Did you know that 75 – 80% of the carbon footprint for a piece of clothing comes from how it is taken care of? We hear a lot about how fast fashion is destroying the planet because of its massive carbon footprint (which is why here at Desiree we create slow fashion that is much kinder to the environment) but we hardly ever hear about how every single person can help the situation by purchasing slow fashion AND taking care of the clothing in a more environmentally friendly way.
Buying beautiful designer clothing can be an investment so it pays to take proper care of your clothing as they will last longer and have less effect on the environment. We are trying to provide our customers with a beautiful product that has minimal effect on the environment but we can only do 20% of it, the rest of it is up to you.
Now don’t worry, I’m not getting all hippy and flower power on you, it really isn’t much of a change. In fact the changes to be made are actually ones that will save you time, money and will feel quite liberating. I mean who doesn’t want a good reason to do less laundry??
1. Avoid using the dryer
We have a Samsung washer dryer combo which means I can put a dirty load of washing in and take it out clean and dry. It is a great function, but honestly I can’t remember the last time I used it.
Avoid using the dryer where possible, at this time of the year it is pretty easy to do. Long live Summer! It make drying clothes much easier.
So why avoid using the dryer? Two very good reasons. One it costs you money and uses lots of energy. Ditching the dryer will mean more money in your pocket and using less energy is always good for the environment. Secondly, the dryer can be really harsh on clothes. The heat increases shrinkage, fades colours faster and can affect the quality of the fabrics.
Obviously this is easy in Summer and much harder in Winter. At our place we have 3 clothes horses and a line outside so that in Winter I have plenty of space to dry them inside and on sunny days I can do heaps of loads at the same time and make the most of the sunshine.
2. Baking Soda
Is there anything baking soda can’t do??? My dog has hayfever and so I give her baking soda baths to help reduce the itchiness and clean off any pollen, I also use it with vinegar to clean my oven so I am not sure why it is only recently that I found out about using it in the laundry.
For your clothes washing, add a bit of baking soda in with the detergent and it helps clean it, deodorise the clothes and brightens up the colours. How great is that? I think I need to buy baking soda in bulk and just use it for everything….
3. Turn your clothing inside out
Now this one may sounds familiar coming from me and thats because not only is environmentally friendly but it increases the life span of your clothes which you may remember from this blog article.
Washing everything inside out helps keep the outside of your clothing, the part you see, newer and helps reduce fading and the fabric wearing out. It is also is better at washing the part of your clothing that is closest to your body and therefore helps reduce odours.
Growing up I remember my Mum always complaining that we wouldn’t turn our clothes in the right way before putting them in the wash, I don’t have to complain to my kids about that at all because now I know it is better for the clothes.
4. Cold Wash
Did you know that 90% of a washing machines power usage comes from heating the water? that leaves only 10% to power the motor and actually wash the clothes.
That is a lot of power savings to be made without having to sacrifice. Using the cold wash function will save you money, its better for the environment and it means your clothes are less likely to fade or bleed colours into each other.
5. Eco-friendly laundry soap
This is probably the only tip I have for you that might cost you, but if you are doing all the other things then the savings from those will far outweigh the cost of eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Look for one that is made from natural ingredients and is biodegradable. They still wash really well but they don’t harm our ocean once they are washed out to sea. You’ll find a couple of my favourites at the supermarket and they are quite often on special.
Earthwise, Ecostore and Eco Planet are my favourites and I love getting the liquid version rather than the powder. It tends to be less messy and I never have to worry about having undissolved powder left on my clothes.
6. Do full loads
In our house there is always a lot of washing, it truly is the adults never-ending story! So I love this tip. Do a full load, quite full. Honestly I cram in as much as I can whilst still making sure it can spin and has a tiny bit of room left. Why is this eco friendly?
It takes the same amount of energy and water to power the washing machine no matter how much is in there, so more clothes in a load means less loads to do. On top of that, when the washing machine is full there is less friction between the clothes.
Why does friction matter? Two great reasons. The friction during washing causes small microfibres to come off the clothing and go into the water. Over time this leads to your clothes thinning our and eventually getting holes. It also means that those microfibres end up in our oceans and affect the sea life.
As you can see, these are all pretty easy ways to make a difference.
I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel like being eco-friendly can be such a difficult thing to do, everything we do can be done differently to have less of a footprint. It can be a little overwhelming at times so I try to focus on the smaller things I can do that still make a difference.
I am in awe when I see these stories of people who have one tiny jar of rubbish after a whole year. That is not me! I would love to get to that point one day but for now it is all about simple baby steps.
This article originally appeared on Desiree Clothing’s blog and is reproduced with permission from author Desiree Turner.
Images by Desiree Turner.