We’ve all been there: watching in disappointment as a new shirt or favorite pair of jeans fades, snags, and degrades with each wash. But that’s just a fact of life — isn’t it? Actually, there are some simple laundry tips and tricks that will help keep your clothes looking brand new, even after they’ve been through the wash dozens of times. Read on to discover some best practices for your laundry routine and start saving your clothes from premature aging today!
What Causes Fabrics to Fade?
Before we get into how to best care for your clothes, let’s take a quick look at the main culprits behind faded clothing. There are two primary causes of fabric fading: sunlight and water.
Sunlight is a powerful natural bleaching agent, and even brief exposure can cause colors to fade over time. This is why you’ll often see garments that have been hung out to dry in direct sunlight looking much lighter than when they were first wet.
The level of light exposure and fading can also depend on how you store your clothes. For instance, it has recently become popular to use freestanding clothes racks instead of traditional closets, wardrobes, or drawers. But this may increase clothes’ exposure to light and speed up fading, especially if the rack is near a window.
While water itself doesn’t cause colors to fade, the chemicals often used to treat it do. Chlorine, other bleaching agents, and unexpected water contaminants can strip color away from fabric, leaving garments looking dull and faded.
Temperature can also be a factor in the appearance of your clothing. For instance, washing in hot water or on a high-heat dryer setting may cause dark colors to fade faster.
Laundry Tips to Prevent Your Clothes from Fading
Store Clothes Away from Light
While sunlight is a somewhat unavoidable factor in fabric fading — after all, you have to go outside sometimes! — there are ways to protect your clothes from light’s damaging effects.
- Avoid open clothing racks. While those clothing racks may look cute, keeping your clothes in a dark area like a closet or drawer will keep them looking vibrant longer. Or, at the very least, position your clothing rack away from sources of natural light.
- Put away off-season clothing. One simple solution is to store away seasonal clothing when it’s not being worn. This way, it won’t be exposed to sunlight (and other elements) on a daily basis.
- Garment bags. If you don’t switch out your wardrobe seasonally, another option is to keep your clothes in a garment bag or box when they’re not being worn. This will help shield them from fading caused by both sunlight and dust.
Avoid Snags with Mesh Laundry Bags
All too often, the zipper or hook closure on one garment will get caught in the weave of another while they’re being washed. By the time your clothes come out, you may have a tangled mess — plus a few new holes in that knit sweater or pair of tights.
A great tip to avoid this is to use mesh laundry bags for delicate items. These bags protect clothing from getting snagged or damaged in the wash and will help keep them looking new for longer.
Wash Items in Cold Water
Washing your clothes in cold water is one of the best ways to prevent fading. Not only will it help preserve delicate fabrics, but it can also save you money on your energy bill!
If you’re worried about not getting your clothes clean enough in cold water, don’t be. Most modern laundry detergents are designed to work just as well in cold water as they do in hot.
Turn Clothes Inside Out
If you’re concerned about discoloration, always remember to wash your clothes inside out. This is a simple tip that can make a big difference in how long your clothes last.
Washing garments inside out helps protect the exterior fabric from damage caused by abrasion, as well as fading from exposure to water and detergent. This is especially important for dark garments, as washing them inside out will help prevent color bleeding.
Dry on a Low Heat Setting
When it comes to drying your clothes, always opt for a low heat setting. Not only will this help prevent damage to delicate fabrics, but it can also help reduce fading.
You can also choose to hang clothes to dry them, but don’t leave them outside for days at a time — remember, sunlight can contribute to color loss and fading, too!
Use Filtered Water in Your Washing Machine
Among the most important laundry tips, one that many of us overlook is filtering the water that goes into our laundry machine. This is especially important if you have hard water, as the minerals in the water can cause serious damage to your clothes over time.
By installing a whole-home water filter, you can remove many of the harmful chemicals before they ever have a chance to reach your clothing. This will keep your clothes looking brighter and prevent them from wearing down prematurely.
Plus, filtered water is better for your washing machine! By eliminating excess minerals and contaminants, you can help appliances like your washing machine, your dishwasher, and even your coffee maker run more efficiently and enjoy a longer lifespan.
Protect Your Clothes, Your Budget, and Your Health with Whole-Home Filtration
A whole-home filtration system is a great way to improve water quality and protect your clothes during the wash cycle. But filtration can also do so much more!
- Lower your utility bills. The heavy metals, minerals, and chemicals that may enter your home through unfiltered water can build up inside your pipes, decreasing your water pressure and increasing your utility bills. Installing a home filtration system can reduce this buildup, keep water flowing, and ease your water bills.
- Protect your plumbing and appliances. Meanwhile, some contaminants corrode your plumbing and water-based appliances, causing damage over time. Filtration helps prevent this corrosion and protect your pipes.
- Promote healthier skin and hair. The same minerals that corrode your plumbing can dry out and damage your skin and hair. Bathing in filtered water helps preserve hydration for a healthier complexion.
- Help the environment. With clean, filtered drinking water available 24/7 from any tap in your home, you can save money and help our ecosystem by crossing plastic water bottles off your shopping list.
Want to extend your clothes’ lifespan and experience all the benefits clean water has to offer? Contact our professionals at The Science of Water. We’ll schedule your free water test and provide expert recommendations tailored to your needs.