A key aspect of the slow fashion philosophy is to make our clothes last longer and wear them for many years to come. Washing clothes has the second-highest environmental impact of any part of the life cycle of clothing, second to the manufacture of new textiles.
This change in habit could significantly reduce your fashion footprint and is simple to do with what you already have in your closet.
1) Wash less often and do a full load of laundry
Waiting to wash a full load of laundry to put in the washing machine and the dryer at once reduces the energy needed. So skip the half empty loads and wash your clothes when the load is full.
Some clothes can also be worn multiple times before you need to throw them in the wash. For instance, a good rule of thumb is to wash your jeans after 3-10 wears (or when there are stains or they start to smell).
Cutting the amount of loads by just 10% could save as much as 5 thousand gallons of water per year. When you dry a full load of clothes, you also avoid heating empty spaces.
2) Wash using cold water whenever possible
90% of the energy consumed in washing clothes is used to heat the water. Washing clothes in cold water not only saves energy but also keeps the colors on your clothes vibrant for longer. Most detergents nowadays actually have the ability to clean the clothes perfectly fine even with colder water.
3) Choose naturally-formulated detergents
Common ingredients in detergents are full of chemicals such as dyes, chlorines, phosphates and harsh enzymes that are not only harmful to the environment but could also irritate your skin and damage your clothes. Instead, look for more eco-friendly natural alternatives like Dropps laundry detergent pods which are naturally formulated from plant-derived ingredients and don’t contain unnecessary chemicals.
4) Use a Guppyfriend bag to catch microfibers
Clothes made from synthetic materials and fibers such as polyester and nylon releases microfibers when washed. While we should opt for clothes made from natural fibers such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, etc. overtime. What do we do with the clothes made from synthetics that are already in our closet?
A Guppyfriend washing bag is a good solution! This patented washing bag filters out the tiniest microfibers released from textiles during washing. You simply collect the fibers and disposed them properly after the wash and this prevents them from being released into and polluting our water supply.
5) Switch your dryer to low heat and use wool dryer balls
While the best thing is to avoid the dryer altogether and hang dry/air dry your clothes, I realize that the solution is not always easy for everyone.
You can still machine dry your clothes more sustainably by drying longer and on lower heat settings. Longer drying cycles on a lower heat setting uses significantly less energy than short drying on high heat. When you do run the dryer, be sure to keep your lint screen clean so air can flow and dry your clothes faster.
Lastly, you can also try using dryer balls to reduce dry time and help soften clothes while avoiding harmful chemicals typically found in dryer sheets.
Which ones of these laundry tips would you try at home first? Let me know in the comments below.