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Make it last: Simple Tips To Extend Garment Life


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

Denim Care

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, a retail consultant, and a mom — my life is exceptionally busy. By no means do I spend my day's 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.


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).


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) Mesh Washing Bag: There are small, medium, and large sizes. These are ideal for delicate items in the wash.

2) Baking Soda: The miracle powder for everything.

4) 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. 

There's something kind of sweet about caring for your things, with simple systems and solutions you can do the same effectively and efficiently. 

Photo by Bruno Nascimento 

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