If you've been trying to find a way to care for your clothes better, there's never been a more urgent time to do so. Humanity generates a whopping 39 million tonnes of post-consumer textile waste worldwide each year, and, sadly, just one per cent gets recycled. So, unfortunately, that badly stained t-shirt or worn-out pair of jeans you've chucked out will sit in a landfill for a very long time.
And the reasons for such a colossal amount of textile waste? The truth is, our clothes just don't last very long – and that has to do both with how we shop for clothes, and with the way we wash them. If you're finding that your clothes gets torn in the washing machine, shrink, or discolour, you may need to rethink your wardrobe, from what you choose to buy to how you care for it.
Below are our top tips for improving the longevity of your clothes, including swapping your old washing machine and tumble dryer for more intelligent appliances. LG have launched a range of appliances, including a washing machine, a tumble dryer, and a clothes styler, that are specifically designed to reduce damage to textiles, and we're impressed. Here's how you can incorporate them into your clothes care routine.
1. Buy less but better
We once asked an editor of a prominent fashion magazine what their top clothes care advice was. They said: the next time you buy an item of clothing, it should be expensive enough to hurt a little. While this may go against all your budgeting habits, clothes that are well made from high-quality fabrics last longer, and actually will save you money in the long run. Build a capsule wardrobe from items that are practical and go with other things you have, and you won't need quite so many cheaper items.
2. Invest in a better washing machine
If you're regularly finding that your clothes come out of the wash torn or misshapen, or shrink, your washing machine is very likely to blame. Even newer washing machine models often focus on stain removal power rather than clothes care, and even gentle cycles can be harsh, especially when combined with an overly fast spin cycle.
LG washing machines now boast the AI DD™ technology that provides 18 per cent more fabric protection (according to independent testing). Yes, these machines are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to calculate not just the exact weight of your wash load, but also the type and softness of your clothes. The machine then automatically adjusts movement and calculates the optimal cycle to protect your cherished garment. The best part? You don't need to remember to do anything – no more accidental shrinking of jumpers in boiling water.
AO are now offering to recycle your old laundry appliance for free with the purchase of selected LG laundry appliances – but you’ll need to act fast, as this promotion ends October 31st, 2020.
3. Consider air drying – or getting a gentler tumble dryer
Oh, tumble dryers. They are convenient – but they are hard on fabrics. Essentially, most tumble dryers gradually thin the material your clothes are made from by stripping tiny bits of fabric from them during each use. And the higher the temperature, the greater the damage. Dryers also shrink delicate fabrics, making them unsuitable for many garments.
The solution? Air drying is far gentler on clothes – although it can be a challenge during colder, humid weather in autumn and winter. Some tumble dryers are gentler than others, though: LG tumble dryers feature a Dual Inverter Heat Pump, which is gentler on clothes and guarantees 24 per cent less shrinkage. It also uses lower temperatures – and less energy – to effectively dry your clothes: better for the clothes and for your energy bills.
4. Do less washing – steam your clothes instead
Of course, for clothes that are truly dirty, warm water and detergent are necessary to get them clean and hygienic again. But, unfortunately, the more you wash your clothes, the more you damage them. We weren't too surprised when Stella McCartney announced she didn't really wash her clothes all that much, and there is some reason to this. Especially where garments made from wool or silk are concerned, they don't need as much washing as underwear or cotton. You definitely don't need to wash your cashmere jumper after every wear, for example. In fact, you may well choose to refresh it with steam instead, using LG's genius Styler™.
The Styler looks like a closet within a closet: it simply fits within your wardrobe and refreshes your clothing using gentle steam action, without the need for washing with detergent or dry cleaning. Brilliant for anyone with detergent allergies, too.
5. Learn to repair your clothes – or use a repair service
We're not advocating darning your socks, but there is something to be said for the vanishing skill of repairing your clothes with needle and thread. Small holes can easily be concealed if you manage to find thread of a matching colour. Failing that, take you garment to your local clothes alteration service: they may well be able to repair it, and some are able to use threads from the same garment to mend the hole.