10 eco-friendly ways you should be washing your clothes
Taking care of our clothes is a complicated business. Dry-cleaning is expensive and not great for the environment, while washing machines and dryers consume huge amounts of energy. Then there’s the question of care labels, which often recommend dry-cleaning even when a fabric is machine-washable. Yet wearing smelly clothes is not an option. So what’s an eco-conscious girl (or guy) to do?
“Think about airing and brushing clothes rather than automatically putting them in the wash basket after every wear”
Washing your clothes less frequently is the easiest and most effective way to reduce the environmental impact of doing laundry. “Think about airing and brushing clothes rather than automatically putting them in the wash basket after every wear,” says Mathilde Blanc, co-founder of eco-friendly cleaner Blanc. “If they do need to be washed, think about the environment and wash on a short cycle with cold water.”
Eighty-five per cent of traditional dry-cleaners use a solvent called perchloroethylene (known as ‘perc’), which allows them to clean embellished garments and fabrics that don’t react well to water. But perc is not good for the environment or the health of those who work with it.
There is an alternative in ‘wet cleaning’ though, a technique pioneered by BLANC. “It is suitable for everything with a dry clean label, but delivers a better quality clean and is kinder to your skin, your clothes and our planet,” says Mathilde Blanc. “Many established fashion brands such as Reformation and Hugo Boss are already recommending ‘Wet Clean Only’ or ‘W’ on their garment care labels, which allows consumers to make more ethical decisions.”
“Many established fashion brands such as Reformation and Hugo Boss are already recommending ‘Wet Clean Only’ or ‘W’ on their garment care labels, which allows consumers to make more ethical decisions.”
Synthetic fabrics shed tiny microfibres when we wash them, which ultimately end up polluting our oceans. Research group Eunomia found that the UK generates 1,600 tonnes of these microfibres each year. You can reduce your impact by investing in a Guppyfriend (£25, blancliving.co): you put your synthetic garment in the bag before running it through the machine. The microfibres gather in the corners and seams of the bag, so once the wash is complete, you can remove and dispose of them safely.
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