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How to to make your clothes last longer

13 Apr 2022

make your clothes last longer

Loved clothes last. Whether you’re looking to wear your favourite clothes for years to come, or you want to keep them in good condition to maintain their resale value, these easy tips will keep your clothes looking and feeling fresh for as long as possible.

From how you wash your clothes, to the kind of hangers you use, there are loads of simple ways to protect delicate fabrics, stop t-shirts going bobbly and make your clothes last for as long as possible. These easy tips will help you transform your greying shirts back to white, and never be caught out by an accidental stain again.

We’re passionate about repairing clothes at Reskinned, so they stay in circulation (and out of landfill) for longer. Find out more about our story and why we do what we do.


Sometimes the lazy way is the best way. ⅓ of microplastics in the ocean come from washing textiles (Ellen McArthur Foundation). The more we wash our clothes, the more they break down and become at risk of releasing microfibres which can end up in our water systems. On top of that, laundry accounts for about 15% of water use in the home, with modern washing machines using around 50 litres of water per load. Ouch!

The simple solution is to avoid the washing machine unless your clothes really need it. Experiment with spot washing out marks and giving clothes a sniff test before automatically sending anything to the laundry basket. 

Hanging clothes that have acquired a bit of a smell on the washing line outside can often be enough to make them feel fresh again. Can you get another wear out of it? If yes, then do! Your bills will thank you, too.

And when it comes to washing your delicate items, investing in a delicates bag is a brilliant way to stop them from getting damaged. A delicates bag is made of mesh so that your laundry detergent can still get into the clothes inside, but they have less of a chance to be thrown around the machine or interact with the metal. Washing machines can be quite rough with our stuff, so bagging them up adds an extra layer of protection.

When we say delicates, we mean anything made from lace, silk or linen, and clothes that have beading, as well as fancy underwear (cotton knickers should be okay in the main wash).

Handwashing these kinds of items will make triple-sure that they are protected from the metal of the machine, but delicates bags can save time if handwashing feels like a chore you know you aren’t going to get round to.


We have all been there. The heart sinking moment when you pull your favourite jumper out of the washing machine to find it shrunken, lifeless and sad.

Take your knitwear to your local dry cleaners (you can usually find these near train stations) once or twice a year. If you want to opt for washing them at home, make sure you use the “Wool” setting on the washing machine or try hand-washing in cold water.

These settings are accurately tested to find the least risky way of washing your knits. Hang them to dry and never, under any circumstances, put your knitwear in the tumble dryer.

In fact, whenever the weather permits, choosing to air dry clothes after washing instead of using a tumble dryer is not only better for your clothes, but also saves electricity.

Aside from the shrinkage problem, tumble drying can cause fabrics to damage more quickly. Bobbling, colour fading and general wear and tear can all become a problem.


There’s a reason that your grandparent’s wool jumpers from the 1960’s are still looking fresh, and why your brand new £5 top fell apart after one wash.

Buying good quality clothes means that they are going to last longer most of the time. From fabrics that take longer to wear down, to generous seam allowances and careful stitching that will stop rips in their tracks, well-made clothes are made to last.

And we get it - money can be a problem, and that’s why it can be easier to stick to cheaper solutions, even when we know they won’t last as long.

When we pick something up pre-loved we know it’s had a happy life in someone else’s wardrobe, and hasn’t lost its sparkle. This means it is much more likely to be something that will last for a long time.

In general, the cheaper the clothes are to buy new, the less likely they are to last. Look out for natural fabrics and fibres as a sign that something is better quality, and more likely to stand the test of time.


A simple trick to avoid fading prints and designs is to wash your clothes inside out. This is great for reducing fading of bright colours, and preserving prints from cracking.

It can be a boring task, we get it, but there’s nothing worse than having to get rid of a t-shirt just at the point it’s become incredibly soft and comfortable because the print has all but disappeared.

Black and dark denim should always be washed inside out too, to prevent white lines forming on the outside of the clothes where they fold in the machine.

And when your vibrant summer dress ends up a dull shade of its previous splendour, you’ll wish you’d spent that extra time.


Sometimes it’s purely automatic to crank the temperature up to 40+ to wash our clothes, but most things don’t need to be washed on a high heat, and in fact, it could be damaging them.

Again, these simple switches can help reduce microfibre release and fabric breakdown. It's a softer, gentler way of washing your clothes and does as good a job at 40. If your machine has an “Eco” setting, go for that. If something is really soiled, try presoaking it before washing or make a judgement on whether it needs a hotter wash.


  • Keep clothes out of direct daylight to avoid discolouring. You might even want to invest in canvas garment bags or dust bags for your most precious pieces to protect them even more.
  • Store woollen items in cardboard or wooden boxes, not plastic. Plastic can turn wool yellow. And never hang up your knitwear! Because of their weight and the way that they’re constructed, hanging knitted garments will cause them to stretch and distort over time. When it comes to wearing your winter jumpers, you’ll find marks where the hangers were, and clothes turning double the size they used to be.
  • Take clothes out of your cupboards regularly to check for moth damage. Take any moth damaged clothes to the dry cleaners as soon as possible or temporarily store them in the freezer until they can be treated.
  • Make your own natural moth repellent. Dried rosemary, thyme, lavender and bay leaves are all big turn offs for moths. Store them in a bag and hang them up in your wardrobe to keep the moths at bay.


Don’t be scared of needles. There are lots of tutorials on TikTok and Youtube that can help you with sewing buttons, repairing holes or hemming clothes. Visible mending is a growing trend, too, so you can be confident about your perfectly imperfect skills. It really is a lot easier than it looks.

If you’re not convinced, check out apps like Sojo who will put you in touch with local tailors and seamsters who can offer alterations and repairs.


This video of Florence Pugh celebrating the “magic of Tide pens” lives in our head rent free and we’ve never seen a better advertisement for carrying a stain removal pen.

There are a few brands on the market but these handy, portable pens will help you avoid a stain crisis and do some emergency DIY on any marks, no matter where you are.


We’ve all been there - optimistically buying white trousers and crisp white shirts, and having to get rid of them because we accidentally drop a black sock in the washing machine, and suddenly everything is a not-so-attractive shade of grey.

If you’re the kind of person who chucks everything in together and hopes for the best - and then wonders why things are looking grey, then we need to tell you to wash whites and lights separately! We know it’s a pain, but it’s much easier to not have a problem in the first place than to try to solve it later. Investing in separate “lights” and  “darks” wash baskets could be an easy way to start.

But when clothes are already looking drab, don’t worry - there are ways to turn them back to their brand new colour, or even freshen them up with a whole new look.

Using a concentrated blueing liquid like Mrs. Stewart’s laundry liquid is a brilliant way to reverse any greying or yellowing of your white clothes. It works in the same way as a blue shampoo - making the colour appear brighter.

If you’re looking for a more all-natural solution, your kitchen might have the answer. Lemon juice is a natural laundry whitener and freshener. Add a cup of it with your detergent for a white wash, and let the machine work its magic. Be careful not to add lemon juice to coloured clothes though - as it can cause bleaching.

Baking soda is another great kitchen fix. Adding half a cup alongside your detergent will deodorise and soften your clothes.

There you have it. Easy ways to keep your clothes as good as new with very little effort. From adjusting our washing settings, to changing our hangers and calling up the local tailor, it really is easy to keep our clothes looking good for as long as possible.

Why not check out our article on vintage clothes, explore our takeback partners or browse our pre-loved favourites.

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