Mend, wash and rotate: How to care for your clothes and make them last longer
07/27/2021 // Zoey Sky // Views

Being a responsible homesteader means taking care of your belongings, even your clothing. Doing this ensures that your clothes last longer so you save money instead of having to replace shirts or pants when they get damaged. (h/t to

Here are several ways to make clothes last longer and save money by doing the laundry properly, getting rid of stains, storing clothes the right way and mending rips and tears.

Basic laundry tips

Make smart changes to your regular normal washing routine if you want to prevent clothing from getting worn out prematurely.

Use cold water whenever possible. Hot water causes fading and more wear and tear. Certain types of fabric can also shrink, stretch or develop permanent stains when washed in hot water. Learn to use the correct water temperature for different types of fabric.

Always read the care labels in clothing. Some items must only be washed in cold water or require dry clean only, particularly new items. When in doubt, check the care label.

Close all zippers before washing. Open zippers can break in the wash and cause tears in other items of clothing once they get snagged on another fabric.

Button up clothes and turn them inside out to help prevent wear and tear on the outer finish and pilling. It also helps minimize color fading.

Place delicate garments like lingerie in a mesh laundry bag to protect them. Mesh bags are also great for socks and baby items so you don't waste time looking for small items or lost socks.

Wash light and dark colors separately to prevent stains.


Don't use too much detergent. Contrary to popular belief, using too much laundry detergent doesn't mean you have cleaner clothes after washing. The extra detergent just settles back on the clothing and leaves the material looking dull and stiff. When it's time to do the laundry, use only half of the usual amount of detergent then add half a cup of baking soda as a detergent booster. Your clothes will be just as clean and you can also save on money.

Don't overload your washer. Cramming the washer with too many clothes may seem like you're getting more laundry done quickly, but this can actually damage items. Clothing in a full washer doesn't get as clean and they rub together so much that it causes damage to the finish of the clothes.

Avoid using the dryer

Drying clothes causes a lot of lint due to the high heat of the dryer, which breaks down the fabric of your clothes. Extremely high heat in the dryer can even set stains and cause damage to fabrics.

Once you're done with the laundry, hang it up to dry in the sun instead. If you want to keep using the dryer, use wool dryer balls that help clothes dry faster and reduce wrinkles.

Wool dryer balls are a natural alternative to liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which can help save more money in the long run.

Stain removal tips

Get rid of stains before they set. Once you spill something, treat the stain with dishwashing liquid and wash once.

If the stain is still there, wash it again. Drying the item when the stain is still visible will makes stains set and ruin clothing. (Related: Remove clothing stains using these 2 DIY cleaners made with non-toxic ingredients.)

If you don't have time to treat the stain promptly, mark the spot with a clothespin so you'll remember to treat it before washing.

Store clothing properly

Don't settle for cheap wire hangers that will stretch the shoulders of suits and shirts, which can warp them. Invest in wood or velvet-covered hangers. Woven clothing like blouses, button-down dress shirts, or pants can be hung from a hanger.

Always fold knitted items like lace garments, polo shirts, pull-overs and sweaters instead of hanging to prevent stretching and store them on a shelf or in drawers.

Let fibers breathe and don't store clothes in plastic. Plastic coverings from the dry cleaners are only meant for temporary transport, so remove them when you get home to avoid trapping moisture. Moisture can cause mildew, odors and color changes in clothing.

Store clothes in breathable garment bags to let air flow in and out. Use cedar and lavender sachets to keep clothes smelling fresh and clean and discourage insects.

Rotate your clothes

Once you get home from work or school, change into "indoor" clothes. Changing out of your work or school clothes helps minimize wear and tear.

When you constantly wear a piece of clothing, it will wear out faster and you will need to replace it sooner.

Use the right mending techniques

Once clothes rip or tear, mend them immediately so the hole doesn't get bigger and harder to fix. Reattach loose buttons and redo loose stitching.

You can even experiment when mending clothes by making the repaired section stand out and using colorful thread or beautiful patches or material.

Repurpose old clothes

Even if you're extremely careful to avoid stains or tears, all items of clothing will wear out eventually.

Once your clothes wear out, repurpose them as other items you can use around the house.

  • Turn jeans into shorts, oven mitts, or purses.
  • Use old jeans to make DIY draft stoppers.
  • Sew old shirts into pillowcases.
  • Make a memorable quilt out of old clothes.
  • Use old socks to insulate pipes.

Wash clothes correctly, remove stains immediately and store clothing properly to make them last longer.

Visit for more tips on how to repurpose old clothing and save money.

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