15 Tips To Keep Your Clothes Looking New

We all love that fresh-out-of-the-shop look our clothes have when we first buy them. But how can we keep that newness going for longer? 

Whether you’re trying to make your favourite jumper last another season or you want to keep your work shirts looking crisp, these 15 tips will help you maintain your wardrobe and keep your clothes looking their best! 

Read And Follow Care Labels

Think of care labels as your clothes’ personal user manual. They might seem like a bore to read, tucked away inside your garment and often written in tiny print, but they’re packed with valuable information.

Always check the wash care labels

For instance, have you ever wondered why some of your t-shirts seem to shrink more than others? 

Reading the care label might reveal that one is 100% cotton, which is prone to shrinking, while another is a cotton-polyester blend, which is more shrink-resistant. 

When you’re equipped with this knowledge, you can adjust your washing and drying methods accordingly!

Here’s a quick guide to some common care label symbols:

  • A tub filled with water – machine washable
  • A hand in water – hand wash only
  • A circle – tumble dry allowed
  • A crossed-out iron – do not iron

Remember, ignoring these labels can lead to disasters. I once washed a ‘dry clean only’ silk blouse at home, and let’s just say it now fits my niece’s doll perfectly!

Sort Your Garments

Sorting your laundry by colour, fabric type, and washing temperature can make a significant difference in how your clothes turn out. 

I get it – separating your fabrics into different groups might seem like a chore, but it’s a crucial step in maintaining your clothes! Beyond the basic whites and colours separation, consider these categories:

  • Whites: This includes all your bright white items.
  • Lights: Think pastels and light greys.
  • Darks: Your navy, black, and dark grey items go here.
  • Bright colours: Keep your reds, bright blues, and greens separate.
  • Delicates: Lingerie, silk, and other fragile fabrics.
  • Heavy fabrics: Denim, towels, and sweatshirts.

By sorting thoroughly, you prevent colour bleeding (no more pink underwear from a stray red sock!) and ensure each type of fabric gets the appropriate wash cycle.

Use Mesh Bags For Delicate Items

Delicate items such as lace and thin fabrics can easily get damaged in the washing machine. Using mesh laundry bags helps protect these items from tangling, stretching, or tearing during the wash cycle. 

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Simply place your delicate garments in the bag and wash them on a gentle cycle.

 They’re particularly useful for:

  • Bras and lingerie – Prevents straps from tangling and underwires from poking through.
  • Socks – Keeps pairs together (goodbye, lonely single socks!).
  • Delicate knitwear – Protects against snagging and excessive stretching.
  • Clothes with sequins or beading – Prevents embellishments from falling off or damaging other clothes.

I once washed a lacy top without a mesh bag, and it came out looking like it had been in a fight with the washing machine – and lost! Don’t make the same mistake. 

Avoid Overloading Your Machine

Overloading your washing machine can lead to inefficient cleaning and increased wear and tear on your clothes. 

When the machine is too full, clothes don’t have enough room to move around, which can cause too much friction and damage. 

Tip - Don’t Overload The Washer’s Drum

To keep your clothes looking new, avoid overloading your machine and follow the recommended load size for your washer.

A good rule of thumb is to fill your machine between ½ to ⅔ full!

Do Cold Washes

Switching to cold washes is a win-win every now and then: after all, it’s gentler on your clothes, and also, kinder to your energy bill! 

Here’s why cold washes are often better:

  • Preserve colours – Hot water can cause dyes to bleed and fade faster.
  • Prevent shrinkage – Heat can cause certain fibres, especially natural ones like wool and cotton, to shrink.
  • Remove stains effectively – Contrary to popular belief, many stains (like blood or sweat) are best treated with cold water initially!

Of course, there are times when a hot wash is necessary – for heavily soiled items or when you need to sanitise (think bed sheets during flu season). 

But for regular loads, cold water does the job well!

Pre-Treat Stains

We’ve all been there – you’re enjoying a lovely pasta dinner and suddenly, tomato sauce decides to leap onto your favourite white shirt. 

Don’t panic! The key is to act fast:

  1. Blot (don’t rub!) the stain with a clean, dry cloth to remove excess.
  2. Apply a small amount of stain remover, laundry detergent, or even dish soap directly to the stain.
  3. Gently work it in with your fingers or a soft brush.
  4. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before washing.

For specific stains, here are some tips:

  • Red wine: Salt or white wine can help neutralise the stain before washing.
  • Grease: A bit of chalk or baby powder can absorb the oil before you pre-treat.
  • Ink: Hairspray (yes, really!) can help lift ink stains from many fabrics.
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  • Helps prevent colour transfer in your wash, keeping your colours vibrant & safe

Remember, always test any stain removal method on an inconspicuous area first!

Turn Clothes Inside Out Before Washing

Turning clothes inside out before washing can protect the outer surface from friction and fading. 

This simple step can make a world of difference, especially for:

  • Dark clothes –  Helps prevent fading and keeps blacks looking sharp.
  • Printed t-shirts – Protects the design from cracking or peeling.
  • Embellished items – Reduces wear on sequins, beads, or embroidery.
  • Trousers – Minimises white fade lines on the seams and pockets.

It takes just a few extra seconds but can significantly extend the life of your clothes. 

I’ve had band t-shirts that still look great after years of wear, all thanks to this little trick!

Dry Fabrics With Caution

The way you dry your clothes can be just as important as how you wash them. 

