How to take care of your clothes (and make them last longer)

LG Styler How to care for your clothes

By Renate Engelbrecht

Monday, Mar 04

For the past two years, I’ve been on a mission to transform my wardrobe into a collection of quality items that I not only love to wear, but also truly care about. It’s become way too easy to buy a cheap dress here and a pair of not-so-great quality shoes there, just to fit in with the fads. The thing is, those fads sometimes don’t even last a whole season. Evidently, we’re stuck with a bunch of clothes we don’t care for and don’t want to wear anymore. Some things had to change. So, I’ve decided to be more conscious about my wardrobe purchases, and to relearn to take care of my clothes and make them last longer.

While it’s still very much a work in progress, my wardrobe is slowly, but surely turning into something that is so much more than just a closet full of clothes. It’s my creative space where I can live out a little bit of who I am each day. It has also become a way for me to set the tone for my day. This morning, for instance, I felt like wearing a red lip to up my game, which resulted in me picking a specific outfit to match it. I love mixing and matching my outfits and seeing what could work together – so much more reason for me to continue working towards my capsule wardrobe goals and to purchase clothes that are not only classic and good quality, but also items that I am able to take care of easily.

CAPSULE WARDROBE: How to transform your style to Quiet Luxury

Poetry Dresses

I’ve been learning a lot about taking care of your clothes lately, as I would like to make my much-loved Zara pants and my favourite Poetry Stores dress to last well beyond this season.

Wash your clothes the right way

When you wash your clothes, it’s not only important to sort your clothes into light and dark bundles, but to also separate them according to fabric care and material type. The more delicate garments should not go into the wash with heavier fabrics, as the abrasion could damage the more delicate clothing items. Also, consider investing in mesh garment bags for the very delicate items and rather wash them in these bags. You can also always hand wash these garments – especially items like chiffon blouses, lingerie and cashmere sweaters.

*Remember, the secret to hand washing clothes, is to keep the water at room temperature so as not to let the garments shrink or lose colour. Also, don’t twist and scrub the garments. Rather leave them in the water for five minutes and swish them around gently.

Know your washing machine

Bee sure to know your washing machine’s different cycles. Today’s machines often have more delicate wash cycle options and even hand washing cycles in addition to the general everyday washing cycles.

Follow label instructions

Label instructions are there for a reason and if you want to take care of your clothes the proper way, following these instructions comes highly recommended. Some items need to be washed in warmer water than others and some garments need to be ironed to preserve them while others should not be ironed at all.

Steam rather than iron

Hangers from LG Styler

In fact, I much rather prefer steaming my clothes these days. Steam helps preserve fabrics, while getting rid of wrinkles and creases at the same time. Steamers are great tools to use to freshen up your clothes and if you don’t want to use too much heat on your clothes.

I recently got to try out the sleek and stylish LG Styler, which does exactly that while also elevating your house’s interiors. Apart from it looking super trendy in a walk-in closet, the LG Styler is the perfect solution, boasting refreshing cycles with improved drying, dehumidification and de-wrinkling options.

I mainly used the LG Styler for refreshing purposes. It boasts enhanced dust removal, deodorisation, drying and wrinkle mitigation. There are also numerous cycles like the Fine Dust Cycle, which twists and shakes up to 350 times per minute to remove large and fine dust particles from your clothes.

And, its LCD touchscreen makes everything quick and easy, assisting you to take care of your clothes, no matter the fabric.

The LG Styler was recently unveiled at CES 2024 and while its availability in South Africa have yet to be confirmed, it’s certainly something to keep in mind, especially if you’re busy revamping your home.

LG Styler touchscreen

Have a fabric shaver and lint roller handy

Even the most expensive sweater can look old if it starts showing pills (also referred to as bobbles or linting). By using a fabric shaver, you can remove these bobbles and make your sweater look as good as new. I found mine at The Crazy Store.

If you are a pet lover, a lint roller is a must. The tool is ideal to remove unsightly dog and cat hair from fabrics, making your garments look brand-new in no time.

Inside out

Washing and hanging your clothes inside out has many obvious benefits. As it tumbles and turns in the washing machine, it won’t lose sequins and things as easily if you wash it inside out. It also reduces piling.

Hanging your clothes inside out also prevents its colours from fading.

Air dry your clothes

That brings me to another important point: Air drying your clothes. This not only saves energy (which is ultimately better for the planet) but it’s also better for your much-loved garments as it reduces fibre damage.

I’ve also come to learn that the more careful you are at hanging your clothes, the less need there will be to iron them. Shake the clothes out properly before you hang them on either the outside washing line, a drying rack or on hangers. Remember, certain garments – like those made from wool – are often better dried flat.

Wash your clothes less

Some clothes don’t need washing every time after being worn. Jeans, for one, can go for many days without a wash. I’d much rather just refresh them in the LG Styler instead, as washing and dry cleaning too often can shorten your clothes’ lifespan.

When you do wash your clothes, always rather opt for cycles with lower water temperatures. (Once again, consult the label).

Find a fabric softener

A fabric softener like Comfort makes it easier to remove lint and pet hair from clothing and it also reduces static cling.

Store ’em well

Even the storing of your clothes is important. Your garments need to be placed in a cool, dry place where it’s not damp and where it won’t catch too much sunlight or heat. Also make sure that the storage space is clean as to not attract clothes moths.

Padded hangers hot to care for your clothes

While I am not there yet, I would also suggest investing in a collection of padded hangers, which will not only elevate your wardrobe’s look and feel, but also prevent your clothes from losing shape.

Repair, reuse, recycle

Finally, there is a movement of repairing and reusing clothes – something my mom used to do as we grew up. I unfortunately kind of grew out of, because I felt I didn’t have the skills to repair my own clothes. Still, I have come to realise the importance of reducing the amounts of clothes that end up in landfills. Therefore, I would much rather give a shirt new life with new buttons and fix my torn jeans with netting and embroidered florals, before throwing it out. (A great hobby to tap into…) If I feel I cannot use a clothing item anymore, I would see if I can find someone else who can, before I just chuck it. Very old shirts, I often cut in pieces and use it as cleaning cloths in our home.

Due to our past-paced way of life, I’ve unlearned to take conscious fashion decisions and to care for my clothes. I am consciously working toward a more curated and cared for wardrobe though… one step at a time.

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