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10 clothing hacks to prolong the life of your favorite wardrobe

For many people, clothing can be a major expense each month, especially when the newest trends come out. If you’re ready to save some money without having to shop at thrift stores or go bare-chested, these 10 clothing hacks will help you get the most use out of your favorite pieces of clothing so that you don’t have to replace them as often.

1) Clean With Warm Water

We wash our clothes with cold water for a reason: Because warm water breaks down fibers and fades colors. And it’s true, you should avoid using hot water on most of your clothing. But there are some items that can benefit from a little warmth—namely, delicates and woolens. If you have any sweatersor other woolen garments that look like they could use some freshening up, run them through an extra rinse cycle in warm water before drying them (and maybe even throw in a fabric softener sheet). You may be surprised by how much better they look! Just make sure to air-dry these items afterward so they don’t shrink. Also, remember that heat is not your friend when it comes to cleaning laundry; only use high heat if absolutely necessary (like when dealing with stains) and always air-dry afterward. When it comes to washing anything else, stick with cold water. The less agitation your clothes go through during washing and drying, the longer they’ll last.

2) Wash Separately

Different colors and fabrics require different cleaning methods. For example, you’d never put red pants in with a load of whites, because red would bleed onto them. Washing colors and whites separately is easy if you have two machines—just make sure you don’t mix them up! If not, consider washing colors in cold water and separating lights from darks when possible. The extra effort will be worth it when your clothes last much longer than they would otherwise. Also, try hanging dry-clean only items instead of putting them in a machine that could potentially damage their delicate fibers. This hack can save you money on dry-cleaning bills as well as extend the life of your clothes. And while we’re at it: It might seem like common sense, but do NOT wash towels and sheets together. Towels are highly absorbent and will suck all of the moisture out of sheets in a heartbeat. Instead, wash your towels on a separate cycle (and skip fabric softener). Not only will you prevent premature wear and tear on sheets, but you’ll also get more bang for your buck by extending towel life.

3) Avoid Machines for Delicate Items

Choose delicate items carefully and avoid machines when possible. Hand washable garments with natural fibers are best suited for machine washing because they’re less likely to shrink, stretch out or fade. Machine drying can cause dry-clean only clothes to wrinkle and become damaged due to heat and tumbling. Instead, hang these items to air dry after a gentle hand washing. Use Woolite: It may seem counterintuitive to use detergent on woolen garments but woolite is designed specifically for cleaning wool. This ensures that it won’t damage any special fibers in your garment while also removing dirt and stains effectively. Remove Stains Immediately: Treating stains as soon as you notice them is key in preventing permanent damage to clothes. Soak stained items in cold water with a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent until you can remove them from water. Then launder immediately using hot water and bleach if necessary. Hang Dry Your Clothes Properly: Most people don’t realize how much their clothes care depends on how they dry them. If you want your clothes to last longer, make sure to always air dry rather than using a machine or hanging wet clothes up directly into storage.

4) Alterations Can Save Your Wardrobe

When we need a new suit, shirt or pair of pants, often times we don’t think about taking it to a tailor for alterations before wearing it for an important event. While shopping at department stores and discount retailers can be convenient and cost-effective, consumers are often left disappointed with garments that do not fit properly. As you work on building out your professional wardrobe, consider using tailors when purchasing new clothes in order to extend their life. Here are some easy ways to make clothes last longer My Suit Doesn’t Fit? Bring It To A Tailor: One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing men wear ill-fitting suits. I see too many men who try to get away with wearing slimmer than normal suits because they believe they will look more attractive or thinner if they have a tighter fitting garment on. Not only does wearing a poorly fitting suit affect how you feel and look, but it also affects how others perceive you. Clothes Shouldn’t Be Tight Or Loose: There is no such thing as a perfect fit, so there shouldn’t be any such thing as a perfect size. Always remember that clothes should never be tight or loose; rather, they should be comfortable and allow you to move freely without feeling restricted.

5) Repair Instead of Replace

Before giving up on a garment, make sure it’s not just repairable. For instance, small holes in jeans can be patched with denim sewing thread, and large tears can be mended with fabric patches or tape. If you spill something on your shirt, quickly clean it up and pop it in a low-temperature dryer—if no one knows what’s happened but you, then there’s no need to replace anything. And when all else fails, turn clothes into rags. It might sound wasteful, but they work wonders around the house! You can also get creative by turning old shirts into new ones: try making a pillowcase dress or refashioning an old top as a skirt. In fact, almost any piece of clothing can be recycled into something useful for your home—you just have to think outside the box (or closet). Finally, if your garments are beyond repair, don’t throw them away! Recycle them through secondhand stores like Goodwill or through textile recycling programs. Just because a shirt is torn doesn’t mean it has to go straight from your back to a landfill.

