Keeping up with growing kids can be a squeeze on the purse strings, with the average household spending £11,000 per child growing up. Whilst we can’t control how fast clothes are outgrown, there are a few ways we can try to make them stay fresher for longer, saving money and reducing waste.

Step 1: separate, rinse, repeat

When washing, separate whites and colours as you would with your normal wash. Remove any solids before washing by rinsing under the tap or with a brush. Use a non-bio detergent and check for the British Skin Foundation logo on the packaging. If your child has sensitive skin, use delicate or hand washing detergent.

Step 2: think practical

When buying, choose clothing that’s easy to wash and quick at drying. Breathable cotton is perfect for little ones as it helps prevent sweating and is soft against their skin. Avoid buying delicate fabrics with special care instructions and clothes with details sewn on such as sequins, as they are difficult to wash and risk coming off.

Step 3: act quickly, stay cold

When your child makes a mess, scoop or wipe away as much of the stain as possible before treating the fabric. This will make the cleaning process much faster. Baby wipes are amazing for dealing with spills on the go - they’re also the best thing for getting sick out of carpets. If possible, rinse clothing immediately, or soak in cold water until you can deal with it. Never soak in hot water as the heat might set the stain, making it a permanent fixture.

Step 4: be gentle

Avoid using harsh chemicals and cleaners that may irritate your child’s skin. Natural bleach alternatives include ammonia solution, baking soda, borax and white distilled vinegar. If you do use bleach on your child’s whites, make sure they’re washed and rinsed thoroughly before use. A great hack for getting rid of stains is to leave clothes out in the sunlight and let the sun bleach the stain.

Step 5: avoid the tumbler

Love Your Clothes advises to avoid the dryer, especially if you’re unsure whether a stain was successfully removed. The heat will set the stain and make it virtually impossible to remove. Hang to dry instead. If you can, hang outside and let the sun work its bleach-free stain removing magic.

For clothing in need of some extra care visit Love Your Clothes for tips on patching and repairing clothes.

Clothes too worn to wear or repair?

Find out how to recycle textiles here.

Top tips for baby clothing

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