How to make your laundry routine more sustainable

Not only is washing your clothes in a good way beneficial to the clothes, but also to the planet! How we wash our clothes is the biggest difference in the impact we can do after we buy a product (except for keeping and wearing them longer). Taking care of your clothes in the best way possible means they last longer, and that means less need for buying new clothes and less clothes being sent off to landfill.

If you are like me, you have experienced what it feels like to take that cute white top out of the washing machine, only to realize it has become pink. Or realized that wool sweater you thought would be okay machine washing come out with holes in it. Well, no more!

Sometimes what is best for the garment can be the opposite of an eco-friendly laundry practice. That is the case for many delicate fabrics that might require dry cleaning (which uses heavy chemicals), but most of the time the two combine pretty well. So keep on reading for the tips and tricks of a sustainable laundry routine!

Wash less

This is the first rule in the book. Most of us are washing just out of habit instead of assessing whether the item actually needs to be cleaned. If it doesn’t smell or is dirty, it’s fine for another wear (underpants not included). If there is just the odd stain but otherwise fine you should just spot clean it. If you want to freshen up the garment between washes either air them or spritz them with a clothing mist.

Wash in lower temps

If washing less is rule number one, decreasing the temperature is number two. Not only is this kinder to your clothes, but it also requires less energy as the water doesn’t need to be heated up as much. And you don’t have to worry, most detergents today work in low temperatures so make 30 degrees your new standard!

Air dry

Tumble drying less and air drying more means less strain on the clothes and less energy used. Some items are best dried hanging and some laying flat. This is sometimes indicated on the label, but as a general rule, don’t hang knits. For delicate items like silk and wool you can lay them flat of a clean towel, then carefully roll it up to push out any excess water.

Fill it up

Fill up the washing machine as this saves on water and washes. Don’t wash only one pair of pants, but also don’t overload the washer. The clothes need to be able to circulate!

Wash similar colors

This might seem like an obvious thing to many, but after 8+ years of communal laundry rooms I can tell you that it is not. Or maybe it is obvious and people just don’t care enough. Either way, I advice you to not mix colors. You risk ending up with clothes coming out in a different shade or color and if that is not your intent, it’s not going to be fun.

Use laundry bags for delicates

Delicate items should always be in a laundry bag to protect them from ripping och tearing. I use laundry bags for any bras, for knits and silks (if I machine wash them). Many delicate natural fabrics can actually be washed by machine if you have a delicate or hand wash program, but it’s best to still put it in a bag first!

Use a Guppyfriend bag for synthetics

You might have heard that synthetic fabrics release micro-plastics when washed. Instead of throwing out all you polyester dresses (we don’t need more clothes in landfill!!) get yourself a Guppyfriend bag!

It’s a laundry bag that collects all the micro-plastics so you can throw them in the trash instead of them spilling out into the ocean.

Use an eco-friendly detergent

Also, be mindful that you might need a special detergent for more delicate items made of wool and silk. No matter if you wash them by hand or machine

Skip the softener

Softeners are not great for the fabric. In some fabrics it can even interfere with the properties of the fabric (like for workout clothes!). Both our health and the planet, especially the marine life, risks reacting negatively to fabric softeners, so it’s best to just skip it. White vinegar is often used instead of softener if you are looking for a replacement.

Do you have any more tips to add to the list?

5 Common Struggles with Sustainable Fashion

amanda-vick-1398186-unsplash

Understanding that fast fashion is not sustainable is easy. Knowing how and where to find better alternatives is slightly harder. Even when you start looking into the subject there are a few common problems that might arise.

Style

Are oversized hemp pants and batik tunics the picture that comes to mind when you think of sustainable fashion? Sure, there are loads of that out there but today there are alternatives available that offer a wider range of styles.

Finding sustainable clothes that fit your personal style can be hard. You’ve probably spent years cultivating your style and finding stores that correspond to this. You probably know where to go if you want a good white tee and where to go for a party dress. So when you start looking for sustainable options you might find yourself back at zero, having to go through the process of finding your sustainable favorites.

