According to Fashion Revolution, 25% of a garment’s carbon footprint comes from the way we wash and care for it, while 9 out of 10 pieces of clothing end up in landfill long before they should, often due to irreparable colour fading, shrinkage and misshaping as a result of over-washing. And yet, if we double the lifespan of our clothes, by reducing the number of washes and therefore energy and water usage, we can halve the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why we’re encouraging our community to not just buy less and wear more, but to also wash less and wash well. Read on to discover some simple eco-hacks to help you reduce your carbon footprint and make a difference at home.
WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE A FULL LOAD
49% of us use our washing machines once a week with less than a full load, with even a load washed at 30ºC, dried on the line, releasing 0.6kg of CO2e with each wash. And yet, if each UK household could take a load off once a month, we could reduce carbon emissions by 120,000 tonnes – the equivalent of heating 42,000 homes for an entire year. So avoid smaller loads, where possible, and save your laundry for a full load. Just be sure to leave enough space for your clothes to move around in the wash: if your palm can fit between your laundry and the top of the drum, then you’ve loaded your machine properly.
STICK TO THE RECOMMENDED DOSE
This may seem strange advice from a clothing care brand, but we want you to use less of our product – stick only to the recommended dose. It’s not only more efficient, but more effective: excess detergent isn’t as easily broken by the water in your washing machine, which can lead to build-up and residue on your clothes. And worse – it could even cause grime to redeposit on your clothes: the very opposite of cleaner clothes. So be mindful when you’re laundering!
KEEP IT QUICK BUT COOL
Unless you’re washing delicates (in which case we always recommend a gentle delicates cycle, with a low spin), opt for the quick wash setting on your washing machine. With a shorter spin time and cooler water, quick washes use 60% less energy, and 40% less water, compared to a regular cotton cycle. And whatever you’re washing, from denim to delicates, sticking to cool temperatures (> 30°C) not only protects against colour run and helps preserve elasticity, but also saves 40% more energy than washing at 40°C.
HAND WASH YOUR SMALLER LOADS
If you’ve got the time, and want to wear a particular item right now, and simply can’t wait until you have enough for a full load, consider hand washing instead (check out our hand washing guide if you’re unsure of the method). This is a particularly economical option if you’re washing underwear or travelling. Hand washing can save both electricity and water: even modern, energy-efficient machines use 50L of water a load (with older models using as much as 180L). This is reduced to around 10L when hand washing.
ONLY WASH WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
Minimise your energy and water consumption by only washing when absolutely necessary. Ask yourself, is it really dirty, and do I really need to wash it? Natural fibres like wool, for example, can go wash-free for 7-10 wears. If you’re not sure, check out our helpful when-to-wash-it guide). To refresh your clothes between washes, we suggest spritzing with one of our finishing sprays. They’ve been specially formulated to relax a fabric’s fibres and smooth out creases and wrinkles, whilst infusing fabrics with long-lasting fragrance.
With these 5 simple eco-hacks, it’s easy to wash less and wash well. They may seem small, but if everyone makes the effort, we can together make a big difference over time.
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