With the growing climate crisis at the forefront of the public's mind, today more and more consumers are looking for ways to change their individual behaviour to become more eco-friendly. Despite this, the fashion and clothing industry alone is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, a large part of this shocking figure is due to fast fashion companies fuelling consumers to shop for their clothes on a week to week basis. This must change! With increased numbers of consumers becoming aware of the devastating impacts this industry alone has on the environment, many are choosing to shop more sustainably by purchasing secondhand and vintage apparel. But according to sanvt.com, “statistics show that 20% of an item of clothing’s environmental emissions are generated after its purchase”, therefore how can we minimise this?
We’ve put together a list of easy tips below to guide you in your attempt to go green in the laundry room!
1. Wash Less
How many of us wear something once and without evening thinking throw it into the laundry basket? Too many! Of course there are some exceptions such as underwear and sweaty gym clothes (ew!), unless the clothes are dirty or musty, you should try and wear them a few more times before spinning them through another wash cycle. The easiest way to care for your clothes sustainably is to reduce your washing machine usage all together, this will benefit the colour of your garments and protect their fibres!
2. Wash Cold
Did you know that heating the water uses 90% of the energy needed to run a washing machine! Additionally washing fabrics in high temperatures can result in your garment shrinking and fading. Many people resist the cold water method as they worry that cold water won’t clean their clothes as effectively, however detergents work just as well in a cold wash.
3. Use eco-detergent without fabric softener
The standard supermarket detergents tend to contain microplastics and harmful toxins that after usage end up in the oceans causing mass damage to the environment. Fabric softeners are also known to use harmful chemicals to lock odours in clothes, which can cause skin irritation. So using an eco-detergent will not only benefit your skin, but also the planet.
Garments made from synthetic fibres such as acrylic, nylon and polyester can lose microplastic particles when machine washed. This causes pollution when water waste is flushed into the oceans and can be particularly harmful to marine life. To prevent this, you can put garments into specially made bags to prevent microplastics escaping.
Guppyfriend Washing Bag £25
"Scientifically approved solution against microplastic pollution from washing."
5. Air dry, don’t tumble dry
Treehugger.com states that “between 75 and 80 percent of our clothing's life cycle impact comes from washing and drying, because it takes so much energy to heat the wash water and run the dry cycle.” This can also result in damage to the fibres of your favourite clothing pieces. Therefore why not invest in a clothesline, clothes rack or hangers to efficiently air dry your clothes? Another top tip, wool jumpers, are better dried flat! Also there’s nothing better than the smell of freshly dried laundry.
6. Steam instead of iron
Favourite shirt covered in creases? Don’t reach for the iron, instead try steaming. This method is much gentler on your clothes as the heat does not come into direct contact with the fabric, therefore it is much better for delicate fabrics like silk.
7. Ditch traditional dry cleaning
You may be aware that traditional dry cleaning methods often utilise the chemical perchloroethylene, which research suggests may have dangerous health implications such as “increased risks of bladder, oesophageal, and cervical cancer; eye, nose, throat and skin irritation; and reduced fertility; among other effects”. A better alternative to traditional methods is wet cleaning. This technique combines non-toxic, biodegradable detergents, pure water and the use of specialised machinery, to sustainably and carefully clean clothes. Wet cleaning doesn’t generate hazardous waste, which therefore reduces potential for pollution and contamination. Not to mention it is also gentler on your clothing.
Oxwash wet cleaning laundry services
“A better clean, in a better way. Wet cleaning uses only water and biodegradable detergents rather than the carcinogenic solvents used in traditional 'dry cleaning'...yuk!”
Hopefully these top tips have inspired you to consider taking a more sustainable approach when washing your clothes!
“Making your laundry more eco-friendly has multiple benefits: It's better for your wallet, your wardrobe, and your planet.”