10 ways to care for your clothes

I'm going to take a wild guess that you like fashion. Well, you are visiting a website called Fashion Fix Daily. But when it comes to washing, ironing, storing, hanging, fixing and adjusting the clothes in your wardrobe, I'm going to guess you don't take notice of the care labels on every garment, or know the facts about how to make them last as long as possible to get the best value for money and cost per wear.

If you want to support the slow and sustainable eco-friendly fashion movement, then looking after the clothes you already own, rather than constantly buying new products, is a step in the right direction.

One. Turn things inside out Everything from skinny jeans to sweatshirts can benefit from being turned inside out before washing and whilst drying. This can help stop fabric degradation, unwanted stretching/shrinkage, and colour fading, as well as preventing outer dyes rinsing off and mixing with other clothing during the washing machine cycle.

Two. Wash clothes less often Most of us actually was our clothing much more often than is necessary. For sure, pants, socks and t-shirts can usually only be worn once before showing signs of wear, items like bras, jeans, dresses and jumpers can normally be worn on several occasions over longer periods of time before needing a wash, and even then hand-washing may be more effective and efficient than a washing machine.

Three. Invest in hangers and wardrobes Believe it or not, the coathangers you buy and the wardrobes, drawers or closets you use can have an impact on the long-term quality of your clothes. Wooden hangers fare better than plastic or metal ones, and getting the right size, weight and shape of hanger of hook to store your clothes on is key. Keeping a clean, light coloured, spacious wardrobe is also much better for preventing dust, moths, discolouration and creasing.

Four. Discover ironing hacks If you dread doing the ironing, reduce the regularity dramatically by preventing creases in the first place, by not overloading the washing machine, air drying washed clothes immediately and hanging and folding all clothes carefully. If you love nothing more than crease-free clothing, expand your ironing skill set with this life hack list by TLC.

Five. Learn basic sewing skills So many people discard garments after only a few wears, or avoid buying second-hand clothing, because of a small fault like missing buttons, ripped seams and unravelling threads, as well as things being slightly too big or long for the person. It's easy to pick up a few hand and machine sewing techniques so that next time this happens you'll know how to fix it. A helpful resource for sewing skills and other maintenance tips is Love Your Clothes

Six. Apply protective finishes The main elements that textiles need protection from are sunlight and water, but luckily there are ways to prevent long-term damage. Storing clothing in a closed closet, rather than an open rail, keeps the colours preserved in darkness, and waterproofing sprays and finishes are readily available to apply to shoes and outerwear.

Seven. Look out for the labels Really study the care labels of any garment you buy, especially taking into account washing instructions and type of textile. Take a picture of it if you're likely to cut it out to avoid itchiness or VPL. Make sure you are taking the best care of the right fabrics and finishes. You can see what all the signs and symbols mean at [this helpful website] (http://www.care-labelling.co.uk/whatsymbolsmean.html).

Eight. Never remove branding Vintage clothing, particularly from big name luxury brands and rare designer collaborations can often increase in value over time, so if you have a good quality garment that you know you may not love forever, do not be tempted to remove any of the inner or outer labels, brand logos, hanger loops, and keep the swing tickets, carrier bags, extra buttons/embellishments and price tags if at all possible.

Nine. Fight moths and dust Invest in simple dust covers for your everyday wear to slip over the hangers, and use full suit or dress bags for expensive formal wear, to deter dust and moths. Deep clean the inside of your wardrobe or drawers every so often so that moth eggs and larvae are eliminated, and use a steamer to keep clothes fresh.

Ten. Befriend a local tailor Explore local businesses in your area and support independent tailors. They can fix and adjust your clothes and accessories in no time at all and usually for a very reasonable price, making the trips to the recycling bin less regular as your clothes don't have to end their life when a small flaw appears.. Dry cleaners are also a brilliant pace to get familiar with if you lack the time to iron, deep clean, dry, fold and hang your washing at home or have particularly expensive or delicate clothing items.

Do you have any golden nuggets of advice for keeping your clothes in pristine condition? Let us know in the comments!

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Ruth MacGilp is an Edinburgh based student and blogger. She's a activist for all things ethical in the fashion industry, as well as supporting the #shopsmall and #shoplocal movements through her work.
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