Taking proper care of your clothes will help them last much longer. Here are 9 laundry tips I follow to keep my clothes in tip-top shape!
I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but when my husband I were dating, I remember him telling me one time that I really needed to throw away a few of my clothes. I was so bugged by this, because why should I throw away some of my favorite pieces? He responded, “because they are full of holes!” Apparently I didn’t think that wearing a shirt full of small holes in the elbows was a problem? Or one covered in pilling?
I’ve come a long way since then, tossing or repairing clothes that get holes and other damage, but I also am much better about taking care of my clothing in the first place. I’ve started purchasing more investment pieces over the last few years (although I still purchase lower price pieces) and it’s such a waste of money to purchase good clothing and then not take care of it!
laundry room details linked here
Here are 9 laundry tips to take better care of your clothes so they last longer
1. Follow the care instructions!
This is the best way to take care of your clothing. Every item of clothing that you own has a care instruction, to either wash at a certain temperature, wash with similar colors, hang to dry, etc. These care instructions are there to help keep your clothing in the best condition possible as long as possible. Yes, I absolutely deviate from the care instructions sometimes, but I’ve also ruined some clothing this way when I ignored the “hand wash only” instructions. If you want your clothes to last, keep vibrant colors, or not pill as quickly, follow the care instructions. And if your clothes still get ruined after a first wash, then you should absolutely reach out to the brand and ask for a refund.
2. Don’t wash your clothes as often
I used to wash my clothing every single time I wore them. With most of my shirts I still do, especially in the summer when I’m sweating in them, but dresses and jeans can go a few wears without having to be run through the wash.
3. Use higher quality detergent
I’ve tried a bunch of different laundry detergents over the years, and absolutely notice the difference between low quality and high quality detergents. I want something that keeps my whites super white, and brights super bright, all while not damaging my clothing. This Persil Pro Clean 2-in-1 is amazing, as is this Oxiclean Stain Removal Powderyou can add to your regular detergent. If you want to keep your whites bright, try White Bright by OUT or Charlie’s Soap Oxygen Powdered Bleach (which is safer and gentler on fabrics!)
4. Store your clothing properly to avoid damage.
We now have a large closet with plenty of space, but for years we lived in places with small closets and limited drawer storage. But despite that I try to keep my clothes stored properly to avoid causing any damage to them. If you have the space, hang your dresses and blouses, fold your sweaters, fold your t-shirts, fold your jeans, and keep your shoes in airtight containers (like these ones that I used to use in my small closets!)
5. Rotate through your clothing regularly.
Part of my problem when I was dating my husband is that I had four or five favorite shirts in my closet and rotated through those ones way more than anything else. So they quickly got worn out because of so much use. Although I’m still prone to reach for my favorite pieces more often (like everyone), give your other pieces a little more airtime to balance out the wear and tear. And like I regularly mention, cleaning out your closet every so often helps you remember what pieces you actually have so you get more use out of your entire closet! (READ THIS POST if you need help cleaning out your closet)
6. Buy clothing with higher quality material.
The higher quality the fabric, the longer it will last. This doesn’t mean you have to buy expensive items, lots of inexpensive stores sell pieces that are made of good quality material. Feel the fabric before you purchase it (or if you’re purchasing online, look for how it hangs on the model, look at reviews, and make sure they have a good return policy if it shows up and you’re disappointed by the quality).
Thicker, sturdier, tighter woven fabrics will be more durable and be less prone to snagging, holes, or pilling.
7. Wash your clothing inside out.
When you wear your clothes, the inside of the clothing touches your body most closely, so turning your clothes inside out to wash helps the detergent get those more soiled spots. I always do this with jeans and dresses, but it’s good to do with t-shirts and blouses too!
8. Use vinegar to avoid bleeding
I don’t know the science behind this, but if you have something that’s multiple colors (like black and white stripes) and you’re worried about the colors bleeding during washing, add 1/2 a cup of white vinegar to your load (where you put fabric softener by the detergent) and it’ll keep the colors from bleeding. I don’t know how, but this truly works!
9. My favorite spot treatment options
I’m sure there are lots of good stain removers out there, but my go to is Dawn Dish Soap and baking soda on greasy stains (I use dish soap to scrub the stain, and baking soda to absorb grease spots), and then this Oxyclean Stain Stick for other stains. A Tide Stick is also a must!
For some reason the link isn’t working for me. Am I the only one?!
It should be working now — sorry! http://www.persilproclean.com/sweepstakes
Good luck! xx
No, it’s not working for me either. If you click on the Persil ProClean it will take you to the sweepstakes.
Love your shoe storage idea!!!
Where is the dress from? I love it!
It’s a Target dress I bought last year, but I added links to a few similar pieces up in the post!
I love how you store your clothes! Especially the shoe idea. My shoes are currently crowded together in a rack next to my door with winter shoes piled high in the closet. I definitely need to invest in some of those containers!
Circus & Bloom
You have an amazing blog!
I love the tips you’ve given here! I do most of them already, but I also do spot cleans on smaller stains so I won’t have to wash the entire garment.
Yes, great tip! And thanks for following along!
One tip that I have is to use the correct hangers. They make specific hangers for different types of clothing, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get them. I love to go to TJ Maxx or HomeGoods to find the nicer hangers on clearance. 🙂
A question I have – How do you prevent or get rid of pilling? Some of my favorite sweaters get it in the armpit areas. I don’t want to throw them out because I love those sweaters, but I also don’t want to be embarrassed every time I raise my arm. Haha!
A super sharp razor works to scrape off pilling most of the time! Try that!
And love the hanger tip. Definitely will invest in a closet full of those one day!
I loved your master bedroom post (the pictures of your closet made me think of this). So, here is my little area of the room that I haven’t quite figured out what to do with. Clothes that I wear more than once. Do you just hang them back up or put them away in your drawers and remember that you have worn them. I have them in just a corner of my room (my eyesore) but I haven’t thought of a good system to put my clothes when I wear them multiple times.
I just hang them back up or fold them and put them back in my drawers. I don’t think you need to keep them separated!
Thanks for taking the time to respond! I’ll try that
I really need to get those plastic containers.
Where did you get the shoe cube organizer though? Not the bins.
Sorry — forgot to include that link. Here it is! http://bit.ly/1yBWPgV
I pretty much hang dry all of my clothing except for underwear. I find that skipping the dryer prolongs the life of my clothes and prevents shrinkage, fading etc. I also try to be realistic about the clothes I buy – with two young children at home (and 23 kindergartners in my classroom!), dry cleaning is really not a realistic option so I avoid clothes that I can’t hand or machine wash.
I must have been reading too fast because I thought you said “but dresses and jeans can go a few YEARS..” I was like, MERRICK, EW GIRL! Then, I backtracked and everything was ok. Hehehe great tips. I’ve never heard of this brand.
I have TROUBLE knowing how to wash white striped things. I wash whites on hot with only whites, but if i have a bLack and white striped shirt i put it in with whites to keep the white part bright – or is the dark color just fading my entire load?
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I wash whites on hot with only whites, but if i have a bLack and white striped shirt i put it in with whites to keep the white part bright – or is the dark color just fading my entire load.Jordan Tours
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janssen recommended an ELECTRIC shaver and it is fabulous for gently de-pilling clothes (and couches, matresses etc!) and i’m converted! No stretching the garment to do it either. I’m in Australia and got an equivalent very cheaply and it’s so worth it!
They make specific hangers for different types of clothing, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get them. I love to go to TJ Maxx or HomeGoods to find the nicer hangers on clearance.Car Rental