Keeping Kids’ Clothing in Good Condition

| November 14, 2012 | 8 Comments

Baby clothesYou know how quickly kids outgrow their clothing, as well as how expensive it can be. If you have more than one child, particularly if they’re the same sex, it’s nice to hand items down from older to younger. In my circle of friends, we also tend to pass used clothing along to the younger children. I have some friends whose kids’ clothing always looks pristine, even after going through more than one child! Since my own children are really rough on clothing and often can’t even make it through a season without ending up with stains, tiny tears and pilling, I thought I’d ask around and find out what I’m doing wrong, if anything. Here are a few hints on keeping kids’ clothing in good condition:

  • Have designated play clothes. When I was a kid, I’d come home from school and change into what my mom called, “play clothes.” While my kids are supposed to change out of their school uniform if they’re going to be playing outside or doing something messy, I admit that I don’t keep on top of this rule. They also will wear anything and everything on the weekends, when sometimes they are running around on the grass with nicer clothes that really shouldn’t get grass-stained. Keeping several pairs of jeans and tshirts or sweatshirts available for playing-outside days makes sense, and will keep the rest of their stuff looking nicer.
  • An ounce of prevention…. Here’s a tip from one of my friends whose hand-me-downs the rest of us covet: Every single day, go through the outfit that your child wore that day and use a stain-removing spray or stick on it. This helps prevent the stain from hanging around even after it’s been laundered. While you’re at it, check the pockets of every item; my kids are notorious for putting crayons, chapstick, lizards, rocks and heaven-knows-what-else in their pockets!
  • Use good laundry practices.  After you’ve stain-sticked the clothing, don’t let them sit around for days. Try to do laundry every couple of days, and be sure to use the right water temperature for the fabric. Sort your darks and lights to avoid having lighter clothes turn dingy; don’t wash jeans with light-colored shirts, for example. Use a good-quality laundry detergent. I used to use a cheaper brand but now buy Tide, and I really can see and feel the difference. I always use my dryer, but you could  hang the clothes out to help preserve them; just keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • If you are using a dryer, set the timer’s buzzer so that you can remove the clothing while it’s still warm. Shake out each item and fold and hang right away if you can. This reduces wrinkles. If you can’t get to it right away, you can always set the dryer to the “wrinkle-remover” setting or just run it on low for 10 minutes or so; this will iron out most clothing to an acceptable level without you having to resort to the bane of busy moms everywhere, the iron!

I’ve been trying to take better care of my kids’ clothing so that they can wear them as long as they still fit, and also so I can hand down used items to friends, nieces and nephews. Do you have any clothes-saving laundering tips to share with our readers?

Comments (8)

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  1. Mary says:

    I have 2 boys ( 10 & 8 ) and 2 girls (6 & 4).

    We have 3 categories of clothing.
    Play – School – Church

    For my preschooler… Play & School clothing are one in the same.
    Paint, markers, play doh… no point in worrying about getting stains out.
    (oh.. I do try and do fairly well..but never perfect)

    After Church the kids change into play clothes and often the Church clothes get re hung up for another wear.
    No need to wash again.

    Be careful of the stain removers.
    Most of them require washing after 5 min and suggest to not let it dry on the clothing.

    What I do is this:
    I buy Fels Nappa soap… $.99 at Walmart in the laundry aisle.
    Using a vegetable brush designated for laundry only, I use warm water and some of the bar soap on the stain. I gently rub and wash.. rub and wash. If it is a stubborn stain, I leave it on and it is safe to do that.

    For clothing that requires the heavy duty stain remover right before washing, I have a separate basket just for that.
    Those clothes I always hang dry .. just in case I need to rewash.

    Yes.. I neurotic about laundry, however, my kids hand me downs look GREAT and still have wear for another child.

    BTW… I do the same with winter coats.
    I have “Sunday Coat” and “School/Play” coats.

    Also .. LOVE Tide…. there IS a difference!


  2. Jo says:

    We just let our laundromat clean fabrics that are sensitive to washing by ourselves like pure cotton & silk.

  3. Leilani Caoagdan says:

    I have my 2 boys change their school clothes before going outside and even though it is a tedious chore, I separate all the laundry and wash them in the designated temperatures.

  4. tiffany says:

    Thanks for the great reminders everyone. I’m trying to get in better laundry habbits.

  5. Arra Odeza says:

    thanks for tips 🙂 i’ll keep those in minds 🙂

  6. Liza says:

    These are great tips!

  7. Kimberly Davis says:

    With me being the oldest I never had hand me down,but when we can home from school we had to change to play clothes.

  8. michelle kessler says:

    i to have the problem of destroyed clothes lol i will definitely be practicing some of these tips after today

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