Want to reduce the environmental impact of your kids’ clothes? While buying for quality and sustainable production are always important, making your kids’ clothes last has a big impact on the environment. Here are our tips for helping your kids’ clothes last as long as possible.
1) Wash less. Between water, detergent, and energy, washing clothes has a big impact on the environment. And, all of that agitation wears the clothes down faster. Unless there’s visible dirt or unpleasant smells, you don’t need to wash your kid’s clothes after every use (except for underwear, of course!) This is especially the case with trousers, sweaters or sweatshirts, outerwear, and t-shirts.
Yes, kids are messy. But they can be taught from a young age to use a cloth napkin at meals and use aprons for art, cooking, or other messy projects. Teach kids to examine their clothes at the end of the day. No visible dirt or smells? Back in the drawer or closet, it goes! Don’t forget that spot-cleaning is your friend. If there’s just a little dirt, you can clean it off with a damp cloth and the clothes will be dry by morning. Little kids will likely need more washing as they learn to use napkins and tissues, but over time you’ll find that less washing is needed.
2. Wash better. When you do need to wash, there’s a lot that can be done to help clothes last and save energy at the same time. Washing on cold, turning clothes inside out and air drying all help clothes last longer.
3. Cover up. Rain suits are your friend! Don’t feel like you have to hold kids back from play because they are going to get covered in mud that will stain everything. Get a good quality rain suit that your child can wear on top of their clothes and still feel free to get messy. (Image by TheGemmers for Fairchild.)
4. Minimize embellishments. We all want our kids to look cute, but often embellishments are the first thing to fall apart on clothes. Plastic-based prints, flock prints (that’s the velvet looking print) and sequins all have a tendency to fall apart well before the garment is worn out. Look for water-based ink or discharge prints, these saturate the fabrics and age without flaking.
5. Learn to mend. Even if you have zero home-sewing experience, learning to make basic mends is a great way to make clothes last. Whether it’s repairing a busted seam, fixing a zipper, or replacing a button, simple fixes can make clothes last a lot longer.
What are your tips and tricks for making kids clothes last longer? Share in the comments below!