We love our clothes at ecoHaven and want them to last as long as possible, which is why we wanted to share some eco garment care 101.
The majority of a garment's lifecycle impact doesn't occur during manufacture, but occurs from how the garment is cared for and cleaned at home. This means there is a huge potential for us to reduce our own personal energy and water use by greening our laundry and clothing care habits. It also means that we have a lot of control over how long our clothes last and how good our clothes look. Here are some eco tips to caring for your precious clothes:
Wash only when dirty
Try to get comfortable with spot cleaning your clothes and giving them an airing on the line to freshen them up between washes. Not only will your clothes keep their elasticity, colour and shape for longer, you'll have a whole lot less laundry to do and decrease your environmental impact in the process. All good things.
Wash with a full load in cold water
This not only saves energy but reduces the chance of colours bleeding or fading. A full load also acts as a buffer for clothing in the wash, preventing it from being over-spun or stretched during washing. Keep lights, dark and delicates seperate to keep your colours looking fresh and protecting your delicates.
Photo: Laurent Renault//Shutterstock
Choose eco friendly detergent
Chemical solvents in many detergents not only harm the environment but can be absorbed by the skin when you're wearing 'clean' clothes. In Australia, look out for products that are made from natural products, are biodegradable with 'NP' on the front of the box to indicate no phosphorous added. Steer clear of anything with added fragrance, optic whiteners or added enzymes.
Be careful of microfibre pollution
If you're washing synthetic fires like polyester, acrylic and nylon, chances are these items are shedding microfibres in your wash cycle and into the ocean. Most washing machine filters still let microfibres through, so consider purchasing a lint filter made for collecting microfibre or consider washing your synthetics in a delicates bag. Remember to empty any collected microfibres into the rubbish bin, not down the sink.
Dry clothes on a line
Drying clothes outside on a line or inside on a clothes airer saves energy consumption and money. Using a dryer can affect the quality of your fabric and cause colour fading, so if you do use a dryer, use it sparingly.
Store your clothes
Store your clothes in a cool and dry environment, with a bit of space between garments if possible. Invest in some good hangers if you can and fold your heavy sweaters to avoid the fabric stretching and drooping your favourite jumpers. Store suits on a hanger in a breathable suit bag to avoid mould and other yucky things from growing.
More tips and tricks
- Add 1/4 cup vinegar to your wash to help keep dyes from fading and act as a disinfectant.
- Baking soda added to your load helps clean, deodorise and brighten your clothing.
- Button and zipper up your clothes before washing. This helps to reduce the chance of snags that could ruin clothes after several washes.
- Give your bras some TLC and hand wash them in the shower with you.
- Consider making your own eco-friendly washing detergent. There are so many recipes online that I couldn't choose which ones I wanted to add.
Let us know if you have any more eco tips and tricks for caring for your clothes by posting a comment below.