Make your clothes last longer

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The optimum wash cycle for your clothes and the environment.
Clothes in washing machine
Research into the impact washing machines have on clothes and the environment has shown that shorter, cooler washes help clothes look better for longer.

Scientists from the University of Leeds found reducing both washing cycle length and water temperature significantly extended the life of garments and reduced the quantity of dye and microfibres shed into the environment.

Millions of ‘invisible’ plastic microfibres are shed every time we wash clothes and end up in the oceans where they are ingested by marine life.

The study, which used a combination of laboratory and consumer testing, found that clothes washed at 25oC on a 30-minute cycle shed 52% fewer microfibres and reduced dye release by up to 74%.

The study’s lead author Lucy Cotton said making small changes to your wash cycle could have a significant impact on the environment.

“We are increasingly familiar with the environmental threat posed by throwaway fast fashion, but we also know that consumers claim their clothes can lose their fit, softness and colour after fewer than five washes – this means it’s more likely they will ditch them long before they are worn out,” Ms Cotton said.

“Using shorter, cooler washes is a simple way everyone can make their clothes last longer and keep them out of landfill.”

Make your laundry eco-friendly

  • Choose an energy-efficient washing machine
  • Wash in cold water
  • Always wash a full load
  • Use eco-friendly or water-saving wash cycles
  • Use a greywater system to recycle water for use in your garden

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.