Consider other options aside from washing clothes. Sometimes it’s enough to air them out or better still, steam them. When you do wash, do full loads or use a machine with a modern laundry technology that can adjust the cycle with the weight of the load.
¼ of the carbon footprint of our clothes happens when you take care of them.
When we look at clothing overall, we consistently find the greatest environmental impact of a garment over its entire life is not in its production, transport or disposal, but in its use by the consumer – washing, drying and ironing.
So, how you care for our garments has a greater environmental effect than the actual production of them! Which means you have a great power on reducing it’s eco-footprint.
Today, the average household washes clothes as often as 3.2 times per week and all too often at a higher temperature than needed. Let’s re-learn how to wash clothes? If you want more information you can check here.
The temperature label is only the highest safe level for that particular fabric. With modern washing machines you can easily get your laundry clean at 20-30 degrees.
By doing so you save both the textile fibres and energy. For example, as much as 60 percent of the energy can be saved by going down from 40 to 30 degrees.
Dry cleaning involves chemicals that have a negative effect on textile fibers, the environment and your skin. What people might not know is that many of these clothes could have been washed in a regular machine with modern techniques, causing less stress on both our clothes and our planet.
Some pieces of clothing that are labeled with the 'ironing' recommendation do not need to be gummed. Instead of ironing, use the steam program of your laundry dryer to reduce the need for ironing or even use a steamer, it’s really practical and doesn’t wear out your clothes.
How to Take Care of your Clothes by Fiber:
Lyocell garments are generally very easy to care for.
Wash on 40º, do not bleach, can be dry cleaned, can be tumble dried on low heat.
When ironing be sure to iron on medium temperature on the wrong side of the fabric so it doesn’t get too shiny. Know more here.
Cotton is washable,dries slowly, can be tumble dried, can be ironed, not wrinkle resistant. Cotton items can be washed at 40°C for colored items.
Can be ironed on a high temperature, note that the garments should be damp. For knits it’s always better to dry flat.
Linen is washable, quick-drying, can be tumble dried, easily ironed, not wrinkle resistant.
Linen can be boiled up to 40°C, with lower temperatures for colored items 30°C.
Can be ironed on a high temperature, note that the garments should be damp.
Wool garments do not have to be washed between each wear, simply hang it out in fresh air or in a damp bathroom to remove any odors – wool is a natural fiber that clean itself to some extent.
Dripping wet wool garments should be dried flat to avoid stretching.
Wash with care; hand wash or machine wash in cold water or on a special wool program. Iron on medium heat with damp cloth on the garment.
Should not be dried in a tumble dryer, nor in direct sunlight, nor over direct heat.
Cupro can be machine washed, and where light colours can be washed on a normal, warm (not hot!) cycle, it’s better to stick to cold water when washing dark coloured Cupro fabrics.
Avoid drying Cupro in the tumble dryer: keeping the fabric crease free is much easier when line drying it using clothespins. When in knits flat dry.
When ironing be sure to iron on medium temperature on the wrong side of the fabric so it doesn’t get too shiny.
Sometimes we get tired of some clothes (it’s fine, we all do!) or the fitting is not right anymore, but the clothes are still great, so donate them!
Let someone use them a little longer, with that you are reducing it’s impact on the environment. You can join a Fashion Revolution trade event, trade with your friends, but there are also several organisations like Oxfam and Red Cross that actually have a positive impact instead of shipping the pieces to developing countries to sell them there (while destroying local clothing industry).
Learn how to mend your clothes, they were made with love to last a long time, if you had a accident and a thread was pulled or your garment has a hole, there’s no need to throw it in the trash.
Fashion Revolution often does some events to learn how to mend clothes, but there are also amazing tutorials online where you can learn how to mend your clothes in an invisible way!
Not good to mend nor to give away? It’s fine, sometimes we use our clothes until the end of their life, if only they could last forever right?
Sadly the recycling system for clothing is still undeveloped, so you can’t find solutions everywhere, Trait for example is a good association but there are severals and you can research for them. If you can’t find anyone near your place, well, you can still re-use the fabric, for cleaning cloths, or even doll dresses, the ideas are infinite and it’s always better than to throw it away!