expert reveals top tips for maintaining your clothes  

AS summer approaches, many will consider buying a whole new summer wardrobe; however, this can be both time-consuming and costly. So, clothing brand Superdry has offered expert advice on prolonging the lifespan of your favourite clothing items and maintaining their quality – keeping your beloved pieces looking pristine for longer.

Recent data also underscores the urgent need for sustainable fashion practices, with approximately 30% of unwanted clothes finding their way into UK landfills annually. This alarming trend equates to a staggering 300,000 tonnes of clothing disposed of in household rubbish bins each year.

Denise Posner, Marketing Director from Superdry, says:

“The emphasis on sustainability in the fashion industry has grown significantly in recent years, reflecting a broader concern for personal environmental impact. These simple tips highlight a few easy ways to keep your favourite clothing items in good condition for longer, minimising the need for replacements.

“By incorporating simple strategies such as air drying, spot cleaning, and garment repair, individuals can actively contribute to mitigating fashion’s environmental impact. What’s more, caring for your clothes and extending their wear time helps to both save you money and keep your favourite items of clothing looking good for longer.”

Top care tips to make your clothes last longer:

  1. Wash smart, not often!

Over-washing your clothes can lead to unnecessary stretching and wear. Instead, consider rotating the clothes you wear, allowing your garments ample time between uses. This simple tip not only prolongs the lifespan of your clothing but also encourages you to rediscover items tucked away in the back of your wardrobe, reducing the temptation to make unnecessary purchases.

For delicate items, some professionals in the costume industry go as far as recommending a gentle spritz of vodka to eliminate odour and help preserve the fabric’s integrity by avoiding unnecessary washing. This secret method freshens the garment without risking damage and is perfect for dry clean only items that cannot be washed in a machine.

Know Your Fabrics Not all fabrics react in the same way, so take care when applying any treatment. Alcohol may cause a colour change so always test on a small area of the garment first. And don’t hold the spray bottle too close – you’re aiming for a gentle mist across the fabric surface.

  1. Make the most of cooler washes

Embrace the benefits of cooler wash cycles, which conserve energy, preserve the vibrant colours of your clothing, and reduce the chances of shrinkage. This tip is a great way to save even more money and massively reduces the chances of accidentally ruining your favourite outfit.

Furthermore, be sure to consult the washing instructions on the label for specific temperature recommendations for your clothes, as many delicate items will need to be hand-washed only.

Many washing machines now have ‘Hand Wash’ programmes which not only wash at a lower temperature but also agitate the garments less, with a gentler spin cycle for reduced creasing.

If you opt for traditional handwashing, always use a specialist detergent which will be kinder to your clothes and your hands. Rinse thoroughly to rinse residual detergent away, and squeeze firmly to remove excess water – but never wring or twist as that can cause damage to the fabric or distort a garment’s shape.

  1. Let nature do its work

Harness the power of nature by ditching the dryer in favour of a clothesline or drying rack. This helps extend the lifespan of your clothing by minimizing wear and tear caused by heat exposure. Sunlight offers natural antimicrobial properties and acts as a gentle whitening agent for fabrics.

Additionally, you can enhance the whitening effect further by lightly spritzing clothes with white vinegar before hanging them outdoors, helping the sun to keep your whites looking fresh.

Know Your Fabrics Some fabrics will become stiff if dried in this way, especially those made from natural fibres like cotton. To avoid this, trying partly drying outside and finish off with a few minutes in the tumble dryer.

Gently pull garments into shape to remove creases before hanging out or placing on the drying rack – you’ll reduce the amount of ironing needed!

And take care when using clothes pegs that they don’t leave pressure marks on delicate fabrics.

  1. That’s the spot!

Prioritise spot cleaning to target stains and spills, reducing frequent wash cycles and extending your clothes’ lifespan.

Over-washing contributes to shrinkage, colour fading, and premature deterioration of your favourite items. If you spot a small mark or stain on your clothing item, try spot cleaning before washing it unnecessarily.

Know Your Fabrics Match the solution to the problem – using the right product for both the type of fabric and the type of stain will help you get the best results. And always follow the instructions and test on a small, out-of-the-way part of the garment first to check there’s no unintended colour change or damage.

  1. Bag it up

Safeguard your delicate items, such as lingerie and knitwear, by washing them in mesh laundry bags, which provide an added layer of protection against stretching and snagging during the wash cycle.

Additionally, many clothes will benefit from being washed inside out. This offers further defence against friction and abrasion, prolongs garment lifespan, and minimises damage.

  1. Be extra careful when ironing

Always take care when ironing your clothes; this is an easy way to ruin your favourite item. Make sure to select the appropriate temperature setting and use a clean, damp pressing cloth for delicate fabrics to prevent heat damage and preserve garment quality.

Proper ironing techniques make your clothes look their best and contribute to their longevity, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Professionals always iron items made from natural fibres like cotton and silk while they are still damp as it helps deal with creasing.

And invest in a detachable Teflon sole-plate to use on synthetic or delicate fabrics – this diffuses the heat and prevents scorching or burning.

  1. Bin your old wire hangers

Always store your clothes correctly to maintain their shape and condition. For example, knitwear should be folded and stored on a shelf instead of hanging to prevent stretching.

Another key thing to remember when storing your clothes is to make sure you use hangers that are designed to properly support the weight and shape of each garment. For example, using a cheap wire hanger for your expensive blazer is going to ruin its shape. Instead, you should consider investing in a proper jacket hanger that will keep the correct shape.

And always make use of the hanging loops that you find inside your clothes – they’ve been added for a reason: to help keep garments in the right position when they’re on the hanger, supporting the weight and stopping fabrics from stretching and distorting.

  1. Revive and thrive

Embrace a mindset of repair over replacement. Acquire basic sewing skills or enlist the assistance of a tailor to mend damaged garments and extend their usability. From reattaching buttons to darning holes, simple repairs can significantly reduce waste and promote a more sustainable approach to fashion consumption.

Additionally, investing in higher-quality clothing often means easier repairs and longer-lasting wear, further minimising your environmental impact and saving you money in the long run.

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