Washing your clothes also has an effect on the environment. Countless microfibers from the fabric are released into your plumbing every time you wash an article of clothing. The count is even higher if you wash in hot water. Additionally, dyes from colorful clothing pollute the water as well. Both dyes and microfibers end up in local waterways and pollute the planet’s bodies of water. Even running a washer and dryer uses energy and contributes to higher emissions.
In order to help reduce the harm here are 10 tips on how to take care of your clothing:
1. Wash COLD! – This helps reduce the amount of microfibers that are wasted when you wash your clothes. It also is better for the clothes in general by having less damage on the fabric and making them last longer.
2. SHORT cycle- Your clothes/ linens do NOT need to have extra rinse or an extra long wash. I’m sorry but we do not need to stand in the shower for an extra 10-20 minutes contemplating our lives so your clothes shouldn’t have the luxury either.
3. SPOT CLEAN- when you have a stain on a shirt just clean the stain with cold water, a spot remover, baking soda, or seltzer. This just reduces the amount that you need to wash an article.
4. FREEZE YOUR JEANS- yes. I know it sounds weird. I have worked in denim for over 4 years and what I have learned is that you should not wash your jeans and ESPECIALLY not put them in the dryer because it ruins the elasticity of the jean and decreases the lifespan on the denim. Putting them in the freezer overnight kills the bacteria and stiffens up the fabric again. If you have a stain please refer to tip #3.
5. HANG DRY- putting clothes in the dryer increases energy used and emissions released in addition to ruining the fabric of your clothes. It might take longer and you wont have that warm rush of putting on a hot hoodie but hey! Save the planet.
6. Use environmentally friendly soaps and detergents- plain and simple. The products you use also have an effect. The soaps and detergents are ultimately being washed into the local waterways and polluting the planet in addition to living on your body all the time through the clothing. This one is pretty obvious. Its a simple switch. (Or better yet: make your own!)
7. BIGGER LOADS- wash more clothes at once to reduce the amount of water and energy you are using. Easy.
8. Wash what you NEED to- Don’t wash clothes if they are not dirty. Jeans, coats, and jackets do not need to be washed every time you wear them. If you put on a piece for a few hours and are not sweating or getting dirty its okay to not wash it. Use your judgement.
9. If you have to dry clean: find a GREEN dry cleaner- I do not know the ins and outs of dry cleaning but I know that there are cleaners that are more environmentally friendly than others.
10. REPAIR- if you lose a button in a piece of clothing, get a rip, need a hem, etc. Repair it. YouTube exists! Look up what repair you need to make and then follow a tutorial. EASY! Save money and save your clothes!
I hope these tips have helped! I personally do this and I found that I keep my clothing for YEARS. It’s not that hard to make simple switches and it can even save you money in the long run.