The Number of Clothes the Average American Throws Away in a Lifetime

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Trunk Club, a Nordstrom-owned personal styling service, announces the launch of its new campaign, Caring for Clothing, 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 Americans 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 percent responded they rarely or never read the care instructions on their clothing before doing the laundry. And, 21 percent 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,” said Maggie Mee, head of merchandising for Trunk Club. “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.”

To help consumers better determine the value they can achieve by taking proper care of their wardrobe, Trunk Club built a brand new cost-per-wear calculator and additional digital content aimed to help those with clothing care questions.

“We were amazed to learn how much people are over-laundering their garments, especially those made of quality fabrics. 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,” continued Mee.

Americans also blame finicky fabrics for many of their laundering disasters. Silk sits at the top of the list of difficult fabrics, but cashmere, suede, leather, and clothing with sequins ranked in the top five. Some 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.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Twenty-nine percent admit to rarely or never using spot cleaning methods to clean their clothing following a spill.
  • Fifty-six percent of people say that they hang their sweaters. No matter what your sweater is made of, Trunk Club recommends folding them so they keep their shape.
  • Storing denim seems to be a polarizing issue. Forty-eight percent say they fold their jeans while 47 percent say they hang them.

For tips on ways to care for your clothing and to access the caring for clothing calculator, please visit

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