Make your clothes last longer by following these top tips – including not washing hotter than 60 degrees, hanging garments out to dry outside, and FREEZING clothes.
Laundry entrepreneur, Sam Whigham, has shared a host of tricks to take care of clothes sustainably – ensuring you get plenty of wears and save money, while helping the planet.
Other words of advice include not going overboard on the laundry liquid and fixing shrunken clothes by reshaping them when wet and lying out flat to dry.
Sam, who co-founded a cleaning products firm after spending years making homemade supplies, also believes stain removers aren’t always needed.
Instead, a little laundry liquid can do the trick, as well as tackling the stain as quickly as possible.
Using lemon and salt to remove stubborn sun cream spots or lemon and laundry liquid on underarm marks can also be effective.
The tips were released by Sam’s company, Wilton London, after a study by the carbon neutral laundry brand found more than a third wash their clothes at 60 degrees or higher.
And this not only reduces the lifespan of garments, but also dramatically increases their carbon footprint.
Four in 10 (38 per cent) wash items above 40 degrees when they could just pop smelly clothes in a bag and into the freezer to kill off bacteria and freshen things up.
The research of 2,000 adults also found 46 per cent are confused about the best way to clean different fabrics and types of clothing.
Sam Whigham said: “Taking care of your clothes has so many benefits – not only will they last longer but that, in turn, will save you money, which will also save the environment by not having to replace items as often.
“Things like only washing when needed, sticking to lower temperature settings and choosing the right laundry detergents not only protects your clothes and washing machine it also helps reduce your carbon footprint.
“And using eco-friendly laundry products can also ensure less harmful substances end up in the water system.”
Cleaning hacks lighten the load
The study also found 23 per cent of adults will typically use a bio laundry detergent.
However Sam claims switching to a non-bio product is much better for washing woollen and silk apparel.
Nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) respondents will wash clothes after EVERY wear, regardless of whether there are any visible signs of dirt.
But Sam explains popping musty-smelling clothes on a quick cool setting in the dryer or a spin cycle can also keep them feeling fresh and uses less power than a full wash.
Dabbing stains with a cloth, hanging clothes outside to ‘air’, and hand washing are among some of the other ways Brits are ‘cleaning’ their items instead of doing a proper laundry load – a great way to save money, power and water, according to the expert.
However, nine in 10 are happy to re-wear items rather than washing them after each single use, with saving money and trying to help the planet among the reasons why.
Although 17 per cent are afraid to put garments in the machine because they don’t know if it’s on the right settings.
And two in 10 will never check washing instructions or labels on clothing before popping them in for a clean.
Small and simple changes
Sam also advises turning delicates, and clothes with things like zips on them, inside out to preserve the entire laundry load – but three in 10 will never do this.
The research, conducted via OnePoll, also found the average adult cleans their washing machine once every other month.
But Sam explains a short warm wash with 450ml of vinegar can help a smelly machine.
Mike Perry, co-founder of Wilton London – maker of eco laundry products available at Sainsbury’s – said: “It’s surprising to see how many people are committing these simple mistakes, which could be affecting the shelf-life of their clothes.
“Small and simple changes are all it takes to help your clothes last longer, whether it’s tackling a stain before it sets so it doesn’t have to go through the washing machine five times or just switching laundry detergent or using less and more when needed.”
Sam Whigham’s top 20 cleaning tips for making clothes last longer
Dry your whites outside in the sun, the sun’s natural rays will help bleach your whites without using any energy.
You don’t always need stain remover, a little laundry liquid directly on the stain can often do the trick.
Hot washes don’t help with most stains, it can often lock them in. Stick to 60 max.
Soften towels and bed linen with a quick tumble with some tennis balls, which can also shorten the drying time.
Help your laundry scent last longer by air drying (not tumble drying), using fabric conditioner and storing in a cool place once dry.
Freeze it. When an item of clothing needs a freshen up (like jeans), pop them in a bag in the freezer for 24 hours, it will kill off the bacteria causing most smells.
Jumper smells a bit musty? Rather than a wash, pop it in the dryer on a cool setting for ten minutes or use the spin cycle setting on your washer.
You don’t always need a specialty wool wash for woollen items, simply opt for a non-bio laundry product.
Turn your temperature down to 30 degrees to save up to 60 per cent of your carbon footprint.
A short wash isn’t always more economical. Most eco wash settings use less power and less water over a longer wash period.
Avoid products with optical brighteners and micro-encapsulated fragrances. Many of these ingredients are made with micro-plastics and are known to bio-accumulate instead of degrading.
Only do full laundry loads and hand wash the odd items to save power, water and money.
Keep coloured fabrics bright with a little fabric conditioner – it can also make ironing easier and repair damaged fibres and make your clothes last longer. But not too much or it will build up over time.
Wash clothes with a zip or delicate items inside out. It stops them snagging on other items in your wash.
Wash a stain as quickly as possible, if you get the stain in the wash within minutes, it will nearly always come right off. Also use lemon and salt or oxy laundry bleach on sun cream stains, soak in laundry bleach for red wine marks and lemon and neat laundry liquid on under arm stains.
Fix shrunken clothes by reshaping them when wet and laying flat to dry.
Iron without an iron. A few wrinkles but can’t be bothered to iron. Just hang up and give a light spray with water and watch the wrinkles drop out. You can even put it on as it dries to speed up.
Smelly machine? Run a short warm wash with about 450ml of vinegar, as well as taking laundry out quickly and leaving the machine draw open for a while to dry.
NEVER put wet wool in the dryer.
Chlorine based laundry bleaches will dull colours, use chlorine-free oxy laundry bleaches instead.