[permaculture] How many wearings for a cotton shirt?

yarrow at sfo.com yarrow at sfo.com
Thu Jul 13 15:46:12 EDT 2006

Clothes and shoes last longer if you have more than one set, so that 
you can rotate use. So how long things last depends on whether you 
have one or two (or more) items that you are using over and over.

How fabric is cared for and stored may contribute more to its 
longevity than how it is used. When I had wool jackets, one season of 
inattention meant the wool-eating larvae got a head start (pheromone 
traps are a great way to prevent this kind of damage). Also, how soon 
do you launder after each use -- do you let chemicals or dirt degrade 
the fabric over a day, a week, or more? Do you make sure all items to 
be stored are clean? Strangely enough, some deodorants may degrade 
fabrics sooner. Do you use bleach and harsh detergents, or gentler 
cleaning products? Hand wash or vigorous washing-machine cycles? Air 
dry or machine dry? When a small hole or tear appears, do you ignore 
it, or attend to it right away?

How you care for yourself is another important factor. Do you 
anticipate being the same size in 5 years, or 10 years? Even if you 
have never gained weight, age can add pounds or horizontal inches if 
you don't pay attention.

Often clothes are as likely to get lost as grown out of. Accidents 
happen, too -- can't plan ahead for those.

If you're interested in having "enough" clothes to last for some 
extended amount of time, learn to sew and repair, and perhaps stock 
up on fabric, thread, buttons, etc. as well.

>Cotton Tshirt, -- have never worn one out
>Cotton jeans or heavy work pants, -- have worn holes in the knees in 
>maybe 3 pairs in 20+ years
>Cotton underwear -- 1-5 years
>Wool blanket,-- I stopped buying wool a couple decades ago, but I 
>have a soft wool blanket that I've used every day for decades that 
>is at least 50 years old, and looks like it can easily last another 
>50 or 100 years
>Cotton socks, 1-5 years, depends on what kind of shoes you wear and 
>what you're doing with your feet (sitting, working in the garden, 
>etc.), and how well you keep your toenails clipped

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