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4 Ways to Help Your Clothes Last Longer

While this isn’t a flashy post by any means, it certainly is a practical one.  We all want to get the longest life possible from our clothing.  There are basically four things research reveals you can do right now to accomplish that.

Shorter and Cooler Washes

First and foremost, a recent English study urges shorter, cooler washes.  It’s a simple way everyone can make their clothes remain bright and avoid a premature trip to the recycle bin.

The English study was conducted by academics from the University of Leeds working with specialists from Procter & Gamble.  They found “that reducing both washing cycle length and water temperature can significantly extend the life of garments and reduce the quantity of dye and microfibres shed into the environment.”  Microfiber (I’m using the American spelling this time) releases dropped 52% and dyes released 74%, the study said.  So making this change is also environmentally friendly.  The study was published in the journal Dyes and Pigments. (That’s not a magazine I read regularly. You?).

Here’s why this is important to the environment.

“Every load of washing releases hundreds of thousands of microfibres (there’s that English spelling again) — tiny strands that are flushed down the drain.  Many reach beaches and oceans where they can remain for many years and be swallowed by sea creatures.”  Using cooler wash water requires less energy, another environmental plus.  In fact, According to the U.S. Department of Energy using warm water instead of hot cuts a load’s energy use in half.


The New York Times reports any bacterial and lingering odor concerns you have over using that cool water can be dealt with by using vinegar.

According to “use white vinegar, add 1 cup of it to the rinse cycle.  This is very effective for killing bacteria, and will also help to deodorize laundry (which is a good sign that odor-causing bacteria has been killed).  It is also an effective fabric softener, and helps to keep colors bright.”  Frankly, I just pour the stuff in with the detergent.  Works like a charm.

Hold the Dryer

Avoid using the dryer on as many items as possible.  Most athletic clothing doesn’t like the heat of the dryer.  The heat wears on any elastic, Spandex, and/or polyester properties that your garments may contain which weakens the material.  This can lead to tears, holes and misshapen garments.  All clothing in general will last longer if you can just hang to dry.  The colors will stay fresh longer and the fabrics will hold their shape.  I have several great easy-to-store drying racks that I use in my spare bedroom.  Not glamorous but they do the trick.


Nothing is worse than wearing your NEW shirt, only to spill something on it and wonder if it’s doomed for the donation bin.  Add this to your grocery list: FOLEX.  If you haven’t used this product yet, get some.  NOW.  It’s sold at most grocery stores, as well as Home Depot, Amazon and others.  It says it’s a carpet cleaner but in reality it’s the best thing for blood or any other stain you happen to confront, including red wine.  When my husband and I lived in Denver, Larimer Square had an evening where all the restaurants were set up for alfresco dining.  For this occassion, I had on my new white trench coat.  Suddenly we were caught in an abrupt hail storm and had to seek cover, grabbing any food and of course our wine.  Needless to say, my white trench wasn’t white any longer.  We ran into some friends during that evening and that’s when I learned about Folex.  My girlfriend Carol took my trench coat home and proceeded to get every drop of red wine out of it for me with Folex.  I love her and Folex.  I’m a believer!

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