Caring For Clothes
The way we wash and care for our clothes over a period of time has a lasting impact on the environment. Prolonging the lifespan of our wardrobes doesn’t need to be hard - it’s simply a matter of making small changes to our daily habits.
We have put together a guide with Blanc Living on how you can care for your clothes sustainably.
Only wash your clothes when you need to - it is easy to find oneself doing laundry simply for the sake of it. Over-washing wears out the fibres in your garments faster, creating holes and tears in your clothing. For clothes that are not dirty but need a little freshening up, airing them on a rack and giving them a quick brush is more than enough.
Wash your clothes at a colder temperature, and avoid the dryer - in the majority of cases, 30°C is enough to make your clothes feel fresh and look clean. Using a low temperature will not only cut down your energy and water bills, but it’s much gentler on the environment and prevents the dyes in your clothes from breaking down. According to the UK Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at a temperature higher than 30 degrees can use as much as 60% more energy. If you need to wash clothes on a hot cycle for the antibacterial benefits, then adding ½ a cup of white vinegar with 20 to 25 drops of tea tree oil can be just as effective.
If you’re not in a rush to dry your clothing, skip the tumble dryer entirely and opt to hang dry instead – if everyone in the UK line-dried our washing outside in the summer months we’d save a total of around £180 million a year. Tumble dryers also cause shrinking and friction damage when your clothes rub together during a cycle, so cutting the dryer is the easiest way to prolong the life of your wardrobe.
Check your detergent - Conventional laundry detergents contain harmful ingredients, some of which are known irritants or even carcinogens. The wastewater from laundry can also have a negative impact on the local ecosystems and marine life as it often ends up in our waterways. There are many eco-friendly, non-toxic detergents on the market that work just as well as, if not better than the conventional ones. Just look out for the low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents.
Filter out the microfibres - When we wash clothes made of polyester, nylon, acrylic, or other synthetic fibres - all of which are forms of plastic - thousands of tiny microfibres shed from the garments. These go down our drains and end up in our waterways, and eventually, our oceans. Each year, the washing of our clothes releases half a million tons of microfibres into the ocean – the equivalent of more than 50 billion plastic bottles. This is why we’d recommend investing in a microfiber catcher (such as a Guppy Bag) for your washing. It’s proven to reduce microplastic pollution from you washing, filtering out even the tiniest microfibres that shed from our clothes when washing. These washing bags not only helps to stop microplastic pollution but also protects and prolongs the life of your clothes.
Stitch before you ditch – Instead of replacing your garment with a new one, repair the one you already have. Sometimes adjusting the shape of an item, whether the fit isn’t perfect anymore or it’s just something you’ve grown tired of, is enough to give it a new lease of life. If you need to repair or alter a garment and don’t have time to do it yourself, we’ve partnered with Clothes Doctor to give you free repairs for life on any garments you purchase from Fanfare. Just drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.