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Survey: Americans Throw Out 600 Pieces of Clothing in Their Lifetime

Trunk Club launches clothing care education campaign

CHICAGO — Trunk Club, a Nordstrom-owned personal styling service, has launched its new Caring for Clothing campaign, which aims to provide resources for consumers to better care for the pieces they buy.

As a part of the campaign, Trunk Club conducted a survey of 2,000 American adults to better understand their struggles caring for their clothes and found that they throw away at least 10 items each year due to shrinkage, color issues and damage.

Additionally, 43% responded they rarely or never read the care instructions on their clothing before doing the laundry. And, 21% rarely if ever follow instructions featured directly on the care tag.

“When you’re building your wardrobe, it’s important to think about how you’ll take care of those pieces,” Maggie Mee, head of merchandising for Trunk Club, says in speaking to consumers. “Understanding the different fabrics and the best ways to clean them can make laundering your clothes a lot easier and will keep your clothing lasting you longer.”

Trunk Club built a new cost-per-wear calculator and has created additional digital content aimed to help consumers with clothing care questions.

“We were amazed to learn how much people are over-laundering their garments, especially those made of quality fabrics,” Mee says. “We lose an incredible 600 pieces of clothing in our lifetime because we don’t properly care for them. When in doubt, always look at the clothing care tag first.”

Americans also blame finicky fabrics for many of their laundering disasters. Silk sits at the top of the list of difficult fabrics, and cashmere, suede, leather, and clothing with sequins also ranked in the top five. Some consumers are so intimidated by these fabrics that they report they won’t buy them. Thirty-six percent said they avoid buying silk because of its care routine.

Other survey findings:

  • 29% admit to rarely or never using spot cleaning methods to clean their clothing following a spill.
  • 56% of people say that they hang their sweaters. No matter what a sweater is made of, Trunk Club recommends folding them so they keep their shape.
  • 48% say they fold their jeans, while 47% say they hang them.

Clothing care tips and the cost-per-wear calculator can be found on Trunk Club’s website.