Much of the sustainable fashion conversation has been focused on what one should buy, but seldom do we talk about the importance— and practical steps— to prolong the lives of the things we already own.
This post is sponsored by EC30.
Garment care and cleaning play a key role in the carbon footprint of a piece, so here are five tips to make your laundry routine more sustainable.
1. Wash Less Often
Wait until you have full loads to wash your clothes to maximize the efficiency of the energy and resources required for a wash. Additionally, if it looks and smells clean, unlearn the notion that every garment needs to be washed after every single wear– particularly with apparel like jeans (like the Boyish Jeans I’m wearing here), which can range from 3 to 10 wears before wash.
2. Cold Water Wash
According to Energy Star, up to 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes to heating water! By choosing cold water settings as much as you can, you can slash your carbon emissions significantly.
3. Use A Sustainable Laundry Detergent
Even though you can wash less often, you will still eventually need to you’re your sustainable fashion pieces – like those from Boyish Jeans. When you do – it’s great if you can select a sustainable laundry detergent. Conventional detergents often contain synthetic chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, to environmental and health concerns. There are alternatives, however.
Take, for example, EC30: a carbon footprint-conscious detergent that helps reduce C02 emission vs liquids by using zero water, zero plastic packaging (and is also at-home compostable), and cutting out unnecessary chemicals. They use their Alpha Fiber form to reduce C02 emission per use by up to 50% vs regular cleaners. And for what they can’t reduce they replenish by planting trees and ensuring accredited carbon offsets through The Arbor Day Foundation.
4. Consider Drying Alternatives
According to an article in Grist, while manufacturers have boosted the efficiency of washing machines, refrigerators, and other appliances in recent decades, their enthusiasm for doing the same thing for dryers has been damp at best. Dryers remain so energy hungry that even a new one can consume as much electricity as an efficient new clothes washer, refrigerator, and dishwasher combined.
Line-dry clothes when you can– which will also help your clothes last longer, and help avoid the unfortunate shrinkage one may accidently do at some point (shout outs to my wool sweater which is now toddler sized, if that). If you have access to an outdoor space where you can line-dry, you can enjoy the benefits of the sun’s natural antimicrobial effects– as well as the cottagecore aesthetics associated with line-drying.
If you don’t have access to an outdoor space, you can hang your clothes near a heat source, such as a stove.
If you do use a dryer, consider dryer balls, which allow you to avoid the harmful chemicals often found in conventional dryer sheets– you can even add essential oils if you want to customize the scents in your garments.
5. Opt for Natural Fabrics
We can’t forget that clothing is a product of agriculture—unless it’s derived from synthetic materials, which are byproducts of the fossil fuel industry.
And when it comes to washing synthetic materials–like polyester fleece, acrylic, and nylon– thousands of microplastics release with each wash.
As a result, when shopping for clothes, opt for natural fabrics, like the Boyish Jeans I’m wearing that are made from organic cotton. If you already own synthetic pieces, opt for a Guppy Bag. While not a perfect solution, it does help reduce the amount of microplastic shedding that may enter rivers and oceans from washing.