Clothes Wearing Out Quickly After Washing & Drying? (read this)

Over time all clothes will begin to lose their colour and fade. Sadly the more you wash your clothes the more likely they are to wear out especially if you use a washing machine and tumble dryer. This is because the rough and tumble action of these mechanical devices actually damages the fibres of your clothes.

If you want to prevent your clothes from ageing before their time, keep reading. Because in this article we share 23 reasons why your clothes could be wearing out.

What Causes Clothes To Wear Out Fast?

There are several things that we are all guilty of when it comes to laundry which can cause your clothes to wear out faster than they should. These include;

Not Following The Wash Care Label

Garment manufacturers put wash care labels on their clothes to help you to get the most from them. If you decide to ignore that advice or never even look at the wash care label, you’re likely to get damaged, faded, shrunk or stretched clothes.

Always check the wash care labels

Cramming Too Many Clothes Into The Washing Machine (overfilling the drum)

It’s never a good idea to overload the drum of the washing machine. Often we speak about the damage that can be caused to the machine if too much laundry is crammed into the drum. But we don’t usually think of the damage that it does to the clothes.

Not only does overfilling the drum mean many of the clothes won’t get washed at all, it also means that they’re more likely to become damaged.

Washing Clothes Too Often

In many cases, it’s not necessary to wash your clothes after every wear. For instance, you wear a cotton shirt for a couple of hours under a jumper on a cold day.

It’s highly unlikely that the shirt has become dirty at all during that short space of time. So put it back in the cupboard and not the laundry bin.

Washing Different Fabrics Together

Different fabrics need different wash settings, so bundling them altogether in one wash is a recipe for disaster. Rough, harsh garments like work jeans should never be washed with delicate items like silk etc.

The rough material will rub against the delicate clothes and cause them to wear prematurely.

If you do have to do a mixed wash load, you should always protect your delicate items by using a mesh laundry bag to protect the delicate item during the wash cycle.

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Washing Different Colours Together

You should always separate different colour clothes before washing. Darker coloured clothes are likely to bleed into lighter coloured clothes which can make some clothes become faded looking.

Always wash light clothes with other light clothes, dark clothes with other dark clothes and always wash whites separately from all other types of washing.

Allowing Zips, Clasps & Buttons To Catch On Other Clothes

It’s always important to take the time to ensure all buttons, clasps and zips are done up before the clothes are put in the washing machine. This will prevent them from catching on other items and causing damage in the machine.

If the clasp of one garment gets caught on another item of clothing and they then get pulled in different directions due to the mechanical action of the machine, it can result in a rip or tear which could mean a prize top is now headed for the bin.

Too Much Detergent

Using too much detergent causes the colours on clothes to run which leads to those clothes becoming faded. It’s important that you follow the washing instructions on your detergent and only use the specified amount.

If the clothing has a stain, using extra detergent won’t help to remove it, you need to take it to a dry cleaners. They are skilled in removing stubborn stains and have the specialist equipment needed to do the job.

Over Use Of Stain Removers

If your clothes are heavily stained and you use a stain remover, always use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Allowing the stain remover to stay on the clothing for too long can cause the clothes to become holey. 

Using The Wrong Detergent

As technology has moved on, the need for powdered detergents has diminished. Which means modern liquid detergents and detergent capsules are far more suited to modern washing machine programs.

Using a powdered detergent can lead to damage to the fabric of your clothes as it doesn’t always dissolve correctly at cooler temperatures.

Also using low priced (and often low quality) detergents can cause damage to certain fabrics over time. This is even more likely if the clothes are then washed using an incorrect wash cycle and a spin speed that is too fast.

Using Bleach

white laundry with bleach

Many people like to bleach their whites and this is fine as long as you dilute the bleach in water before use.

Using neat, undiluted bleach in your washing machine will cause holes to appear in the clothes. Undiluted bleach is way too strong for clothing fabrics and burns straight through some clothes.

Using The Wrong Spin Speed

There are certain clothes that cannot be spin dried at all and others that can only be spin dried at a slow speed. If you were to use a fast spin on a delicate item it is likely to get damaged.

Check the wash care label before washing your clothes if the wash care label has been removed or has faded, here is a general guide to spin speeds for various types of clothing;

Clothing TypeSpin Speed
Cottons1400 rpm
Wollens1200 rpm
Minimum Iron 1200 rpm
Denim900 rpm
Delicates 600 rpm
Shirts600 rpm
Silk400 rpm

For detailed information on the right wash cycle and spin speed for your washing machine, check your user manual or contact the manufacturer.

Washing At The Wrong Temperature

Modern machines are designed to be used at lower temperatures which is a good thing for our clothes. Warm water is known to break down fibres which can lead to colours fading. 

This fading happens less often in cold water washes in fact washing clothes in cold water helps prevent colours from bleeding. 

You should always use a detergent designed to work at low temperatures whenever you choose a cool wash cycle.

Using The Wrong Setting

Washing machine settings are there so that your laundry gets the right level of washing power. So using an incorrect setting can cause damage to your clothes.

For instance, if your garments aren’t particularly dirty, don’t select the “heavy wash” option. All that will happen if you do is the clothes will be subjected to extra wear and tear which will cause them to fade or become damaged in some way.

Washing Clothes Without Turning Them Inside Out

Turning your clothes inside out is a good way to prevent them from becoming faded on the outside. The outer fibres of your clothes become worn during the washing and spin drying process. 

