Sustainability in everyday life | How To: Washing and care of textiles
Would you like to know how to properly wash and care your BEARTH garments so that the colours stay bright and your fashion item looks as good as new even months or years later? Or would you like to know how you can improve the washing process to be more sustainable in general? Then you are absolutely right here.
At BEARTH, we use sustainable natural fibers such as organic cotton. In addition to the high-quality and durable characteristics of our materials, you can make a contribution yourself to further extend the life-cycle of your garment.
Care of organic cotton
- Don't wash that often!
First of all, it is worth checking whether your favourite item really needs to be washed in the washing machine. You can rub out small stains and remove odors by airing. Every wash cycle you don't do protects the environment and your organic cotton textiles.
- Follow the care instructions and choose the right washing cycle!
Take a look at the care label. Hand washing or a wash cycle with temperatures up to a maximum of 30 °C and a moderate spin speed are usually particularly suitable for products made from organic cotton. Attention! If you decide to hand wash, make sure that the water is not too hot. Our hands easily withstand higher temperatures and may mislead us here.
- Separate your cotton pieces by color!
When washing your textile items for the first time, make sure to wash them together with similar colours to avoid discoloration. Above all, avoid washing light and dark colors together.
- Turn printed parts inside out!
You should turn printed textiles inside out before washing. Like this you avoid damage to the print due to friction on the outer surface and you maintain the color brilliance over a long period of time.
- Avoid fabric softener!
Avoid using fabric softener if possible. With proper care, your cotton items will remain cuddly soft even without these additives.
- Don't use a dryer!
This is an important advice, especially when it comes to cotton. Cotton garments are very easy to air dry. This saves electricity, protects the environment and prevents your favorite items from possibly shrinking due to too much heat in the dryer. After washing, pull the pieces into shape and hang them on the line to dry. Also, be sure to avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading.
- Use a steamer instead of the iron!
If your textiles are a bit wrinkled after drying, avoid ironing if possible. The direct heat of the iron can damage the cotton fiber. It is better to just steam your clothes. The water vapor penetrates the fibers and smoothes them out.
Now you have received some tips for the care washing of your BEARTH items made from organic cotton.
But you should also think about your laundry as a whole and thus protect textiles and the environment in the long term.
Here we can find 7 general tips to “wash laundry in an environmentally friendly manner”.
General tips for sustainable textile care
- Wash less often!
We often wash our clothes more often than it is necessary.
The t-shirt smells unpleasant? Simply hang it in the fresh air to air it out. Sometimes that's enough to make your favorite item smell fresh again.
Is there a small stain on the pants? Try to hand rub the stain gently with cold water. You can use a stain remover to help with more resistant stains. For example, gall soap or a mixture of citric acid and water (10 mg citric acid in 1 liter of water). The citric acid-water mixture also helps to get rid of annoying deodorant stains.
- Fill the washing machine completely!
When doing your laundry, try to fill the machine correctly and completely. Washing cycles that only fill the machine ¼ or ½ are not particularly sustainable.
- Use laundry bags!
The use of laundry bags makes sense when washing textiles made of polyester, polyamide or polyacrylic. Garments of this type give off microplastics during the washing process, which can pollute groundwater resources and the oceans.
- Choose the right washing fluid!
According to the Federal Environmental Agency, 1.5 million tons of washing fluids (which include detergents, fabric softener as well as bleach) and cleaning agents are delivered to private households in Germany every year. As a result, more and more chemicals such as fragrances, phosphonates and optical brighteners are getting into the wastewater.
The next time you wash, try to use less washing fluids. As soon as your detergent is empty, consider switching to bio-based options that only contain vegetable or mineral surfactants, are easily degradable and particularly skin-friendly.
The following brands, among others, offer great alternatives:
It also makes sense to test the hardness of the water in your region. The softer the water, the less washing fluids you will need.
Another alternative to washing substances are soap nuts or washing balls. These contain ceramic balls that emit negative ions during the washing process and break the surface tension of the water. This makes it easier to loosen the dirt from the fibers of the clothing. At the same time, germs are killed and odors eliminated.
Interested? Check out the following providers, for example:
- Replace or wash without fabric softener!
Conventional fabric softeners put a strain on our ecosystem due to ingredients that are difficult to degrade. So it makes sense to avoid these if possible.
If you still cannot do without fabric softener, you can use sustainable alternatives instead. For example, you may dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda or washing soda in 100 ml of water, or add 30 ml of vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine. No worries! The vinegar smell goes away and does not stick to the clothes.
- Choose the right washing cycle!
Did you know that reducing the washing temperature by 10°C can reduce electricity consumption per wash by around 30 %? So, in the future, consider whether you need to wash the laundry at 40 degrees when a wash at 30 degrees would be sufficient.
A lower spin speed also saves energy. If you pay attention to these two points, it can be a clear advantage for the environment.
- Skip the dryer!
Not only does skipping the dryer save money and energy, but it is also good for the environment. If possible, simply line dry your laundry.
Phew, that was quite a lot of input.
Perhaps you can implement some of these ideas in the future. Just by reading this article, you have already taken an important step: You have gathered further information on improving your washing behavior. A sustainable life does not happen overnight, but step by step and you are on the right track. Keep it up.
Author: Lea Marie