Washing tips to make your child’s clothes last longer
Being a child is synonymous with dirty clothes – if they don’t come back from the playground covered in mud and grass stains, something went wrong.
As parents, it’s our job to make sure our children enjoy all that life has to offer. Why not tackle the dirtiest parts of play by making sure our kids’ favourite clothes last longer.
For starters, we should try to buy quality clothes made with durable fabrics and to increase the longevity of our children’s wardrobe, put into practice some of the following tips to increase the wear time of their favourite clothes.
Treat the stains correctly
For blood and food stains: Protein stains (such as blood, vomit and food stains) require a laundry detergent containing enzymes to break down the protein. Look at the back of your laundry detergent to check for enzymes on the list. Then, soak the stains in cool water using an enzyme-containing product and wash in warm water.
For dye stains: Fruit juices and other dye stains can be tough to remove. If you catch the stain while it happens, run it quickly under cold water to remove as much of the stain as you can. Then, create a paste mixture of three tablespoons of sodium carbonate and one tablespoon of water and apply it to the stain. Allow this paste to dry and draw out more of the stain. Rinse off with lukewarm water and throw in the wash using the hottest possible water that is safe for the clothing.
Urine stains: Hand wash clothes in cold water using one cup of distilled white vinegar (no detergent). Because vinegar is acid based, it will effectively break down the uric acid in urine that is the cause of lingering smells in clothing. After the first wash with vinegar, wash with regular laundry detergent at the hottest temperature that is safe for your clothing.
Grass stains: Soak in cool water using an enzyme-containing laundry detergent for a couple hours. Wash in warm water and repeat the process if the stain remains.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Hot water is harsher on fabrics and wears them out quickly. To keep the colours and fibres of your kids’ clothes in top condition, wash them in cold water on a delicate cycle using liquid laundry detergent (powdered detergents can leave residue behind).
A delicate cycle involves a slower rate of spinning for clothes that require a light handling. Although most people reserve this cycle for their lingerie and sweaters, it can also be used to extend the lifespan of your child’s clothing.
Wash Clothes Inside Out
Washing and drying clothes inside out is gentler on any embroidery or screen printing outside the shirt and will help ensure that the print and designs last longer, especially if you are buying quality clothing for your kids.
Use Less Detergent
Using too much laundry detergent can ruin your clothes. It can leave residue on your clothes, which requires additional washing to rinse out.
Excess detergent also clings to the fabric, which can be harmful to babies, toddlers and anyone with sensitive skin. Most laundry detergents contain surfactants, which help pull dirt and debris away from clothes. Surfactants can also be irritating to the skin. Choose a detergent that is fragrance-free, dye-free and hypoallergenic.
Hang Clothes in the Shade
Allowing your clothes to air dry can help extend the life of your clothes. However, letting them air dry in direct sunlight can do the opposite.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can break down the chemical bonds in your clothing, causing them to look faded and worn. There is no avoiding some sunlight. It’s simply impractical to make your kids avoid the sun whenever possible.
You can prevent clothes from fading sooner by air drying them in the shade and storing them away from windows.
Buy Quality Clothes
Most people know that quality clothing lasts longer and can be a smarter investment.
Kids grow quickly, which creates a conundrum for parents who want to dress their kids in quality clothing without paying a fortune to do so. To get around this, many choose to shop exclusively online, or look for quality brands on the second hand market.
Use a Mesh Laundry Bag
If your children’s clothes have cute buttons and hooks, consider putting them inside a mesh laundry bag before washing. This will prevent them from catching on other garments or on the washing machine.
Mesh bags ensure that your children’s clothes don’t get stretched out or lose their shape during faster spin cycles. Plus, you can use them to keep certain items of clothing separate for easy sorting later. Put all your little one’s socks in one bag and you won’t need to search through piles of clothing trying to find them all.
Stop Washing After a Single Wear
This may sound absolutely crazy, but not every item is “dirty” after a single wear. Washing and drying weaken the fibers. The best way to prolong your clothes’ life is to simply stop washing them every single time they are used.
We all know what really needs to go into the wash, but these are some of the items you can simply hang up and allow to air out for another use from your kids:
Sleepwear: As long as there are no night “accidents,” PJs can usually be worn a few times.
Clothes are worn for just a few hours around the house: Those transitional outfits we wear between activities can be worn again.
Fancy dress clothes: Fancy dress events come around every now and again, and we strive to keep our kids tidy so they can keep these clothes in good shape.
After the day, the party, or the event, if there aren’t any visible stains, simply hang the outfit up separate from your other clothes, like near a window (in the shade) or a well-ventilated room, and allow them to air out for a few days before you store them back in your child’s closet till the next outing.
Taking Care of Your Kids Clothes is Good for the Planet
In conclusion, just implementing a few of these tips that fit into your schedule and lifestyle are great ways to lengthen the life of your kids’ clothes. This means you’ll be able to expand their wardrobe with even more quality pieces in the years to come. Taking care of your kids’ clothes will help you create better habits towards caring for the items our kids wear and use every single day, and it helps take care of the environment as well.