Make it Last: Simple Tips To Extend Garment Life

 "75-80% of your apparel product lifecycle is impacted by the washer and dryer."

Whether you are buying Vintage or contemporary items, know that 75%-80% of apparel product lifecycle is impacted by the washer and dryer. 

As the owner of We Thieves and a mother, by no means do I spend my days hand washing clothes. That said, the time I've taken to care for my clothing has always left a sense of satisfaction for me, and I've seen the impact with garments lasting longer and color staying truer. Below are just a few tips I've found that work for me and I'm throwing in a few others that colleagues have also used. 



Do not fall prey to the expensive fancy smelling detergents. The stronger they smell the more chemicals they have. These chemicals are also to blame for washer stink. Then, the consumer packaged goods industry sells you another product to get rid of the smell in your washer. It's all a great marketing scam.

The essentials:

1) White Vinegar: To remove foul odors vinegar always comes to the rescue. While it's smell can be a turn-off—it evaporates quickly and neutralizes any stink, including mothball smell.

2) VODKA: Yep - land yourself some cheap vodka to neutralize odors like mothballs and body odors. 

3) Spray Mist Bottle - for the above listed items (re-use one if you have before buying new). I use 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in mine. 

4) Mesh Washing Bag: There are small, medium, and large sizes. These are ideal for delicate items in the wash. Hot tip - you don't need to buy a large one - throw  your delicates in a pillow case and close it off with a rubber band - DONE. 

5) Baking Soda: The miracle powder for everything. It neutralizes odors, helps to eliminate stains, and much much more. 

6) Oxy Clean for whites- Under arm stains on white shirts be gone with a good soak in this (caution to not let sit too long or don't use on delicates or silks it will deteriorate fibers). 

7) Mild Detergents:  Borax, Dr. Bronners, Nellies or Seventh Generation - there are others, but the less chemical and smell the better.

Last, but not least, a little elbow grease and sunshine. 


1. Wash by hand or cold water delicate: Today's washers and dryers are riddled with wash settings and dry settings, yet they are still considerable culprits in reducing product lifecycles for apparel—especially the dryer. Always wash by hand or in cold water delicate cycle in a gentle detergent. This tip goes for any garment including T-Shirts.

2. Hang To Dry. No need to elaborate. Yeah, the denim gets stiff, but they break in quick.

3. Use the sun:  Most people do not know the lightening power of the sun. I learned the power of it living in Florida and dealing with cloth diapers. If you have a white or light-colored garment that is yellowing, bake it in the sun after washing (even on an overcast day the UV rays will do their magic). It works miracles on yellow stains or garments going dull. 

Note: Do not put a garment that is newly stained in the dryer or wash with hot water as it will set the stain. 

4. Dry Clean items that must be dry cleaned. If you use a green cleaner -  even better (fewer chemicals).

There's something very satisfying about caring for your garments properly - I hope these tips help you and as I learn more, I'll add more. 


1 comment

I love the textile care tips and that outfit with flowered skirt and green jacket is smashing.
Thank you.

Diana Kinch June 08, 2022

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