Sustainability is always on our minds, and we’ve come to realize that the journey doesn’t end with buying sustainable. The way we take care of our clothes is also a reflection on how we take care of the environment. How we wash and dry our clothes affects 80% of its lifecycle, as well as gravely impacts the earth with the amount of water that is used and cannot be recycled. By using (and not using) certain methods, we can reduce the impact on our planet, and also extend the lifespan of our clothes.
Of course, technology plays a big role in increasing the efficiency in the way we clean our clothes, but it is not the only way to ensure sustainability.
Here are 4 ways to care for your clothes – the sustainable way:
1. Wash less
We tend to think that clean laundry is when our clothes still smells of detergent, and that after one wear it is okay to throw it in the laundry basket. However, if we wear our clothes at least 3 times before washing (apart from privates and socks), we can reduce the number of loads we put in the washing machine, and in turn save hundreds of gallons of water a year (a load consumes an average of 40 gallons).
Tip: If you’re worried about any odor, just leave your worn clothes to air or dry in the sun – it will kill the bacteria from your previous wear.
2. Use energy efficient washing machines
If you are in the market for a new washing machine, make sure you research on how energy efficient they are. On top of that we suggest you get front-loading machines instead of top-loaders, as they save up to 7,000 gallons of water per year. That’s more than half the amount of water a person drinks in their lifetime!
Tip: Use cold water to save even more energy.
3. Switch up your detergent
Switching your detergent is a great way to reduce chemical residue in your clothes, extending their lifespan. Look for detergents which are biodegradable and free from phosphates. Additionally, soap nuts are a great option as they can be composted after their use.
Vinegar is great in the kitchen, and for your laundry. A cup of vinegar in the wash can replace fabric softeners, as it naturally balances the pH of the soap, making sure your clothes come out soft and chemical residue free.
4. Stick to line-drying
Dryers are the 2nd most energy consuming electrical appliance in your home, after your fridge. Traditional line-drying saves all that energy, as well as reduces the need to iron, as the water in the clothes will pull the fabric down to remove the wrinkles as it dries. If you must use the dryer, clean out the lint in the machine regularly for shorter drying cycles.
Being sustainable does not end with buying sustainable, but starts after you make the decision to be conscious of the environment. Simple tasks such as switching from hot water to cold water in your laundry, or wearing your clothes more than three times before washing, make a huge difference in the long run. As we educate ourselves about our actions, from taking care of our belongings to influencing others to shift their mindsets towards sustainability, leading a green lifestyle becomes less daunting and more doable.
To make it easy, here’s an infographic to break it down:
We’d love to know if you tried any of these methods, leave a comment below and share your tips with us.