Here are some tips:

  • Air drying is best for most items. It’s gentle on fabrics and saves energy.
  • If using a dryer, clean the lint filter before each use to improve efficiency.
  • Use dryer balls to help separate clothes and reduce drying time.
  • Remove clothes promptly to minimise wrinkles.

For delicate items like wool, lay them flat to dry rather than hanging them. This prevents stretching in a significant way!

Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals, such as bleach, can weaken fabric fibres and cause colours to fade. Use gentler alternatives like oxygen-based bleaches for whitening and removing stains. 

Also, consider using natural products like white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda for their cleaning and deodorising properties without the harsh effects. 

distilled white vinegar washing machine

For example, adding half a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle can help remove odours and residue, leaving your clothes fresh and soft without the risk of bleach damage!

Store Clothes Properly

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining your clothes between wears!

Make sure to:

  • Use wooden or padded hangers for jackets and coats to maintain their shape.
  • Fold heavy knits rather than hanging them to prevent stretching.
  • Store occasion wear (like suits or formal dresses) in breathable garment bags to protect from dust.
  • Keep lavender sachets or a cup of bicarbonate of soda in your wardrobe to repel moths and keep clothes smelling fresh!

And here’s a pro tip: when hanging trousers, fold them along the crease and hang from the bottom. This maintains the crease and prevents a hanger line at the knees.

Reduce Wash Frequency

Washing clothes too frequently can cause unnecessary wear and tear. After all, not all garments need to be washed after every wear.

It might sound counterintuitive, but washing your clothes less can actually help them last longer. Unless visibly dirty or smelly, many items can be worn multiple times before washing, like:

  • Trousers: Can usually go 4 to 5 wears between washes. Some denim enthusiasts even go months!
  • Jumpers and cardigans: Usually good for 2 to 3 wears, unless you’ve been sweating.
  • Bras: Can typically go 3 to 4 wears before needing a wash.

Assess each item’s condition and wash only when necessary to prolong its life. If your jeans still look and smell fresh after a day out, there’s no need to throw them in the wash right away!

To freshen clothes between washes, try hanging them outside on a breezy day or using a fabric refresher spray. 

Rotate Your Wardrobe

Rotating your wardrobe ensures that all your clothes get equal wear. 

Avoid wearing the same few items repeatedly, as this can lead to faster deterioration. By regularly switching out your outfits, you give each garment a break, reducing the frequency of washes and wear. 

person hanging clothes indoors

For example, instead of wearing the same three shirts to work every week, mix them up with others in your wardrobe to keep them all in good condition!

This is especially important for:

  • Shoes: Alternating pairs allow them to fully dry out between wears, preventing odour and extending their life.
  • Bras: The elastic needs time to recover its shape.
  • Suits: Giving them a day or two between wears helps maintain their crisp appearance.

Plus, rotating your wardrobe helps you make the most of all your clothes. You might even rediscover some forgotten favourites!

Address Faults ASAP

Small issues like loose buttons, minor tears, or pulled threads can quickly worsen if left unattended. Make sure to address these problems as soon as they happen! 

Sewing a loose button or mending a small tear promptly can prevent more significant damage and extend the life of your clothes. 

Imagine noticing a small tear in your favourite dress – a quick fix with a needle and thread can save it from becoming a larger, more costly repair.

Know When To Get Help From The Pros

While many clothing care tasks can be done at home, sometimes it’s best to call in the experts. Professional dry cleaning is often worth the investment for:

  • Suits and formal wear
  • Delicate fabrics like silk or cashmere
  • Heavy winter coats
  • Items with difficult stains

A good dry cleaner can also handle alterations and repairs that might be beyond your skills. 


It’s often worth paying a bit more for quality service – and your favourite clothes will have a better chance of lasting longer in the process. 

Choose Quality Fabrics

While it’s not always possible to buy high-end clothing, investing in quality pieces when you can often pays off in the long run. 

Look for:

  • Natural fibres like cotton, wool, and silk, which often wear better than synthetics.
  • Tightly woven fabrics, which tend to be more durable.
  • Clothes with well-constructed seams and buttons.

Remember, a £50 shirt that lasts for years is a better investment than a £10 shirt that falls apart after a few washes.

It might seem like extra work at first, but once these habits become routine, you’ll find it’s not much effort at all. And the payoff, which is a wardrobe full of clothes that look great wear after wear – is definitely worth it. Don’t you agree?

SEE ALSO: How To Pre-Treat Stains Before You Wash Them

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vinegar keep clothes from fading?

Yes, vinegar can help keep clothes from fading. Adding half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle can set colours and prevent fading over time. 

How do you keep clothes fresh and new?

To keep clothes fresh and new, follow care labels, wash in cold water, turn clothes inside out, avoid overloading the machine, and air dry when possible. Store clothes properly and reduce wash frequency to minimise wear and tear. 

What is the best laundry detergent to keep clothes looking new?

The best laundry detergent to keep clothes looking new is one that is gentle and formulated for colour protection. Look for detergents labelled “colour-safe” or “for delicate fabrics” to maintain vibrancy and fabric integrity. 

Can white vinegar damage clothes?

No, white vinegar generally does not damage clothes. In fact, it can help remove odours and residues. However, always use it in moderation to be safe.

How can I restore faded dark clothes?

To restore faded dark clothes, you can use a commercial colour restorer or dye. Alternatively, adding a cup of black coffee or tea to the rinse cycle can help revive dark fabrics naturally. 

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