More than ever before, we are now constantly informed about the reality of the fashion industry; its impacts on the environment and to the people involved in the fashion supply chain. Encouraging us to choose and purchase consciously, whilst questioning more about the journey behind our clothes. Nonetheless, we need to look at our daily lifestyle and see where we can implement sustainable methods when handling our clothes.
It can be noted that as much as 80% of energy consumption of a garments lifecycle is when in consumer use; everyday washing, drying and ironing. We as consumers have a responsibility to prevent a negative impact on the natural environment, and thus by handling our clothes sustainably will greatly reduce the various environmental impacts.
Increased marketing for cleanliness and laundry products has escalated consumer’s perception to feel the need to launder more often. We are made to think that we need to constantly wash clothes regularly. However, we are not told about the destructive environmental effect this causes. Due to increased amount of water and energy consumption, it leads to harmful chemicals releasing toxins.
When, in fact, we do not need to excessively wash our clothes as often as we do. Outerwear and clothes with furthest contact from the skin can be washed less often, unless, obviously if it is required due to dirt and odours. However, regularly wash clothing items that have a close contact to the skin.
Here are some tips in how to wash your clothes consciously; ensure a full load when using the washing machine, if you only have a few items to be washed, try hand washing. Next time you purchase washing detergents, choose eco-friendly washing detergents, which are often plant based without synthetic chemicals. When using a washing machine, unless absolutely required, wash with cooler water temperatures, resulting in low energy consumption and low energy cost. Most definitely avoid using a tumble drier due to its high-energy consumption, allow your clothes to dry naturally on a clothesline.
Before washing and ironing your clothes check the care label sewn inside, often on the left side. It’s there for a reason, use it and you’ll be able to launder your clothes properly. When ironing, consider the fabrics and the iron temperature. If ironing silk or delicate fabrics, use a low iron temperature or put a cloth between the fabric and iron. This way you can iron out the creases without burning the fabric.
A great outcome when handling clothing and home textiles sustainably is that you are reducing your negative impact towards the environment. By limiting your use of energy and water consumption, you are also saving up on your energy and water bills! It’s a win-win outcome. By starting to embed a few sustainable changes into your daily lifestyle, you are becoming a conscious consumer.