We all know the damaging effects of microfibers (plastics in our clothes). If you couldn’t bear the thought of parting with your favourite blouse, the good news is you don’t have to. Nevertheless, you might have to come up with a solution when it comes to washing. Microfibre pollution in on our water system is becoming more apparent; recent studies have identified that microplastics are creeping into everything we consume; they’re found in 80% of our drinking water as well as in the food we eat, especially seafood.
What are microfibres?
The majority of our clothes are made from synthetic fibres like nylon, acrylic and polyester. Every time you wash these synthetic fabrics, microfibres are released into the water; one load of washing produces around 200,000 microfibres. They’re thinner than a strand of silk so they don’t get filtered and more often than not they end up as pollution in our waterways and oceans and on our beaches.
So, what’s the solution? The simple solution is washing only natural fabrics like bamboo and cotton. However, that’s not an option for many of us who have a wardrobe full of clothing made from synthetic fibres.
If you think it all sounds “too hard basket”, we’ve got some top tips that might help you get a handle on it and reduce your impact.
Here’s what you can do to reduce microfibre pollution:
Use a guppy friend when you wash
Above: Do your laundry with a clean conscience and get the guppyfriend washing bag
A guppy friend is a cute name for a microfibre laundry bag; the bag captures around 99% of microfibres released in the washing process.
Wash less frequently
Washing synthetic fabrics less frequently and for a shorter time will reduce your impact significantly.
Avoid the tumble dryer
Friction releases microfibres, so avoid the tumble dryer; it not only prevents microfibres going down the drain, but also saves electricity too. It’s a win, win.
Wash in cold water
A higher temperature is more likely to damage clothes and therefore release more microfibres.
Wash a full load every time
Washing a full load means less friction between the clothes, and less microfibres being released.
Switch to a liquid laundry soap
Laundry powder “scrubs” fabric and loosens more microfibres.
Dry spin clothes at lower revs
Higher revolutions increase the friction between the clothes and release more microfibres.
Use a cora ball when you wash
A cora ball is a microfibre-catching laundry ball designed to collect microfibres (and hair) when you wash, keeping those nasties out of our waterways.
Buy a washing machine lint filter
While these filters may be more costly, they will benefit the environment.
Buy clothes made from natural fibres only
Cotton, linen, wool and bamboo are natural fibres that not only look good, they’re beneficial for the environment; they will eventually break down unlike plastic microfibres.
Avoid purchasing fast fashion
Cheap, fast fashion items are most likely made from synthetic fibres so avoid them where possible; natural fibres tend to be more expensive but will last longer and are better for the planet.
Plastic microfibre pollution in our oceans is more prevalent now than ever before, so do your bit for the planet and use these top tips to reduce your impact.