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Monday, November 15, 2010

Fighting Fading

Some faded blue jeans
Remember that beautiful top you bought that made you look like a million dollars when you first tried it on and garnered you lots of compliments? Now it's shoved to the back of your closet and never worn, because it's lost its luster, changed it's color, and makes you look like you don't care about your appearance, but you haven't thrown it out because you remember how it used to make you feel.
Has that ever happened to you? I'll bet it has. Fading ruins so much clothing around here, because I live in a very sunny climate, and the sun works as a natural bleach.
Oh well.

Here's a few tips I've picked up over the years to fight fading and keep your clothes looking spiffy for as long as possible.

Fighting Fading

Line dry clothes away from the sun. If you want those colors to stay as fresh and vibrant as the day you bought them, keep them in the shade to dry.
  • Line dry indoors
  • Line dry at night
  • Line dry clothes inside out
  • Line dry under an overhang
  • Line dry on cloudy days
Keep clothes outside for as short a duration as possible. When line drying, take your clothes in as soon as they're dry. Leaving clothes out in the sun longer than necessary is just giving them more sun exposure than necessary and will hasten the fading process. That means no hanging clothing one day and only bringing them inside the house 3 days later.
(Yes, I'm talking to myself here! Ever feel so overwhelmed by all that clean laundry that you still haven't put away that you're not in the mood of adding even more laundry to that pile, so you just leave it on the line- out of sight and out of mind? I, unfortunately, do it all too often.)

Get clothing that can handle fading. Black fades very quickly. And obviously. (Because people don't generally buy a charcoal colored outfit, nor a dull black...) It quickly becomes unwearable if it fades.
Other colors handle fading much better. ("Oh yes, this shirt came light blue" and "Don't you just love my beige-but-it-used-to-be-brown skirt?")
Keep fading in mind when purchasing clothing, so you buy mostly clothing that can handle being in the sun.

Go with solid colors. If you purchase solid colored clothing with run of the mill colors, if the color fades, you can dye the clothing back to its original darker color. (Only don't pull a cheapskate stunt like I did and use less dye than recommended, because then the dye only makes your clothes marginally darker and you have to repeat the process all over.)

Stay away from the sun. Never leave your house during daylight hours if the sky is cloud-free, and if you must, take a car everywhere- walking will wreak havoc on your clothes! As will standing around, waiting for a bus. Become a night owl and avoid the sun; enjoy your new nocturnal life and eliminate fading from the sun.
Ok, I hope you weren't taking me seriously.
Just remember that, despite our efforts, clothes fading is an inevitable part of life if you're living normally, and especially if you're living frugally and walk everywhere and line dry. So long as you purchase your clothing cheaply at thrift shops or yard sales, at least the loss of an item of clothing won't be too hard on your pocketbook.

What are your tips to help slow down clothes fading? What do you think you do that contributes the most to your clothing fading, and would you change them if you knew that doing so would help your clothes last longer?

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