Ever have that favorite sweater that’s way past its best, but you still can’t bear to throw it away? Moth holes be damned, you will rock that sweater until it’s threadbare, because you love it that much.
Whether it’s a cherished vintage find, an amazing sales bargain or a prized designer splurge, we’re here to help you keep all your favorite pieces in tip-top condition and ready for any occasion.
We’ve put together this list of the best ways to store clothes that keep them looking good for longer, so you don’t have to say goodbye before you’re ready.
RELATED: 9 Things That are in Every Stylish Woman’s Closet
- Don’t use wooden hangers
Yes, wooden hangers are better than those sorry-looking wire ones from the dry cleaners, but they just take up – So. Much. Space. – We recently discovered these practical and slimline wonder hangers. They’re non-slip (even on that flimsy dress that ends up on the floor of your closet every day) and sturdy enough to hold jackets and blazers, but the best part is how much extra room they give you in your closet. Each one takes up half the space of a wooden hanger – meaning you get double the storage space!
AmazonBasics Plastic Clothes Hanger with Non Slip PadThe best value and best quality hangers I have had. I swapped all my wooden hangers out for these = more closet space!
Want to shop all our cleaning & organization supply picks in one place? Check out our dedicated shopping page, full of all our best finds from the interwebs!
- Actually pay attention to labels for washing (duh!)
It turns out they aren’t just ‘guidelines’ or an FYI; washing according to the instructions really will make your clothes last longer. We know it’s so much easier to just dump your hamper into the washer, but separating colors and washing items at cooler temperatures will make a huge difference to how long your clothes last before the fibers start to break down or the colors fade. – Put aside anything really nice for dry cleaning, and always wash anything delicate or fancy by hand to be on the safe side.
- For solid color items, use dye in the washer to refresh the color
We tried this recently on some worn black jeans and were blown away by how new even the most faded pieces looked afterward. We used this dye
Dylon Machine Fabric Dye Pod Jeans Blue
It was totally foolproof, just be sure to read all of the instructions and check that it’s suitable for your type of washer before purchasing.
- Wash your clothes less often
You may have heard that you shouldn’t wash new jeans for at least six months because raw denim can wear easily. Well, that same logic can be applied to any piece of clothing. Spot clean stains, and hang them outside on the washing line to dry.
- Use less detergent in the wash
Washing machines perform better with less detergent in the water and use liquid detergent instead of powder as the powder can be abrasive when dissolving.
- Never wash towels and face cloths with clothing, wash them separately
Towels (especially older ones) are very abrasive and will easily damage the more delicate fabrics of your favorite outfits. Also, from a hygiene perspective, you don’t want what comes off your towel washing all over your clothes.
- Use the coldest temperature you can as hot water will shrink your clothes
Hot water can shrink certain clothes on the first wash, and even only slightly warm water can shrink your clothes after only a few washes. It’s difficult to know exactly how each item of clothing will react to higher water temperatures so be cautious and always use a cold wash.
- Wash dark clothes inside out
They will fade a lot slower if you take the extra time when putting them in your machine.
- Steam instead of iron
The heat and pressure on fabric that comes from using an iron will damage your clothes much faster than just using a steamer to loosen fibers and banish wrinkles.
Handheld Garment Steamer
- Use a delicates bag
Ideally, you would handwash your delicates but we are realistic, so at the very least, put them in a delicates bag and wash them on their own with the machine temperature set to cold.
- Don’t keep plastic garment bags from the dry cleaner
You don’t need to store your clothes in a garment bag at all, however, if you have special pieces that you only get out once in a while, a high-quality breathable garment bag will keep them dust-free as they sit in the back of your closet. Leaving your clothes in the plastic dry-cleaning bag however can cause yellowing, staining, and mildew growth.
Hanging Moth Proof Garment Bags
- Don’t use a dryer wherever possible
Try to keep your dryer a strictly ‘middle of winter’ appliance. I know not everyone has somewhere to hang their clothes outside, so an indoor drying rack *insert amazon link* is your best option. It’s not ideal for a small apartment so set-up the rack and dry them overnight. Then just pop it away when you wake up.
- Be wary of dry-cleaning too often due to harsh chemicals
Just hang outside or in the shower to refresh and remove wrinkles, spot clean any spills or stains and only take your clothes into the dry cleaners when all else fails, your clothes and bank account will thank you.
- Make sure clothing is properly dry before you hang or store it
Putting away clothes when they are still wet or even slightly damp can cause mildew to grow. Mildew, like mold, can grow rapidly and cause your clothing to smell.
- Use mothballs or natural moth repellers
Clothes moths are small, avoid light and rarely fly. This makes them incredibly difficult to notice until their larvae have already eaten through half of the wool clothing you had stored over summer. This is all about prevention, even if you haven’t had an issue before be safe and use mothballs. An infestation can be very difficult to get rid of.