By turning them inside out before washing, it will be the inside of the garments that become faded, not the side you see when you’re wearing them.

Using The Wrong Hangers

If you hang your clothes in your wardrobe using the wrong sort of hanger, you could damage the material around the shoulders and even damage shoulder pads.

You should only ever use wooden or plastic hangers and keep away from metal hangers.

The clothes should hang with the hanger supporting the shoulder at the point that it meets the seam of the sleeve. 

Allowing Moths In Your Wardrobe

Believe it or not, moth infestation is on the increase and moths can seriously damage your clothes. There is a simple way to keep moths out of your wardrobe and that is to use a moth killer sachet or hanger.

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Moth hangers will need to be replaced after a certain period (usually every 6 months).

Not Checking The Pockets On Clothes Before Washing

It’s so easy to leave things in your pockets when you put clothes in the laundry bin. Then on wash day you have 1001 things to do, so you just empty the laundry bin straight into the machine without checking the pockets first. 

Any items left in the pockets of clothes can cause damage to your clothes. Things like; nails, screws, keys, even coins can all cause damage either directly to the clothes or to the washing machine.

This then results in holes in clothes or excessive wear to the clothes.

Buying Poor Quality Clothes

It’s always great to get a bargain but sometimes the reason that t-shirt was cheap is because it was cheaply made. Which means it won’t last long and so you shouldn’t be surprised when it starts to fall apart.

Using Certain Body Sprays & Deodorants

Deodorants and body sprays are often sprayed directly onto clothes. Some body sprays and deodorants contain harsh chemicals that can damage certain materials.

Using A Damaged Washing Machine

In some cases, the washing machine itself could be causing your clothes to wear out. Often loose nails, screws, keys or coins can cause damage to the washing machine drum.

That small nick or break in the drum or drum paddles could catch on your clothes as they tumble around in the washing machine.

Having A Bra Wire Caught In The Drum

The underwire on a bra can sometimes become trapped between the drum and the side of the washing machine. This can often go undetected but during the spinning of the drum it can catch on clothes and create holes.

Check the drum for any wires or other snags before loading washing into the drum.

Using A Damaged Tumble Dryer

In some cases, small holes and damaged threads in your clothing could be caused by the tumble dryer.

If the tumble dryer’s drum is out of alignment, it could allow fabrics to slip between the drum and the drum housing of the appliance. This could cause damage to your garments.


Ways To Prevent Clothes From Wearing Out Too Soon

Now we’ve identified the main reasons that can cause your clothes to wear out so fast, let’s look at ways to help prevent excessive wear. These include;

Using Fabric Conditioner

Adding fabric conditioner to your wash lubricates the fabrics during the wash to protects the fibres from wear and tear. Fabric conditioner in the washing machine is like oil in a car engine. It’s there to prevent friction which is the main cause of wear and tear.

Using White Vinegar

Adding 118 ml (½ cup) of white vinegar to your washing will help to prevent your clothes from fading. Vinegar also acts as a fabric softener so is a great natural alternative to fabric conditioner.

If you’re worried about the smell, it washes away during the rinse cycle.

Using Salt As A Colour Lock

When washing a brand new garment, add 118 ml (½ cup) of salt to the wash. This will help to lock the colour into the garment and prevent the colour from bleeding.

Use A Washing Line To Dry Your Clothes

It’s far easier to place everything in the tumble dryer and dry it all indoors. However, if you’re looking to keep your clothes looking as good as new, you’ll be far better hanging them all on a clothesline outdoors.

The tumble dryer roughs up all of the fibres in your clothes which makes them far more likely to become damaged. Hanging them on a washing line (in indirect sunlight) is far kinder to the fabric.

If you don’t have access to a garden or you don’t have a clothesline, you can use a clotheshorse or airer indoors.

Indoor clothes airers can be placed in front of a radiator or in any room with adequate airflow. 

For recommended clothes airers, click here.

Use A Dehumidifier To Dry Your Clothes Indoors

Dehumidifiers work by removing damp air from the room. By placing a dehumidifier in the room with your drying washing you can speed up the drying process without adding any stress to the laundry’s fabrics.

As the moisture is removed from the air, the fabrics can release more moisture at a faster rate.

SEE ALSO: Best Dehumidifier For Drying Clothes Inside (perfect size for laundry)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my clothes getting old after washing?

There are several reasons why clothes look old after washing. For instance; using harsh detergents, hot water washes, using stain removers, mixing fabrics and colours and spin drying at the wrong speed can all cause clothes to age in the washing machine.

Why do my clothes get worn out so fast?

There are a number of reasons that can cause clothes to wear out fast, these include; washing too frequently, using the wrong detergent, spinning at too high a spin speed, using stain remover or bleach, or washing at the wrong temperature.

Does washing and drying clothes wear them out?

Washing and drying clothes does wear them out. The fabric of the clothes is exposed to harsh conditions during the washing and drying process. Harsh chemical detergents, rough and tumble mechanical action in the machine, friction and excessive heat all add up and cause wear and tear to your clothes.

Does fabric softener make clothes last longer?

Fabric softener (conditioner) does make clothes last longer. This is because it acts as a protective barrier which prevents fibres from catching each other as they spin in the washing machine. This protects your clothes from wear and tear.

Does frequent washing damage clothes?

Frequent washing does damage clothes because every time clothes are washed some of the fibres get broken down. The more often you wash clothes, the more likely they are to become damaged.

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