11 Clothing Care Tips to Save Your Closet and the Planet
On average, one truck full of textiles is landfilled and incinerated every second. That’s a lot of perfectly good clothes gone to waste! Keeping items in use instead of buying new can reduce our footprint, that’s why taking better care of the clothes we have is SO important. Learn how to love your clothes with our Clothing Care Series! Each post will have different tips on how to love your clothes and the planet.
We’ve all had it happen before. You’re planning what outfit to wear to dinner, and you notice there are worn-out patches on your favorite shirt. Yikes! All clothes wear over time, but taking greater care with how we wash, wear, and store them can go a long way to preserving quality without harming the earth. Follow these 11 smart and sustainable clothing care tips to help save energy, your clothing, and the planet at the same time.
1. Wash Your Denim Less (Or Not At All!)
We love not having to wash our clothes every single day, and that’s the beauty of denim! Spot clean your denim if it gets dirty. You can also leave them outside to air them out. This way, less water is used for washes and it takes longer for the denim pieces to wear out or fade. When your jeans start to get baggy or your denim gets too dirty, wash pieces and hang them upside down to dry. If you truly can’t part with old jeans, check out how to completely transform your denim into home decor!
2. Use a Mesh Bag for Delicates
Washing your delicates only to find a hole in them once you pull them out of the wash is the absolute worst. Avoid these accidental holes on delicate items, such as undergarments and pieces with lace, by investing in a mesh bag. Place delicate pieces in the mesh bag before washing, and hang to dry!
3. Wash With Distilled White Vinegar
Who knew that cooking supplies could actually come in handy when washing clothes? If you are looking to brighten up your clothes without using harsh chemicals, wash with distilled white vinegar! Pour half of a cup in your wash to use as detergent, or simply use it during the final rinse of your clothes as a substitute for fabric softener.
4. Don’t Wash Accessories
Layers are a must, especially during the colder seasons. How are you supposed to avoid washing scarves and other knitted wear, like beanies and hats? The main reason scarves get dirty is due to oils from our skin. Layer scarves over other pieces of clothing, such as turtlenecks, to avoid skin contact. Remove other accessories, like beanies, before you get too warm. Of course, nobody’s perfect, so if you have to wash items, wash them in cold water and hang them to dry.
5. Wash Your Athletic Wear Sparingly
We love athletic wear (workout optional!) and can’t live without our yoga pants, sports tops and track jackets, but we can’t talk about athleisure wear without touching on its environmental impact. Most workout clothes contain“microfibers” or plastic fibers that shed in the wash and drain into our ocean. If only these items were as good for the environment as they are for lounging around! Wearing them minimally and washing them only when absolutely necessary can help to reduce the amount of microfibers that harm our environment. You can also purchase a Guppyfriend Washing Bag or a Cora Ball, which are both specially designed to catch the tiniest of microfibers.
If you are having a hard time getting odor out of your athletic wear, make sure you air it out before throwing it right into the laundry. You can also choose to soak your clothes in a mixture of white vinegar and water, or you can put your clothes in a bag and stick them in the freezer. Both of these options work to eliminate odors!
6. Hand Wash and Air Dry Swimsuits
Not only can the perfect swimsuit be hard to come by, but it can also be an expensive purchase to make. Don’t risk washing swimsuits the wrong way! Tossing them in a machine can damage the elasticity of the suit. An easier way to wash your swimsuit is by showering with it on or rinsing it off immediately after you use it. This will help remove oils, salt, sand, and other items that can damage your suit. You can also hand wash your suit with a small amount of liquid detergent and hang to dry.
7. Air Dry Clothes
Using a drying rack for your clothes is the most sustainable way to dry them, and it’s so easy! Drying racks allow you to dry multiple items in a small amount of space, and most fold up for easy storage. Air drying doesn’t break down fibers as much as machine drying, and less energy is used. This is better all around! If you are crunched for time and need to dry your clothes, opt for tumble drying or set the dryer to extremely low heat.
8. Do Your Hair and Makeup Before Dressing
Doing your hair and makeup for a day out is all fun and games until you notice your clothes fading from the hairspray that you use every day. Avoid getting makeup and hairspray on your clothes by glamming first and getting dressed after! It takes 700 gallons of water to produce a single T-shirt, so saving your clothes from a few washes is a small step in the right direction.
If you do happen to get makeup on yourself, fear not. For foundation stains, use a small amount of shaving cream and work it into the stain with a washcloth. If you get lipstick on your clothes, scrape off any excess lipstick, saturate the stain with hairspray, and carefully blot with a clean washcloth.
9. Use Easy Stain Removal Hacks
We are all human and mistakes are bound to happen! Instead of throwing out your clothes or immediately tossing them in the washing machine, you can hand wash the most common stains.
There’s no use in crying over spilt red wine! Soak the stain in white wine, cover it in baking soda, and let it sit. After a few minutes rinse the stain right out. If you happen to picnic outside and end up with a grass stain on your clothes, soak the stain in white vinegar and scrub it with a toothbrush dipped in liquid dishwashing detergent. One of the most common stains comes with deodorant. Simply blot the stain away with a dryer sheet and it’s as good as new!
10. Declutter Your Wardrobe
We totally get it. Sometimes it’s hard to part with your favorite sweaters and dresses! Unfortunately, keeping all of your clothes too squished together can actually wreck them. Not only does a completely packed closet add wrinkles to items, but clothing with zippers and buttons can accidentally catch on one another. Got a full closet? Sounds like a great opportunity to upcycle your clothes on sites like thredUP (wink, wink)!
11. Rotate Your Clothes
If you’re like us, you have your favorite sweaters and tops that you choose to wear over and over again. Rotating your clothes every time you do the wash is actually way more beneficial to you than you may think! Putting your clean clothes in the back of your closet allows you to wear all of your clothes evenly. That way, you don’t wear down the same clothes! It also gives your brain a break if you’re worried about repeating the same outfit in the same week.
Now that you’ve learned how to keep your clothes looking fresh and new, you’ll be able to wear your favorite pieces for years to come. If your clothes start looking like they need a little love, check out these tips for mending clothes! Preserving your clothes not only lets you wear them longer, but it also allows you to pass them on to someone else.
Did we miss any of your favorite clothing care tips? Share what’s worked best for you in the comments below!