6) Lint Roller Your Coats

One way to avoid dry-cleaning is by using a lint roller on your coats, which will help remove hair and other small particles from your garments. After each wear, give them a quick once-over before tossing them into storage. This hack works well for jackets as well! Don’t forget about your sweaters—lint rollers are also useful for getting rid of those pesky fuzz balls that build up over time. Lint rollers can be purchased at most drugstores or grocery stores, making it easy to keep one in your purse or car so you can clean off items whenever you have an opportunity. And don’t worry if you lose or break yours; they’re inexpensive enough that you can always pick up another one when needed! You can also use your vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to get rid of loose threads and pet hair from fabric surfaces. If you want to make sure that all hairs are removed, try washing items after vacuuming them! To do so, simply place clothes in a pillowcase and tie it shut. Then put them through your washer and dryer on their hottest settings. Your clothes should come out looking like new! It’s important to note that you shouldn’t wash fur items because high heat can damage fur fibers. However, some furs may shed less if washed regularly (once every few months).

7) Keep Out of Direct Sunlight

Drying in direct sunlight causes a garment’s fibers to break down faster, meaning your clothes will last for less time. Instead, hang them up in an area that is ventilated and out of direct sunlight. This can be as simple as hanging them on a drying rack inside or outside (if it’s not raining). If you live in a humid climate, consider investing in some air-drying sheets to place inside your dryer. These sheets absorb moisture and help prevent wrinkles from forming. Some are even designed to reduce static cling. Look for those with fabric softeners, too—these will give your clothes a smoother feel after they’re dried. And if you have time, lay your clothes flat to dry rather than tossing them into a machine. Clothes often shrink when they’re tumbled around in there, and depending on what kind of detergent you use, some types might irritate sensitive skin or cause rashes. It’s also important to know that fabrics made from natural materials like cotton tend to hold onto dyes more tightly than synthetic fabrics do. When washing these kinds of clothes, opt for cold water instead of hot; hot water sets stains and could discolor your shirt or dress. Also avoid bleach; its harsh chemicals can fade colors quickly. Instead, look for specialty laundry products like color-safe bleach. You should also never mix white clothes with colored ones; you’ll end up with dingy white

8) Deodorize with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Adding a cup of white vinegar or baking soda to your rinse cycle can keep fabrics smelling fresh and clean for longer. By taking just a few minutes, you can save yourself from having to buy new clothes sooner than necessary. The bonus is that both baking soda and vinegar are cheap, so it won’t cost you much in time or money! It might not be enough to get rid of strong odors like cigarette smoke, but if your clothes aren’t quite as fragrant as they used to be, a little bit of vinegar should do the trick. Be sure to add 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) per load—and never mix bleach with either product! You may also try lemon juice to deodorize your clothes, since it will have a stronger effect on stains and discoloration. Lemon juice has a mild bleaching effect on dark colors, so don’t use too much or you could end up ruining your favorite black top. Add about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of lemon juice to each wash cycle until the smell is gone. If needed, reapply every three washes or so until odor disappears completely. Alternatively, apple cider vinegar is an effective stain remover. Apply it directly to stains before washing, and then run a normal cycle without detergent or fabric softener. Make sure you use cold water; hot water opens fibers, which increases absorption of acids into fabric fibers. This makes them even harder to remove later!

9) Line Dry When Possible

When you have an option between clothesline or dryer, use it. Clothes that come out of a dryer are noticeably more wrinkled than clothes that have been line dried and can even shrink if they spend too much time in a dryer. Line drying is also kinder on colors, as sunlight fades colors (even those with sun-protection factor) faster than heat. The longer your clothes spend in a hot environment, the more likely they are to fade or become discolored. There’s no need for special equipment—just hang up laundry when possible and let Mother Nature do her thing! You might be surprised by how much energy you save by skipping a few extra loads each week. This tip will help keep your clothes looking good for longer and save you money on dry cleaning costs. It may seem like a small change, but making simple swaps can really add up over time. Remember: Little changes make big differences! In fact, according to HomeAdvisor, a homeowner who installs 10 eco-friendly products can save $400 per year.

10) Protect Against Pilling

When clothes get pills on them, it’s usually because they aren’t being washed properly. Treating fabrics with proper care helps ward off pilling and keeps clothes in great condition. To make sure you’re not wearing those same things until they fall apart, take good care of them! Wash delicates in a mesh bag to protect against snags; use gentle detergents with appropriate amount; avoid over drying; line dry whenever possible. Even if you can’t always do all these things, try to incorporate as many as possible into your routine. Your clothes will thank you for it! Use a wide-tooth comb: Whether you’re trying to reduce frizz or simply brush out tangles after shampooing, using a wide-tooth comb rather than a brush is an easy way to extend the life of your hair and prevent split ends from forming early on. The wider teeth catch more hair at once than standard brushes do, which means fewer passes through each section are needed—and that translates to less breakage over time. Store shoes with cedar shoe trees: Shoes tend to lose their shape when stored improperly, but cedar shoe trees help maintain their original form. If you don’t have any lying around (shoe trees are often sold in pairs), just grab some scrap wood and carve a few yourself! Protect leather goods with mink oil: Mink oil is made from boiled animal parts (usually mink pelts) and has been used for centuries to waterproof items like boots and saddles.