Laundry and pollution may seem unconnected but increasing plastic pollution in our oceans is partly down to using our washing machines. With each wash, tiny fragments - often no thicker than a human hair - break off our clothes, bedding and towels and make their way into the waterways.
Doing the laundry has other environmental implications, too, from the water and power used to the potentially harmful substances in some detergents. A more environmentally friendly approach to laundry is crucial for our health and the planet, so keep these tips in mind.
1. Push for microfibre filtration in all washing machines
There are several products designed to catch fibres that shed in the washing machine before they flow into the water system.
XFiltraTM is a cost-effective and highly efficient filtration system designed to be an integral part of any washing machine.
Here's a detailed assessment of XFiltra including the results of their in-house testing data.
Today, no washing machines are sold with filtration that can stop microfibres being released into wastewater. But demand and pressure for the technology is growing. In March 2020 Xeros joined forces with a major global manufacturer of laundry solutions with the aim of incorporating XFiltra in their range of commercial washing machines. And this year France became the first country in the world to pass laws requiring microfibre filtration in all household washing machines sold in the country by 2025.
It's important to note that all fabrics shed microfibres, including natural fabrics like cotton and linen. This means that commercial settings such as hotels and commercial laundries who wash mostly cotton towels and bedding are (often unknowingly) contributing to the global microfibre problem.
2. Use cold water whenever possible
Most of us still wash our laundry in warm water. It’s a practice that’s as costly as it is environmentally unfriendly. What’s more, it doesn’t make our clothes cleaner.
For clothes which are only lightly soiled and stained, you can use a cold temperature wash without dramatically affecting the cleaning performance of your washing machine. The good news is that most modern detergents are still effective at lower temperatures such as 30°C.
Hot water washing uses a considerable amount of energy, much of which comes from the burning of fossil fuels. By lowering your wash temperatures on a regular basis you will save energy (and money) and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will protect the environment.
3. Only wash full loads
A washing machine that is under-loaded uses the same amount of water and energy as a fully loaded one.
If you only have a few items to clean, take time to adjust the settings to the smallest capacity possible. Selecting the right cycle for each load will save water and improve your cleaning results.
Unless you have a specific problem, skip the extra rinse cycle on your washer. If you are using the correct amount of detergent and loading the washer properly, you don’t need it.
Another water saving strategy is to pre-treat stains correctly to avoid having to rewash clothing.
4. Upgrade to low-water washing machines
With Hydrofinity near-waterless laundry systems, you save water, energy and detergent on every load. You can reduce energy usage by up to 50%, and water usage by up to 80%.
Get in touch with our team to learn more and join the sustainable laundry revolution.