5 clever laundry tips to care for your clothes and use less water
Once a week or only when you’re in the mood? How often do you load up the laundry? Washing clothes accounts for about 15% of water use in the home, with modern washing machines using around 50 litres of water per load, and did you know washing more often can wear our clothes out faster?
With 25% of our clothes' environmental impact coming from how we look after them, here are some tips to help you protect your clothes and protect the environment.
These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and how your actions add up.
1) Wash at 30, on gentler cycles
Washing at a cooler temperature can help your clothes last longer and save you money on electricity and heat, as well as reducing microfibre release. If you haven’t heard of microfibres, these are tiny strands of fabric that shed off of our clothes when we wash them. Because a lot of our clothes are synthetic this means that they contain plastic. This can lead to lots of tiny bits of plastic coming off our clothes and entering our waterways, rivers and oceans. To learn more about microfibres, head over to 'What's in My Wash?'
2) Air dry
Always let your clothes air dry when possible. Tumble dryers and the hot temperatures can make your clothes wear out faster, they add on to your energy bill, and are thought to increase shedding of microfibres.
3) Only wash when you really need to
Not only does washing your clothes less often extend the life of them, it saves microfibres releasing in the wash. If you can get another wear out of something, let it air out instead. Sometimes the lazy way is the best way. Make a habit of separating clean clothes from ‘worn once but fine to wear again’ clothing to avoid contamination.
When you do use the washing machine, remember to always fill it full which means filling about 3/4 of the drum. This makes the most of the water and energy and uses less of it than doing two half loads. Be careful not to fill it too much more than this though so you can make sure your clothes are cleaned properly.
4) Zip up and separate colours
Separate your colours, whites and delicates, zip up any zippers to avoid them causing snags on other fabrics, or try using a colour catcher to make it safer washing different colours in one go. If you are washing bras or other items with fish eye hooks, put them in netted wash bags to protect them from catching on anything and snagging the rest of the wash. Finally, turn jeans inside out as well as any screen printed items to avoid the prints fading prematurely.
5) Understand the washing symbols
Most clothes come with a washing label which gives us directions on how we should wash and dry our clothes, but from asking around not many people even look at the label, let alone know what they mean. Why does it matter, you ask? Washing clothes properly helps them keep their colour, stay in shape and generally look better for longer, meaning we can wear our favourite pieces again and again.
Want more on how to make your wardrobe work for you and the planet?
Tune into the new season of our podcast ‘Down to Earth’ to explore everything sustainable fashion in conversation with designers, experts and changemakers.
See Hubbub in action
From Community Fridges that cut food waste to Ballot Bins that halve cigarette litter, our campaigns show what taking action that's good for the environment looks like in practice.