It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to save money on clothes isn’t necessarily shopping around for the best deal, but by buying quality clothing and caring for your garments the right way.
If you’re anything like me, mom and dad taught you to throw it in the washing machine, put in some soap, and set it to whatever wash setting you felt like. I was almost 30 before I figured out that that’s not the best idea!
The way you wash, dry, and store your clothes has a big impact on how long they last. By following these guidelines, you can extend the life of your clothing by years!
Put it away the right way
When I do laundry, I get everything hung up and forget about it until the next time I need it, but that isn’t exactly the best way to treat your clothes. Garments that don’t get used frequently, like suits for example, should be hung on a suit hanger and kept in a breathable canvas bag.
In addition to properly storing less frequently used items, don’t hang your day-to-day garments on cheap hangers. They can run a little bit more expensive, but solid wooden hangers are less likely to stretch out the neck and shoulders of your shirts. Try to find these hangers used or sustainably made!
Finally, instead of hanging your pants, fold them and place them in a drawer to keep them away from dust and potential damage.
Separate your loads
Some clothes are tougher, heavier, and more dense than others. If you wash your tanktops with denim pants, the pants may rub on the softer garments and cause premature wear, pilling, and other damage over time. So wash like-clothes together. Generally I’ll do a load of towels, followed by pants, followed by shirts.
Wash in cold water with less soap
When I was younger, I thought that washing in hot water with a big glob of detergent was the way to go. It’d be extra clean, right? It turns out, hot water can lead to excessive shrinkage and be damaging to your clothing over time and a little bit of soap goes a long way. Washing in cold water will prevent dye from bleeding and fabric from wearing out prematurely.
Using a clothing dryer is perhaps the single most damaging thing we put our clothes through. It also uses a lot of energy! Like in the washer, the high heat of a dryer can shrink and fade your fabrics. Using a clothesline to dry your clothes helps prevent much of this damage and it saves you money too. Avoiding your dryer for the 6 warmer months of the year could save you around $60 or more depending on the age of your dryer and local energy costs. Not to mention air drying has less impact on the planet!