Ever heard of microplastics? They're those pesky, itty-bitty bits of plastic that cause a whole bunch of trouble. These tiny pieces break off from various materials, sneak into our waterways, and wreak havoc on ecosystems and aquatic life. The worst part? They're a real pain to filter out at wastewater treatment plants.
Guess what's a major contributor to this microplastic mess? Yep, you got it—synthetic clothing and materials, and where do we find those most often? In our outdoor gear and clothing. Surprise, surprise, we're part of the problem.
But fear not! We can also be part of the solution. Turns out, a big chunk of those microplastics originate from our synthetic outdoor wear, shedding tiny fibers in our washing machines. The good news is that we can take action to minimize and corral those broken fibers right at the source. Curious how? Let Baleaf spill the beans on how to wash synthetic fabrics in an eco-friendly way.
What Clothes Use Synthetic Fabrics
Let's clear the air first. Escaping synthetic fabrics in the great outdoors is a bit of a mission impossible. While cotton, hemp, bamboo, and lyocell are fantastic for your everyday adventures, when it comes to extreme conditions where staying dry and warm can be a life-changer, synthetics take the lead. With their moisture-wicking properties, they dry in a flash and keep you toasty, even when things get wet. Now, wool can pull off similar feats, but the sustainability and animal-friendly factor? Not so much.
Good news: synthetic fabrics are stepping up their game. Many are rocking recycled materials, like recycled polyester (rPET) and nylon, and some are even recyclable or biodegradable—score!
But, and there's always a but, microplastics are still hanging around. So since synthetics are like that necessary sidekick, let's at least learn how to show them some TLC. It's all about giving them the proper care, so they not only stick around longer but also refrain from sprinkling microplastics like confetti in the wash.
How to Wash Synthetic Fabrics
On the quest to amp up your eco-friendliness in your day-to-day? Kudos to you! Small tweaks in your daily routine can work wonders and make a lasting impact. Yet, sometimes figuring out the best way to be green without ditching our modern conveniences is like navigating a maze.
Amid all our time-saving gadgets, it's easy to overlook the environmental footprint of our usual routines. So if you're up for making your laundry room a hub of green goodness, we have your back with these eco-friendly ways to wash clothes.
Always read the care instructions on clothes.
Always check the labels. Getting to know the materials is like unlocking the secret code to proper care. Before you snag something new or toss it in the wash, take a peek at those labels. It's not just about being mindful of your choices and investing in quality, but it's also the key to avoiding accidental damage or unexpected shrinkage. Happy label reading!
Do less washing.
The golden rule for taking care of your clothes sustainably is a simple one: wash them less. Yep, it's true—frequent washing can wear out your favorite pieces over time.
We get it. The urge to toss something in the laundry basket after wearing it once is real, but unless it's underwear or a seriously sweaty tee, give it a second (or third) round before hitting the spin cycle. Your clothes will thank you with longer-lasting fibers and colors.
Use cold water when washing.
Skip the high temperatures. Washing in warm water can be tough on clothes, causing shrinkage, fading, and saying goodbye to those precious microfibers. Heating water gobbles up a whopping 90% of your washing machine's energy.
Going for a cold wash not only keeps your clothes in tip-top shape but also seriously slashes your energy consumption. Your clothes will still come out sparkling clean. Back in the day, warm water was the go-to for activating detergents, but these modern soaps work their magic just as well in a chilly cycle.
Use microplastic laundry bags.
Of course, it's best to snag clothes made from organic natural fiber. They're super eco-friendly and sustainable. But, if you've got sportswear or swim gear rocking synthetic fibers like recycled polyester or nylon, toss them into a laundry bag. It's like a superhero cape for your clothes, catching those microplastics and keeping them from doing a deep-sea dive in our oceans.
Reduce the water's spin cycle in your washer.
When a lot of spinning happens during the spin cycle, there's shedding. The spin cycle's job is to wring out the excess water from your clothes. Since synthetic fabrics dry in a jiffy, consider dialing down the RPMs (rotations per minute) or even giving the spin cycle a skip altogether. Your clothes will still dry just fine, minus the extra shedding dance.
Wash in full loads.
Go for full loads when washing synthetic fabrics. It's not just about avoiding the banging and friction that leads to more pesky microfibers, but it's also a win for saving water, energy, and your hard-earned cash. Now, when we say full load, we don't mean cramming it to the max. Most front loaders do their magic when the drum is around 3/4 full. So load 'em up for efficiency.
Use eco-friendly detergents.
Switch to eco-friendly detergents. If you can't find any, choose the best detergent for synthetic fabrics that has less chemical nasties. They not only keep your clothes in top-notch shape but also protect your skin and our precious oceans.
Regular detergents often sneak in microplastics and nasty toxins, hitching a ride from your washing machine to the sea, and posing a threat to marine life. Fabric softeners are not the heroes we thought. They can trap odors and pack some skin-irritating chemicals. Go for natural soaps and give those fabric softeners a rain check.
Skip the dryer and air-dry clothes instead.
Ah, that sweet scent of air-dried laundry is unbeatable! It's not just a treat for your nose. It's a win for your clothes and the planet, too. Tumble dryers can be energy hogs and a bit tough on certain fabrics, much like high-temperature washes. Give your freshly washed clothes a good shake and let them air dry.
Hang 'em outside on a clothesline, set up a clothes rack, or let them chill on hangers. Just a heads up, though—check those labels for any special drying instructions, like laying out your cozy wool jumpers flat. Happy drying!
#wemovetogether to a More Sustainable Lifestyle
Embarking on these eco-friendly laundry tips, when washing synthetics, might have its challenges, but it's a fantastic beginning—choose mindful brands, organize loads wisely, and even repurpose water to not only help the environment but also cultivate enriching habits in your life.