Green Garment Care 101
We hate to break it to you but….you may not be caring for your beloved garments the right way *gasp*. Laundry seems simple enough. Don’t mix your reds with your whites, avoid bleach from any non-white clothing, and don’t shrink your clothes in the dryer. Piece of cake, right? Maybe but somehow something seems to go a little a-wol in the process and you end up damaging the quality of your clothing. Often less is more, this seems to be a re-occuring trend with sustainability but it works and garment care is no exception.
Let’s start with the basics.
- Wash Cold: On average, 60% of Americans wash their clothing in warm water which is environmentally unfriendly and costly! By switching from warm & hot water to cold water you can save an average of $40-$60+ annually just by switching, the savings can be greater in areas with higher than average electricity rates (we’re talking about you LA). This is because 90% of energy exerted from doing laundry by machine comes from using warm/hot water. A single load of hot-watered laundry can emit up t0 75% of green-house gases into the atmosphere, not cool. Not only will the environment thank you by switching to cold water but so will your clothes. Caring for your garments with cold water preserves the color, this is why you will typically see that care labels recommend using cold water. Manufactures make this call because it is a safe pre-caution to keep the garment’s color and fit as the fibers in the fabric are less susceptible to breaking in colder temperatures. As a result, your clothing will have better longevity by preserving the quality.
- Hang Dry/Dry Flat: Opt for the natural way to dry your clothing. Much like hot water, the dryer exhausts a load of energy as well and let’s face it the dryer can be your clothing’s worst enemy sometimes if used carelessly, hence the mismatched socks and your sudden cropped jeans.
- Line drying your clothes actually has environmental benefits, like for one it can eliminate over 700 pounds of green-house gasses from the air annually. Sit back and let nature do the work for you. Now we know not everyone lives in California where it’s summer all year long but that doesn’t mean you’re out of eco-drying options. When the seasons don’t permit, flat dry your clothes instead. It’s easy you just lay your garments flat to dry (this is the optimal option for knits as line drying knit garments may cause them to grow). By skipping the dryer you save the nuisance of potentially shrinking your clothes in the dryer, flat drying and line drying are the safest routes for getting your garments dry without compromising their fit.
- Wash big loads at a time: A washing machine can use up to 40+ gallons of water to wash your clothes! Washing in bigger loads can significantly reduce the amount of water that is exhausted when you do several loads for every color and save you lots of time. Don’t fret over those minuscule stains here and there, a good spot cleaner can take care of those. If you’re a denim freak then it’s no secret that bagging your denim and tossing it in the freezer is a highly effective way of killing bacteria off your beloved jeans, especially selvedge denim.
- Green dry cleaning only: When taking your special garments to the dry cleaners opt for “green dry cleaning” where Perchloroethylene is not used as the primary solvent. Perchloroethylene is a toxic chemical that has been linked to liver damage and respiratory failure in humans and groundwater contamination and air pollution in the environment. Be sure to also avoid dry cleaners that use hydrocarbons and D-5 cleaners, these are all toxic chemicals not safe for humans, clothes or the earth! Seek “organic” and “natural” dry cleaning that uses water as their primary solvent. Water as a primary solvent is a highly effective cleaner for silks, leather, wool, linens, and suede.
- Recycle me: Breaking up with your clothes? Give them a new chance at love and recycle them. Sometimes its easier to just toss your pre-loved clothes in the trash but by recycling your clothing you significantly reduce the tons of waste that results from them in the landfills each year. 99% of all textiles in ranging conditions can be recycled or reused so there’s no reason not to donate, recycle or upcycle any clothing that does’t fit in your closet anymore. Click here to find how you can recycle the right and easiest way!
Knowing what ingredients that go into your laundry products that wash your clothes is just as important as knowing how to wash your clothes. We don’t mess when it comes to the toxic chemicals that can wreak serious havoc on your body so we rounded up 4 DIY recipes for laundry detergent, softener and bleach that skips all the toxicity and is just as effective as any commercial laundry products!
Recipe #1: Powder Laundry Detergent
1 1/2 cup of pure baking soda
1 1/2 cup of washing soda (plain – no additives)
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Epsom salt
2 tablespoons of salt
5 drops Purification Essential Oil
5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Liquid Laundry Detergent-Borax Free
1/2 cup of washing soda
1/2 cup baking soda
3/4 cup castile soap ( we recommend Dr. Bonners)
20-40 drops essential oil (we recommend lemon in combination with any other favorite scents)
2 gallons water
Recipe #2: Fabric Softener
1 cup of distilled water
1 Cup baking soda
2 cups of organic white vinegar
20-25 Drops of essential oils
Recipe#3: All-Natural Bleach
¾ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup organic lemon juice
10-15 drops lemon essential oil
¾ cup baking soda
7 cups water
*stir, mix, and blend all ingredients together and pour into labeled air-tight glass container with lid*
If you do your laundry by hand and skip the washing machines, check out these products that are non-toxic grey water havens that allow you to reuse the water from your laundry to be redistributed to water plants, soil, etc., without harming the environment.
Doing laundry does’t have to be such a chore. Create purpose in your garment care by taking the eco-friendly route. By making these simple switches you greatly reduce your carbon footprint on the earth, save time, energy and best of all save a lot of money in the process, a win-win!
Until next time #dreamgirl’s!