The most sustainable way to live is to use, re-use, repair and repurpose everything you can. By getting the most out of the clothes you currently have in your wardrobe you are limiting your spending, the demand for more of these clothes and the amount of stuff you are bringing into your home. So looking after your clothes comes as a firm favourite in my books of living sustainable.
So how do we make the most of what we already own? Here are 5 of my favourite ways to make the most of your current wardrobe!
- Avoid the tumble dryer
The tumble dryer not only uses huge amounts of energy to dry your clothes, but it’s also damaging to your clothes. Tumble dryers, especially on a hot setting can tear the fibres of your clothes, significantly reducing the longevity of this item.
Wherever possible opt for air drying your clothes, it’s kinder the the environment, your wallet and the clothes. A clothes horse large enough to hold a load of washing will always be a good investment, and they’re so easy to fold away a store so you won’t even notice it.
2. Space out your washes
You probably don’t need to wash your clothes half as much as you usually do. I was guilty of putting clothes in the wash after just one wear!
Obviously with the exception of underwear, try to get more wear out of your clothes between washes, and only wash them when they’re either stained of starting to smell. I can usually leave my black jeans for 2-3 weeks before they are actually dirty.
3. Know how to store your clothes
How you store your clothes can be a really effective way to preserve them. For fabrics like cotton and linen I would recommend keeping them on a hanger, this limits creases and the need to iron so often. Any knitwear should be folded and stored either in your drawers or the bottom of your wardrobe. Hanging knitwear up can really stretch the fabric and gravity will ruin the shape!
4. Read the care labels
I know this sounds like an obvious one, but I think we’re all guilty of chucking everything in the wash without checking the label. When you can, check how you’re washing your clothes is in keeping with the care label. They can go a bit OTT, but it’s always best to be safe than sorry!
If it says hand wash, only hand wash, if it says dry-clean, only dry-clean, and remember, you don’t have to wash clothes on a hot cycle to clean them properly, in fact it’s much better to wash your clothes on a cooler cycle.
5. Learn basic sewing
Don’t panic! I’m not asking you to be on par with The Great British Sewing Bee contestants. I’m simply suggesting you learn how to patch a hole or do a basic alter to your clothes.
Not only will it save you having to go and buy a new item of clothing, but you’ll get much more satisfaction out of saving something that would otherwise be destined for landfill.
Basic care tips:
- To remove underarm stains on cotton simply pour hot water into a bowl and add 1/2-1 cup of bicarbonate of soda, leave to soak overnight and wash as normal.
- Remove other stains but rubbing castile soap and water into the stain, rinse and repeat if necessary. Wash as normal.
- Replace your fabric conditioner with citrus infused vinegar. You won’t notice a vinegar smell in your clothes-promise!
- Keep moths away by taking an old cloth and adding 30-40 drops of lavender essential oils to it. Store this in your wardrobe.
- Iron clothes with the steam from your shower.