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  • Kate Casey

Five ways to easily care for your children's second hand clothes

One of the most obvious ways of supporting your capsule wardrobe now that you have one is to care for those clothes already there. Below are my tried and tested top tips for clothing care, learnt over the years from my Mother (thank you, mum!) on how to care for your children's second hand clothes and to make them last longer.

Please note: these tips are my tried and tested ways for machine washable items. This is just a guide for caring for your children's second hand clothes and must be tried at your own risk. We accept no liability for any clothing that gets damaged as a result. Please use your common sense!

Five ways to care

  • Get to know your washing machine! Read the instruction manual for five minutes and learn about the different programmes. We can all relate to being guilty of repeatedly using the same two programmes, whilst most modern machines have dozens of different functions. Only last year, when I had a problem with my machine and spent time chatting with an engineer, I learnt I had been using the longest and most expensive programme most of my adult life!! It stands to reason that the shorter the cycle you use, the less wear and tear is inflicted on your children's second hand clothes, and you will be using less energy too! Unless something is heavily stained, it is unlikely to need a hot wash lasting several hours.

  • If clothing is stained or marked, treat it with an appropriate stain remover as soon as you can and wash it as soon as you can. (Testing an inconspicuous area first!) There are many different ones available in supermarkets and more natural eco-friendly removers. If this fails, the sunshine is also a powerful stain remover (nature's bleach!) Hang the item in direct sunlight and watch the stain disappear as if by magic! (This can sometimes require a couple of attempts for heavy stains.) Washing up liquid is also excellent for removing grease-based stains too before washing.

  • Separate your children's second hand clothes into colours, darks and whites before washing. You can now also buy reusable colour run sheets that can be put in your washing machine. I use them regularly with coloured loads, and you'd be surprised by the number of colours lost in the wash that end up on the cloth. These colour run sheets can be found in supermarkets' laundry sections and online and used for about 30 washes. (Then reused as cleaning cloths around the house) Much better for the environment than the similar disposable colour run cloths that can be purchased.

  • Before washing, study the clothing label and check what temperature or other conditions the manufacturer recommends. Many labels recommend that you turn items inside out to wash and iron. Another tip is to close any zips and to do up any buttons. All these things will limit the damage to your children's second hand clothes whilst whizzing around in the drum.

  • Love your machine, and it will love your children's second hand clothes! Check your washing machine instructions and set reminders for regular maintenance cleans. if you are running maintenance cycles and cleaning the drawer and filter at regular intervals, grime is not going to build up and it won't be an onerous task. If you keep your machine clean and free from mould and nasty smells, your children's second hand clothes will only thank you for it.

Once your children have grown out of their current wardrobe if their second hand clothes are still in great condition with no marks, tears or holes, then please contact us to see if we can purchase them back from you, and the cycle can start again for a new family!

I hope this all helps, as ever, if you need to update your children's second hand wardrobe, whether with a completely new look or one or two pieces then check out my shop. Postage is calculated on weight alone, and we offer a build-your-own bundle discount of 10% off on all items when purchasing more than five things.

Kate x

A white hanging clothes rail with blue, pink, white and yellow children's clothing displayed.

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