So how can you make the process of finding your sustainable style a bit easier? Firstly, find sustainable influencers whose style you like. They will surely be sharing their favorite brands on their channels so be there and snap it up. Additionally, you could start following your favorite brands on resale apps. It’s still possible to shop your favorite high street favorites, as long as you purchase them second hand. By shopping second hand you save clothes from going to landfills, as well as avoiding using new resources.

Size

Finding clothes that fit is hard enough, to begin with, but if you are plus size the selection of sustainable brands that cater to you will be very slim. Many sustainable brands start very small, meaning only size S-L which leaves most women out. There are however brands that are working hard on being size-inclusive, so don’t think that you have to skip sustainable fashion because of your size!

Some great resources for finding size-inclusive brands:

Marielle Elizabeth’s full list of plus size sustainable brands

The Good Trade’s list of 15 plus-size brands

Ecocult’s list of size-inclusive ethical and sustainable brands

Price

The price point is definitely higher for sustainable fashion than for fast fashion. This is because better materials cost more, and so does paying a fairer wage for workers.

The best ways to get around the price issue is to rethink how you value and spend money. From fast fashion, we have gotten the view that clothes are cheap and disposable and that it’s okay if a shirt breaks after 4 wears because it only cost us 4€. But the resources behind that shirt was way more expensive than those 4€ and we should strive to extend the life of our garments. So instead of buying five 4€ shirts that last us a total of 20 wears, we should instead invest those 20€ in one shirt that will last us 20+ times. Investing in quality rather than quantity.

Shopping second hand is also a great solution for an affordable and sustainable closet. The prices are cheaper and allow you to stretch your money further than buying new. There are no new resources being used for second-hand items and at the same time, you might be saving an item from ending up in the landfill. Pretty neat, huh?

Accessibility

If you don’t live in a bigger city, chances are there are no physical stores near you that sell sustainable fashion. Thankfully today there are loads of brands that are available for you to shop online!

One issue with shopping online is finding the right size and fit, so to avoid sizing issues, invest in measuring tape to make sure you order the right size. Also, don’t be afraid to contact the shops or brands for sizing help, they want you to find the best fit as well. There is the problem with shipping when shopping online. And while it might feel like a big issue, shipping usually has a small impact on the lifecycle of a garment.

If you don’t feel like shopping online, it’s wise to go for smaller local businesses that produce quality products that will last. Investing in smaller businesses keeps your money from the big corporations, destroying the planet with unethical practices, and benefits the local area.

Knowledge

Knowing which materials, brands or certifications are best takes time and lots of research. Even researchers seem to be unable to say what’s the best choice (except maybe less consumption of newly produced products, I think that one is pretty clear), so how is it possible for us consumers to know?

Once again, I would champion finding stores, influencers, and brands that you can trust and follow their lead. Unless you want to do all the work yourself. Just spending a little time reading up on which fabrics are most eco-friendly can make shopping feel easier. And never feel bad for making a decision based on what you thought was the best at the time. Choose progress over perfection and be kind to yourself.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

5 common struggles with sustainable fashion

October Challenge: Slow Fashion

October Challenge: Slow Fashion

October month will be all about slow fashion and sustainable fashion here on the blog. I will share my best tips on how to build a more long-lasting closet and how to slow down your fashion cycle, as well as which materials are the most sustainable and how you properly take care of your clothes.

There are so many ways you can be mindful with your closet, but it can be a jungle of information and certifications and whatnot for the normal consumer. It’s hard to be a conscious consumer and most companies are not making it any easier. Hopefully, governments will take the responsibility off of the consumers’ shoulders in the future by implementing stricter environmental and labor laws and be tougher on companies that greenwash, but until then it is free for companies to do as they please. So the only way to get around it, for now, is to do your research, and hope to be of help there!

So what will I practically do this month?

  • Obviously not buy anything since I’m on a shopping ban (this is probably the most efficient way of slowing down your closet!)
  • Mend any items that need mending (even though I think my mom recently fixed most of mine)
  • Fix any garments that aren’t working (like cropping pants that are too long or tailoring things that don’t fit well)
  • Sell any items not being used enough (because why should they take up space in my closet and mind?)
  • Do a care day for garments (get rid of any lint or spots on my garments, take care of my leather bags and shoes)

Do you have any questions or problems on the topic of slow or sustainable fashion you would like me to bring up this month?

Slow fashion challenge