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How to Make Clothes Last this Summer

While you may love summer with its temperate mornings, sunny afternoons, and lighting-bug evenings, it can be a hard time of year for your clothes. Regardless of the season, repeated turns through the laundry will start to deteriorate your clothing; however, you can’t not wash sweaty t-shirts and grass-stained shorts, right? Here are a few

While you may love summer with its temperate mornings, sunny afternoons, and lighting-bug evenings, it can be a hard time of year for your clothes. Regardless of the season, repeated turns through the laundry will start to deteriorate your clothing; however, you can’t not wash sweaty t-shirts and grass-stained shorts, right? Here are a few tips and tricks to care for clothes this summer.

Too much sun can do quite a bit of damage to your skin, but it can work wonders on your stinky garments. Leaving your smelly shirts to hang in the sun for a few hours will save you from having to throw them in the wash. Think of sunshine as nature’s detergent, with its ultraviolet rays killing bacteria and body odor.

Of course, if your clothes are stained, those marks won’t magically dissolve from direct sunlight. However, you can still avoid putting garments through the rinse and spin by hand washing and spot-cleaning. For sweat stains and ring-around-the-collar, I recommended using a laundry bar soap directly on the stains, either blot or scrub, then soaking them in Borax for a few hours. After they line-dry in the sun, they should be good to go. For food, grass, pen, or other stains, again spot treat with any stain remover you have on hand, and then soak in soapy water. Ideally, as you’re blotting at the mark with the stain remover and dunking it in the water, you’ll start to see the stain dissolve. Hang to dry, and you’ll have saved your shirt, dress, or shorts from a damaging go-round in the washer.

Even if your clothes aren’t stained or smelly, you can freshen them up by hanging them on a drying rack, instead of putting them away at the end of the day. Overnight hangs extend the wear of your clothes and keep your laundry load on the lighter side. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your drying rack in a cool, dry place, like a dry basement, or screened-in porch. If you want a quick refresh on that dress or tank top, run a fan in front of your drying rack for a “windswept” treatment.

When you do have to wash clothes, consider switching out your synthetic detergent for a homemade version. You can make your own laundry detergent with a mixture of vinegar and essential oil, which will soften your fabric, save you money, and is much better for the environment. Or, try a mix of shaved bar soap, Borax, and a washing soda like Arm & Hammer for DIY powdered detergent. Either way, you’ll be doing your clothes, your wallet, and Mother Nature a favor.

After a spin in the washer, if you can, hang your laundry outside to dry. Tumble dryers take a lot of toll out on clothes, and they add to the electric bill. Sure, dryers are convenient, but for the summer, why not use the free power of the sun and air, and get a few extra steps in by hanging laundry out to dry. If you don’t have an outside line, then utilize a drying rack or two, whether indoors or outdoors.

To clean jeans this summer, stick them in the freezer. I leave it to you to decide if this is also a way to cool off during hot and humid days. Joking aside, washing denim, especially darker rinses, will only wear out and stretch your jeans. And drying them can really misshape denim, especially if it already has some stretch. Instead, place a folded pair of jeans into a zip-top bag and let them spend the night in the freezer. This will clean and disinfect them since intense cold (like ultraviolet light above) kills off bacteria. If there are stains too, spot treat them before you freeze.

Laundry aside, to make clothes last, pick up a needle and thread. Knowing how to replace buttons, fix rips, and darn holes will keep your wardrobe in shape and save you from having to replace garments with minor damage. Sure, you may be all thumbs at first, but check out YouTube tutorials and practice with fabric swatches or old sheets.

No matter what the summer brings your way, your clothes will hold up if you take the time to try out these money-saving and Earth-friendly tips.

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