How to: extend the life of kids’ clothes

We all know there are huge differences in quality when it comes to clothing, and of course kidswear is no different. But even the highest-quality items can’t always withstand the amount of rolling, falling and crawling they have to go through on a daily basis. Kids are going to be kids, but what can you as a parent do to extend the lifetime of their clothes?

Below are some tips to get the most out of your kids’ wardrobe, and increase the lifespan of their favourite items. Better for the environment and your wallet!

1. Washing

Laundry is crucial when it comes to the life of clothes. The colder, the better, really. This way the water is not only more gentle to the garments, but also to the environment! Don’t use too much detergent, go for brands that aren’t too aggressive, and certainly avoid bleach. Don’t over-stuff your machine, either! Hand-wash items that are delicate and pay extra attention to fragile bits of fabric.

It’s even better to avoid washing, if you can. Jeans can definitely be worn more than once (provided there have been no accidents), and wearing a t-shirt underneath a jumper can save you from washing the latter. Hanging clothes out to breathe in between washes can also do wonders, especially to remove odours!

If your child has managed to create a minor stain on a piece of clothing they’ve just put on, try to remove the stain itself, before throwing the whole item in the laundry. Which brings us to…

2. Stains

The key to stains is to try and tackle them as soon as possible. The more time you give a stain to settle in, the harder it will become to remove (this especially goes for blood!). It’s useful to do a quick Google search before you attack the fabric, because different stains ask for different methods. If your kids are prone to make a mess, it may also be wise to carry a special stain remover stick in your bag when you’re on the go!

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3. Drying

If possible, skip the dryer. There are so many benefits! Dryers are not only harsh for your clothes (the heat can make them shrink or damage the fibres), but also for Mother Earth. Use a little fabric conditioner when you do laundry and hang or lay your clothes to dry instead (this can also be a fun activity with the kids!).

If you opt for outside drying, keep colours out of the sun, to prevent them from fading. Whites on the other hand stay nice and bright when dried in direct sunlight. Extra bonus: ditching the dryer will save you money on your next energy bill. Which you can now shamelessly use to treat yourself.

4. Storing

Avoid wire hangers when hanging clothes; use wooden ones instead. Fold sweaters and other knitwear instead of hanging them, because their weight can make them lose shape. Always leave enough room for clothes to breathe, whether they’re stacked in a drawer or hanging in a closet.

To combat moths and mould, don’t store your clothes in very warm, cold or humid places; basically, choose rooms you actually live in over the attic or basement. This might seem obvious, but don’t forget those pieces you might be keeping in the attic for a younger child!

5. Fixing

There are lots of ways to reuse or repair broken items so they don’t have to be thrown away. Small holes or missing buttons are an easy fix, but there’s a lot more you can do with broken or outgrown garments. From the classic patches on elbows to transforming one piece into another, the Internet is full of useful tips and tricks to refashion kids’ clothes. Just a few ideas:

  • Transforming jeans or trousers into shorts
  • Dying over stains, or covering them with a printed image (which can come from another item!)
  • Combining the top of a baby body with the bottom of a shirt to make a dress
  • Transforming a dress into a skirt
  • Sewing buttons or other accessories over stains

If you combine all these tricks, you’ll be definitely able to combat the daily wear and tear of your kids’ favourite items!

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