Are you making environmentally-friendly choices in your closet? If you’re buying clothing made from fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo then you’re on the right track to building a greener wardrobe. But, there’s more to being green that what you can buy in a store. Being an eco-fashionista also means establishing a green routine for your laundry.
All to often, clothing that is fine in most respects is discarded. The top preventable reasons for tossing out clothes are:
- because its color has faded;
- it’s missing a button;
- or the zipper broke.
You can stop the early demise of textiles and go green with a few simple laundry tips! In many cases, all it takes is reading the clothing label to learn how to properly care for your clothes. Extend the life of your clothes with these …
Green Laundry Tips
Keep colors bright and fabric fresh, by always washing in cold water. Not only does cold water conserve more energy, but it’s fabric-friendly. Cold water and detergent cleans clothes and kills germs. Cold water cleans your clothes while preventing colors from bleeding. Warm or hot water will fade your clothes quicker, bleed colors, and cause the fabric to deteriorate. (PS: You do NOT need hot water to kill germs, that’s what soap is for. Hot water only kills germs if it reaches a boiling point, and that’s not gonna happen in your standard home washing machine.)
Save energy! Let the sun and wind dry your clothes on the clothesline. There’s a reason that we don’t put our “delicates” in the dryer, the blasting heat of the clothes dryer can really damage fabrics. What you may not know is that it’s not just damaging to fragile fabrics, it’s a harsh way to treat all your clothes. Passing up the dryer to go au natural can add years to the life of your wardrobe. sun and wind saves energy.
And, there’s a bonus. You know those commercials with the billowing white sheets blowing in the wind? Well, you don’t need fabric softener to get that “fresh air” scent, just hang your clothes outside to dry and you’ll be amazed at the results.
If you must dry heavy items like jeans, towels, or blankets in a clothes dryer, use a clean tennis ball or two to speed up the drying. The tennis balls will fluff the items, keeping larger items like blankets from knotting up into a ball, and will cause the items to dry faster.
Learn to do a Little Laundry Repair. Once your fabrics start lasting longer, you may find that you faded colors aren’t the only reason to discard clothing. But, instead of chucking that nearly new shirt because it got a rip at the seam, fix it. All you need is a needle and thread to patch it up in a jiffy. Most shirts come with extra buttons for the express purpose of replacing one should you lose it. Mending goes a long way to increasing the life of your clothing and reducing the wardrobe bill.
Throwing clothes in the landfill is an unfortunate waste. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep your clothes looking fresh with proper laundry care, learn to sew on a button and you’ll find that spending the extra cash for fair trade, organic cotton isn’t so expensive after all. If the t-shirt still fits, then wear it!