How we wash and care for our clothes has an impact on both the environment and how long our clothes will last.

Simple changes to the way we do our laundry can have a positive impact.

Does it really need washing?

It may be tempting to throw things in the laundry basket, but it’s worth considering if your clothes are actually dirty. As well as cutting down on energy consumption and detergents, reducing the number of times an item is washed can help keep it in good condition and make it last longer. Consider airing as a simple way to refresh garments, or spot cleaning for small marks.

Reduce the temperature

Most clothes will wash well at 30 degrees. Turning down the heat setting reduces the cost and saves on CO2 emissions.

An 8kg load of washing will result in approx 590g of CO2e if washed at 60 degrees, but only 330g of CO2e if the same load is washed at 30 degrees.

Mike Burners Lee as quoted in Ethical Consumer Magazine issue 191

Choose your detergent carefully

There are a whole range of eco friendly detergents on the market. These are some things to consider when deciding which to buy :

We’re aware that some ecofriendly options can be quite expensive. We’ve recently started stocking the EcoEgg in our Paisley High Street Shop, which we think offers really good value for money along with excellent eco-credentials. It contains no harmful chemicals, is kind to your skin and cleans clothes at a low temperature. The “egg” contains natural mineral pellets which replace detergent and softener, and which last for between 60 – 70 washes. You only need to buy the egg once. Pellets are available to purchase as a refill, which helps to reduce packaging waste.

Line dry

Though not possible every day in Scotland, drying your clothes outside is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly option. A tumble drier is more expensive and also, over time, will damage your clothes. If you are drying clothes inside aim to invest in as large a clothes airer as you have space for, to allow plenty of space around damp clothes – this will help things to dry more quickly. Always hang clothes to dry in a well ventilated room.

Learn to care for your clothes

Some simple habits can help to keep your clothes in good condition.

For more great ideas to help care for special fabrics and garments such as lace, beaded garments, woollens, silks and velvet, and how to deal with stubborn stains head to the Love Your Clothes website.

What do to with stains that can’t be shifted

Nothing lasts for ever. Watch out for our upcoming blogs on how to upcycle stained and faded clothing and turn them back into garments you’ll love to wear.

1 Ecover and Method are owned by multinational company SC Johnson. SC Johnson continue to use triclosan, phthalates and parabens in some of their branded products and the company has failed to set any targets for reducing its environmental impact. SC Johnson are donors to the US Republican Party. Source : The Ethical Consumer.