We all know that most washing powders will harm the environment and even the skin, but in fact, it is very important to create a more environmentally friendly washing habit. Fast fashion is one of the biggest sources of pollution. 39% of the environmental impact of a piece of clothing comes from washing, drying and consumer care
One of the best ways to have a positive environmental impact is to take better care of the clothing we own and that starts with wearing, repairing, and washing less.
Only wash your clothes only when they’re actually dirty – not after every wear. The average American runs anywhere from four to five loads a week, and that’s a lot of water to waste.
If your clothes have only been worn for one day, there is no sweat or stains, you can hang it up and let it dry overnight. Airing out clothes allows oxygen to surround the item which keeps fabric fresh and ready to be put back in a drawer or closet.In winter, big coats and thick sweaters do not need to be washed frequently.
It’s also important to note fabric. Synthetic fabrics hold on to scents longer and have to be washed more frequently unlike natural fibers like wool, merino, and linen which are naturally anitmicrobrial and antibacterial.
So, whether you’re looking for a new piece at a thrift store or a sustainable fashion brand – check out fabric composition!
Hang your clothes to dry:
The energy use of a dryer can vary between 1800 watts to 5000 watts, but a typical dryer uses about 3000 wats. By leaving your clothes out to dry not only are you saving all that energy from being wasted – you’re extending the life of your clothes!
Dryers are really harsh on clothing. Tumble drying can change the texture of your clothing, cause it to shrink, fade, and even lose strength.
Researchers washed and dried cotton towels for 20 cycles, and they lost 50% of their strength! After only 20 cycles, the fabric became twice as easy to tear! (source)
So washing less and air drying you can easily extend the life of your clothing!
Wash in cold water:
Most laundry detergents have specifically been formulated for washing in cold which is a great way to reduce your energy cost. It’s estimated 75 to 90 percent of all the energy your washer uses goes into just warming the water.
If all washes were done in cold water, the energy saved would be equivalent to the annual electricity use of 3.7 million American homes!
Ingredients to avoid in laundry detergent
No matter what kind of laundry detergent you get, there are a select few ingredients you should always stay away from. If you see these in a detergent – it’s a little red flag!
Here’s a list of ingredients you should avoid.
Phosphates: When these enter waterways they cause eutrophication, mineral poisoning that causes high die-off of marine animals.
Formaldehyde: This can increase your risk of cancer, and the EPA calls it a class B1 probable carcinogen that causes acute toxicity when it comes in contact with skin.
Dyes: These don’t add any cleaning power and are often a culprit of allergies and rashes – many are proven carcinogens and almost all are endocrine disruptors too.
Chlorine bleach: A lug and skin irritant that can cause blindness, burning of the eyes, respiratory failure and fluid in the lungs.
Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate: These can inflame skin,eyes and lungs.
Optical brighteners/ uv brighteners: These are eye, skin and lung irritants that are toxic to aquatic life, may spontaneously combust, and cannot be in the presence of static electricity (such as that from the clothes dryer).
Fragrance: Artificial fragrances can cause allergic reactions, chemical sensitivities, and even rashes.
Ammonium sulfate: This is a laundry additive is so toxic the requirements for use are to never allow the chemical or its empty containers to reach drains or waterways, all while being classified as a category 3 oral, respiratory and skin toxin.
Dioxane: Its liquid and fumes can spontaneously combust, it’s a known carcinogen, and it causes skin, eye and lung inflammation.
Nonylphenol ethoxylate: Leads to extreme aquatic toxicity. Prolonged exposure may cause cancer and reproductive disorders, in addition to damaging the eyes and skin.
Dichlorobenzene: This has an immediate, highly toxic effect on aquatic life that can continue poisoning waterways for years down the line. Can also irritate the nose and throat causing coughing and wheezing, along with headaches, dizziness and even vomiting.
Benzyl acetate: When inhaled or spilled on the skin, it’s harmful and attacks the nervous system as well as the kidneys.
Ammonium quaternary sanitizers: This ‘cleaning additive’ is known to be corrosive and can cause eye, lung and skin damage.
（Material comes from the Internet）
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