Grass stains, rips and art-projects gone awry – we all know kids can be tough on their clothes! While we can’t prevent general wear-and-tear, we can give our clothes the care they need by washing, drying and storing them properly. Following the care labels in garments is the best way to keep them in good condition and lasting longer. While this may sound obvious, it might actually be easier said than done. Around one-third of us in the UK are no longer wearing items of clothing from our wardrobe because we’re not following the washing, drying or ironing labels – this works out to around 39 million items that haven’t been worn in the past year.
Buying Pre-loved Clothing
As children often outgrow their clothes from one term to the next, these items have plenty of life left in them. Buying pre-owned schoolwear is a great way to save money on high quality goods. 60% of parents say they’ve bought or received pre-owned school wear, so there is large market out there. It’s also worth remembering that all clothing, including school uniforms, is available all year round. A little pre-purchase planning could make all the difference to get more value from children’s clothes. You could also ask friends and family if they have items their children have out-grown to either give away or perhaps swap.
Care & Repair
Keeping clothes looking fresh into the next term doesn’t take rocket science, but it does require some handy little tips. Get to know what the care labels mean! Love Your Clothes has a brilliant wash label guide to help. They have a handy guide for confusing drying and ironing labels too.
Repeated laundering can damage clothing. Washing at a low temperature and line drying will help extend the life of garments
Whiten shirts by line drying them outside – the sun will make them dazzle
Remove ink stains by spraying with hairspray and blotting with a paper towel. Biro stains can be removed by soaking in a little milk
For muddy PE kits, pre-soak them as soon as possible in a bucket of cold water with 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda for at least an hour. Then wash with a biological powder and line dry
For crayon stains, if the crayon is soft, freeze the fabric to harden the crayon, and then scrape off the excess. Place the stain between clean paper towels and press with a warm iron to transfer the stain to the paper towels. Repeat as needed. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Blot and let dry
Grass stains – dab with methylated spirits and allow to dry, then wash as normal
For more tips such as how to alter clothing, visit Love Your Clothes.
Choosing the right ones
Clothing companies have a role to play and are doing their bit to help create high-quality items that will last. Many school uniforms now come with adjustable waist-bands, perfect for growth-spurts. Iron-free fabrics also mean garments require less time and will last longer by avoiding damaging heat from the iron. Scuff-resistant shoes help keep your little-ones feet looking neat and tidy too! Most school uniform sellers have a dedicated section on their website describing the long-lasting features of their clothes so be sure to have a look.
Another way to make sure you’re getting maximum value from your clothes is to look at the fabrics that they’re made from. Some fabrics are notorious for turning bobbly after just one wash whilst some seem to wash and wear well for ages. Many of the retailers are now producing school uniforms with easy-care technology or tougher materials to help them look good for longer and also recycled materials.
Organise a swish at your local school
You can organise a swish for children’s clothes with your friends or at your local school. It’s a great way to share good quality clothing and introduce your children to another way they can help the environment.
If the stain is too stubborn, the damage too great or there’s no more wear left in clothes recycling them means there’s still something great your clothes can do. Find out how to recycle on our Textile page.