Make it Last

Did you know that up to two-thirds of clothes’ carbon footprint occurs after you take it home ? That’s great news as this means that part of the nasty stuff in the fashion industry is in your hands to fix. Here are some easy ways to make a difference.

Photo credits: Olga de la Iglesia
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Only wash as needed

Not only will you save water and detergent, your clothes will last way longer. Next time you don’t do laundry in a while, you’re not being lazy you’re just being a super good person.

Skip the dryer

Line drying your clothes for just six months out of the year can eliminate up to 700 pounds of greenhouse gases annually. That’s the same energy as driving a Prius 1,800 miles, which is a super long road trip. Also hanging your clothes to dry looks super chic and Italian.

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Keep it cold

When you do the wash, set your washer to “cold” to save energy and help your clothes live a little longer (heat can break fibers down). Also, switching from hot water to cold or warm can help prevent 500 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year. That’s the same energy as a 30-minute blow dry twice a week for a year.

Spot cleaner

If it’s only dirty in one teeny place, exercise that spot cleaner.

Hand wash synthetics

The bad news is when you wash anything made from synthetics—even recycled stuff—tiny bits of plastic called microfibers are shed, which is leading to plastic pollution of our waterways. The good news is clothes will shed fewer microfibers if you gently hand wash them in cold water–including your swim! You can also use a GuppyFriend bag to capture microfibers when you hand or machine wash your stuff. 

  

 

Photo Credits: Olga de la Iglesia
Photo Credits: Olga de la Iglesia

Green dry cleaning

Some professional cleaners now offer green dry cleaning that use water as the primary solvent. This type of cleaning can substantially reduce toxicity and CO2 emissions associated with garment care.

The primary chemical solvent used in dry-cleaning, perchloroethylene (or perc), is a toxic chemical capable of causing liver damage and respiratory failure. Yikes. It can also lead to groundwater contamination and air pollution. So even if your cleaners advertises as “green” or “organic,” be sure to ask if they use perc, hydrocarbons, or D-5 cleaners, and be sure to avoid the toxic stuff. Just say no to perc. 

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