February 28, 2022

4 Easy Tips To Make Your Clothes Last Longer

By Leza Warkentin
Sustainable laundry tips

So you just purchased a Modern Shibori piece and now you need to wash it. Did you know there are easy ways to take care of your clothes sustainably? Read on for easy laundry tips on how to care for your clothes and make them last longer.

Sustainable Laundry Tips

It’s critical that we reduce waste by keeping our garments in good repair for their lifetime. “The linear approach of buy, wear, and dispose has left us with a massive global clothing waste problem — that amounts to one garbage truck’s worth of textiles being landfilled or incinerated every second.”1 Whew, that’s not good. In order to avoid adding to already overflowing landfills, it’s best to reduce our consumption and extend the life of the clothing that we already own.

"Garment care accounts for approximately 75 - 80% of the carbon foot print of any individual piece of clothing"2

"Garment care accounts for approximately 75 - 80% of the carbon foot print of any individual piece of clothing"2 Traditionally, however, good cleaning practices have involved a lot of water, energy and harsh, not so environmentally-friendly products. Kind of defeats the purpose, if you ask us. So we’ve gathered together some of our favorite tips on how to clean and care for your wardrobe - while keeping an eye on the CO2 emissions, of course.

Tip #1: Wash less. Do the sniff test.

That's right! Most clothing doesn't need to be washed after every wear. Jeans, shirts, jackets and other pieces like dresses can be washed after 4x wear. Garments close to the body like socks and underwear should be washed more often. 

Sounds good to us! And, by the way, we are actually washing our clothes far too often anyway. Just washing certain pieces less often can make a huge impact. Did you know eliminating one load a week can save 30 gallons of water per household?3

Sustainable Clothing Care Tips

Get daily, weekly and monthly actionable tips sent to your inbox. Put this cute poster in your laundry room for reminders.

Tip #2: Wash in cold water, line dry.

Short, cooler cycles are much better for your garments and the earth. Do you hate the way some of your garments shrink, lose their shape and fade? Washing machines can prematurely wear out fibers with the addition of hot water. According to Fibershed, a non-profit non-profit organization that develops equity-focused regional and land regenerating natural fiber and dye systems, "switching from hot to cold water washing can save approximately 1600 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere per year per household"2.  Also, According to Smithsonian Magazine, washing clothes on a hot cycle uses 75% more energy than cold water washes, and warm water is also more likely to break down dyes and cause shrinkage.4

Sashiko is a great way to mend clothing.

Photo: sashiko is used for mending holes and hiding stains.

Tip #3: Learn some basic mending hacks

Everyone has their favorite piece that loses a button or gets a rip eventually. It’s great to have some repair know-how when that shirt pops a button or a small hole needs patching. Don’t discard items in your wardrobe at the first stain or when the zipper goes. If you aren’t handy and you’re really pressed for time, there are tailors and seamstresses who can help you keep your clothing mended and in great shape for a long time.

And who doesn't have to deal with stains? Did you ever throw out a great top because of a red wine stain? Check out our red wine stain removal guide

Tip #4: Reduce use of dry-cleaning

Do you know what chemicals are used in the dry-cleaning process? Dry-cleaners typically use perchloroethylene to clean garments due to its efficacy in removing stubborn stains. However, “Health and environmental agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, have linked perchloroethylene exposure to several types of cancer and neurological impairment.”4

As a result, many dry-cleaning companies have been using other types of solvents that are more eco-friendly. Still, it’s best to use dry-cleaning sporadically and only for items that truly cannot be wet-cleaned or spot-cleaned. Ask your local dry-cleaners what products they use and seek out green dry-cleaners in your area.

Upcycling is a great way to reinforce garments that need repair

Photo: Mending a tear by patching over it by upcycling old shibori scraps.

With the right care, your garments from Modern Shibori will last a lifetime - which is good news for you and for the environment. The wonderful thing about purchasing your clothing from a sustainable fashion brand like Modern Shibori is that we truly care about our customer community. We are always available to answer care questions or to offer advice about cleaning and repair. Our organic fabrics are durable and high quality, thanks to the fact that they are not processed with chemicals that can damage the fiber. Best of all, proper care softens the fabric, and our pieces get even more comfortable and cozy over time.

Get in touch today with any questions you might have about caring for your Modern Shibori pieces.

What's your fave go-to piece? Does it need repair soon? Let us know in the comments.

Resources:

1https://www.consciouslifeandstyle.com/sustainable-clothing-care/

2 Fibershed

3 https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-laundry-habits/2019/apr/04/longer-lasting-clothes-eco-friendly-tips

4 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/case-washing-clothes-cold-water-180955459/?no-ist

Additional Resources:

https://eco-age.com/resources/how-care-your-clothes-and-keep-them-longer/

https://goodonyou.eco/caring-for-your-clothes/  

https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/a-new-movement-to-reduce-the-hidden-environmental-cost-of-clothing-care