Loads of fun – Kempii

Loads of fun


We all love the smell of fresh clothes – especially when someone else cleaned them. But it turns out some of our laundry habits are contributing to an alarming environmental impact:

According to a recent University of Minnesota study, 83% of the world’s tap water is now contaminated with microscopic plastic particles.

Scientists, including the UK's Chief Medical Officer, are scrambling to figure out the human health impact of ingesting microplastics. Could it cause cancer or other diseases? Infertility?  Will we all turn into plastic lego figures? It could take decades of studies to know. Let’s not wait around to find out. 

Washing synthetic textiles (like polyester, nylon or acrylic) sends tiny plastic fibres into wastewater – up to 700,000 per cycle. Too small to be captured by wastewater plants, they eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and our oceans. The best way to avoid this is wearing natural fibres – like cotton, wool, linen or bamboo. But if you really can’t part with your comfy yoga pants or snuggly polar fleece, consider a guppyfriend washing bag to trap the plastic fibres.


ABOVE: GUPPYFRIEND was developed by two German surfing buddies, with support from kickstarter and Patagonia 

Synthetic textile fibres are not the only cause of microplastic pollution. Another source is the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste - bags, bottles, takeaway containers, forks, toothbrushes – ending up in our waterways each year, and breaking down into smaller particles. There’s no reason to use plastic detergent bottles when there are so many better alternatives:

Ditch the detergents altogether and try natural surfactants like soap nuts. 

Above: Laundry detergent that grows in trees! Try washing your clothes with soap nuts.

Search online for washing powder recipes made from natural ingredients like borax, castile soap bars, bicarbonate of soda – which can be bought in bulk in cardboard packaging. Use white vinegar or soak in soda crystals for tough stains (scroll down to our laundry cheat sheet).

Too busy to DIY? There are bulk stores constantly popping up in the UK who offer cleaning liquid refills. Another great alternative is Splosh – an online shop that sends you refills that fit neatly in your letterbox, which can be mixed with tap water at home. That makes a LOT more sense than shipping bottles of 80-90% water across the world.


Above: Splosh refills have totally reinvented the business model for cleaning products 


One final word - the best way to reduce laundry waste is simply to wash your clothes less frequently. Let's be really clear here - we're not recommending any 4 day 'flip-em-over' dirty underwear tricks. But at the end of a long day, we tend to be in auto-pilot mode when we pull off our clothes and throw them in the laundry basket. You might be able to get a couple more wears from those jeans (Tommy Hilfiger actually never washes his jeans) or deal with that stain with a spot treatment. And that means laundry day might come around a little less often!


Laundry Cheat Sheet

Laundry Powder

1 cup Bicarbonate of Soda (bulk bins/paper)

1 cup Washing Soda (bulk bins/paper)

1 bar Pure Castile Soap (grated)

Several drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)


Underarm marks (from perspiration)


Soak clothing in diluted vinegar before washing it in the usual way. Alternatively, soak the underarm area in white vinegar until saturated then wash as usual. It will remove any odours as well. Use a dilution of 2 parts water to 1 part white vinegar.

Collars and Cuffs


Rub a thick paste of bicarb soda and vinegar on to the stains. Allow to sit for a few hours before washing clothes in the usual way.

Stain Remover


Soak clothing in full strength vinegar for stains caused by grass, coffee, tea, fruits and berries.

Prevent Colours Running


Use white vinegar if something looks like it will bleed. Pour about half a cup for a load of washing. Just remember to keep darks and lights and whites separate, as usual.

Remove stiffness from new jeans


Wash jeans that are stiff for the first time with 250mL of vinegar. Make sure to turn the jeans inside out first.

Prevent fading of coloured towels and quilts


Add 150mL of vinegar to the wash to prevent fading. You can soak handmade or delicate quilts and blankets in lots of cold water with 250mL of vinegar the first time you wash them.

Avoiding shiny marks when ironing


Mix half vinegar and half water and put into a spritzer bottle. Use the spray when ironing to help remove iron-made creases or shiny areas in the fabric.

Remove grease from suede


Use a toothbrush which has been dipped in vinegar and gently brush over the grease spot.

Deodorise a wool sweater


Wash the sweater, then rinse in equal parts of vinegar and water to remove odours.


*Based on 7 washes a week and 18 wash bottles


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