Cleaning Experts Guide to Preserving Clothes for the Next Generation 

Due to the increased popularity of TikTok’s recent trend of mothers and daughters sharing clothes, shown by 13.4 billion views, and 261,000 UK Google searches for ‘vintage clothing’ in the last year, Brits are searching in their older relatives’ wardrobes for fashion heirlooms from previous generations.  

It’s now more important than ever that garments stand the test of time and can be passed on for someone else to cherish rather than be thrown away. Therefore digital department store Freemans have partnered with Zlatka Dimitrova, a regular domestic cleaning expert from the home services business Fantastic Services to share the simple five top tips for prolonging the life of clothing items, so your favourite pieces can be passed down through generations. 

Many Brits are finding new treasures in their family’s closets from inherited jewellery to denim jackets and they’re not the only ones. A study was also conducted, analysing three years of news articles from 2020, documenting celebs biggest intergenerational fashion moments and shortlisting 50 instances where celebrity family members wore each other’s clothing, revealing how many years have passed between wears.   

The study highlighted the year the fashion item or accessory was originally worn, the year it was re-worn and what the year difference was. The study ranked each occasion based on the year difference between the original wear date and the latest wear date. 

Zlatka’s top 5 essential tips to care for your clothing items:

1. Avoid delicate fabrics such as silk in the dryer  

“Delicate fabrics like silk, lace, or synthetics should be air-dried. That way you can ensure they will remain intact. In addition to shrinking, wool items can also be damaged by the dryer.” 

2. Handwash trainers  

“You should hand-wash trainers instead of using the washing machine. You can remove dirt and stains with the help of a soft cloth or brush. You may want to remove the insoles and laces to clean them thoroughly and keep in mind that moisture or sunlight can damage your shoes if they are not stored properly in a cool, dry place.” 

3. Spot-clean your clothes instead of using the washing machine each time 

“Generally, you shouldn’t wash your clothes too often as over washing can cause fabrics to fall apart faster and fade. Instead of a full wash, spot clean or air out your clothing unless it is visibly soiled or has an odour.” 

4. Hang all jewellery separately to prevent detangling 

“Jewellery should be stored in a way that prevents tangling or scratching. It is also recommended to clean it with a soft cloth and not to expose it to any types of chemicals or moisture.” 

5. Denim jackets should be washed sparingly inside out, and leather jackets should be placed in a dark area 

“Ensure you remove any stains as quickly as possible. It is best to wash infrequently, inside out, and in cold water in order to preserve the colour. Avoid using the dryer. 

“For leather jackets, avoid direct sunlight and moisture. Additionally, you should use a leather conditioner to keep the leather supple.” 

Celebrities sharing their family heirlooms and how many years have passed between wears  

The year difference between celebrities sharing their family heirlooms  
Rank Celebrities  Fashion item or accessory  Year it was originally worn  Year it was re-worn  Year difference  
Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton Necklace 1953 2022  69 
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Beatrice Dress 1962 2020 58 
Princess Diana and Kate Middleton Earrings 1981 2022 41 
=4 Princess Diana and Kate Middleton Necklace 1985 2022 37 
=4 Prince William and Prince Louis Sailor Suit 1985 2022 37 
Princess Victoria and Princess Estelle Dress 1980 2014 34 
Prince Harry and Prince Louis Shirt and Shorts 1986 2019 33 
Princess Diana and Meghan Markle Earrings  1988 2018 32 
=9 Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner  Dress  1980 2010 30 
=9 Prince William and Prince George  Romper  1984 2014 30 

The late Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton rank first with the greatest year difference between clothing items worn, at 69 years. The item in question is the Queen’s three-strand pearl necklace that she was rarely seen without. 

Queen Elizabeth II and her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice Mapelli Mozzi are in second place with the Queen’s ivory wedding gown which was worn 58 years later. 

The late Princess Diana and Kate Middleton are in third place with Diana’s sapphire and diamond earrings which were worn 41 years later.  

Leanda Trethewey, director of marketing at Freemans said: “Finding staple pieces that you can invest in and own for years to come is a perfect way to make more sustainable choices and build up a capsule wardrobe.  

“Passing down well-loved pieces to family members can be rewarding as your beloved clothing item gets a new lease of life with a chance of more memories being created.   

 “Equally, receiving treasured pieces from family members can help us feel connected to them, especially if they are no longer with us.  

“For anyone looking to refresh their wardrobe or create a seasonal capsule collection, our extensive range of own brand and branded clothing collections have you covered.”  

Anabel Cooper

Anabel is a graduate of King’s College London and upon graduating, she set out on a journey to inspire and empower women through her words. Besides working as a digital marketing expert, Anabel is a freelance copywriter.