Coming Soon - Pre Fall 2024

The Ethical Care & Cleaning of Clothes

 

 

The care and cleaning of our clothes account for nearly 25-30% of each garment’s carbon footprint. (The other most significant contributor is the actual creation of the material itself — more on that later). Carbon emissions could be reduced by over 200 million tons if we all made three changes: skip one in six wash loads (clothes don't need to be washed as much as we think they do); wash clothes at tap or cool temperatures (detergents work just as well with tap water as they do with warm water); air dry the majority of your clothes.  


Here are our best tips for caring for your garments in a more environmentally friendly way.

Think twice about washing. Each wash shortens the life of a garment, and many items can be worn multiple times before washing is necessary. Less washing means clothes suffer less wear and tear, and you save water and energy.

Think twice about dry cleaning, too. Traditional dry cleaning means soaking clothes in a petroleum-based solvent called Perchloroethylene (“PERC”) that’s highly toxic to human health and to the environment. If it’s necessary to dry clean, choose a dry cleaner that uses environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions. Bring your own reusable bag and return your hangers to reduce your impact. (Know, too, that a lot of clothing is labeled “dry clean only” when you can actually hand wash it; test a small area with a mild detergent).

 

If you must wash, employ these tips:

1. First, sort clothes and check the care labels. Synthetic fabrics shed microplastics with every wash, so clean them less frequently.  Use a Guppyfriend Washing Bag or a Cora Ball to capture the microplastics from your synthetics.

2. For more fragile fabrics like silk and linen, wash on a delicate cycle.

3. Wash with cold water on shorter cycles to save energy. Washing clothes on a hot cycle used 75% more energy than cold water—plus, hot water is more likely to break down dyes and cause shrinkage. 

4. Wash clothing, especially jeans, inside out to keep color from fading.

5. Use earth-friendly detergents made without harmful petrochemicals (petroleum-derived), and switch to laundry products and cleaning solutions with minimal packaging. We love all Blueland products, especially their Oxi Laundry detergent.

6. Use less detergent. Use half the prescribed amount with ½ cup of baking soda to get clothes just as clean.

7. Instead of chlorine bleach, add one half-cup of vinegar to the final rinse. Vinegar is a natural brightener that won’t wear out the fibers of your clothing. For whites, we are also obsessed with Corinna and Theresa Williams’ brand Celsious and their Supersalt.

8. Drip dry. Hang clothes to dry outdoors on a clothing line or on a drying rack in the bathtub. You save energy and money, and your clothes suffer less wear and tear from the dryer. 

9. If you are using a dryer, avoid dryer sheets, which can be full of chemicals such as toluene styrene.