Five ways you might be ruining your clothes without even realising it
The UK throws away an inordinate amount of clothing each year. But our beautiful clothes deserve better and we’ve looked into ways to lengthen the life of your precious garments.
In 2015 it was estimated that £100 million worth of clothing gets thrown away every year. And that’s just the stuff we’ve worn, not the clothes we buy but never wear! (Don’t even try to lie, everyone’s done it.) According to Oxfam, “9,513 garments were thrown into landfill every five minutes” in 2012. That means one in four items of clothing wound up tossed out with the trash.
Aside from being terrible for the environment, this waste of clothing isn’t exactly kind to our wallets either. So here are five useful lessons to learn if you want your wardrobe to last.
You’re not washing your bras in a bag
It should be common knowledge that washing bras in the machine is not the best way to prolong their lifespan. But honestly who has the time and energy to handwash those things all the time? More often than not, they just get bunged in the machine with the rest of the laundry and their rapidly deteriorating condition is left to the mercy of the spin cycle. But there are ways to machine wash your bras, and still keep them in shape. Just put them on a delicate spin cycle, and put them in a bag – preferably mesh. This will protect the fabric, and stop the bras from wrapping around other clothes and getting stretched out of shape. It will also stop the hooks from latching on to other unsuspecting clothes and snagging them.
You’re not washing your delicates properly
If there is a day where you decide “yes, I can be bothered to hand-wash my delicates” then you need to make sure you’re doing it properly. This requires patience. Don’t aggressively scrub stains like they’ve just insulted you. Instead, treat them with gentle stain removers and softly rub the offending mark away with your fingertips. And when you’re done, don’t wring out the excess water like you’re trying to give your delicates a Chinese burn; simply allow the garment to air dry.
You’re repeatedly washing denim jeans in the washing machine
People assume denim is tough – after all, denim jeans were specifically created as a resilient garment that could endure the day-to-day habits of labourers. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat denim with love and attention just like all other fabrics. Denim is strong, but if you want to keep your denim in pristine condition, you need to learn how to wash it properly; if you think you’re preserving your 501s by putting them through a hot wash on the regular, think again. Learn how to hand-wash denim jeans, otherwise you’ll find your denim fading, and you’ll be putting them through more wear than they need, because “the combination of hot water, detergent and friction between clothing will pretty much ruin them.”
You’re skipping the last-minute check
There are few things more vexing than realising you’ve just washed a tenner in your jeans pocket (aside from realising you’ve just washed a 20.. shudder).
Along with checking your pockets for any forgotten notes, you should also close zippers so that they don’t snag on other clothes, unbutton things that are buttoned to stop the fabric from being stretched and the buttons from being pulled off, turn your jeans inside out to keep the colour fresh, and do the same with embellished items so that all the pretty bits stay where they’re supposed to.
You’re buying into leather care myths
There’s been talk on the Internet about the perks of cleaning leather with peanut butter or olive oil, but no matter how cool and budget-friendly that sounds, it might not be the best idea. Cleaning your leather with oil could lead to unfortunate looking oil spots on your clothes, because leather is very absorbent. And with regards to peanut butter, that could lead to an unhygienic build up of bacteria and mould. So just stay on the safe side and stick to using actual leather care products to care for your leather. And try to avoid petroleum by-products, because these can damage leather if they’re used consistently.
The editorial unit