How Often Do You Need to Wash Your Jeans Not to Harm the Environment?16.11.2021
Recently, we asked “How often do your jeans get washed?” Rarely has such an easy question sparked so much debate! There were many answers, ranging from “everytime I wear them” and “never”, but we found ourselves somewhere in the middle. This led to us feeling paranoid about our sometimes sloppy attitude towards bacteria.
It’s an important conversation that we wanted to have because not only the production of clothes has an impact on the environment, but so is the care and use of them. They are also more likely to use water, energy, and chemicals depending on what products you use. Synthetics can also release microplastic particles. These factors, along with the fact that washing clothes can cause wear and tear, are why you will find care instructions for your new clothes if you purchase from responsible fashion brands.
Are we washing our clothes enough? Are there better ways to care for clothes that last? Simple answer: Yes. Although we are not an experts in this field, we have been thinking about it and wanted to share our thoughts with you.
One statistic you may have seen is that a pair of jeans consumes 10,000 litres of water per year on average. This includes water used in growing the cotton, dying the cotton (you can increase the litres to distressing methods), manufacturing and washing the jeans once they have been delivered to a customer.
(There are many other issues that surround the production of jeans. These include the effects of harsh chemicals on the environment and workers at the garment factories, but that’s another story).
The original purpose of denim was to be a hardwearing workwear fabric. It can withstand a lot! Many, including Levi’s CEO, believe that denim doesn’t need to be washed. This all depends on how you wear your jeans and what kind of jeans you have. Any jeans with stretch will behave differently. A classic style is what we prefer, and coincidentally Levi’s has most of our favorites. They hold their shape better.
There are some ways to prolong the life of your jeans if you have to wash them. To protect the color of darker jeans, turn them inside-out. Do not tumble dry jeans. Instead, let them dry upside down from the ankles. If you do happen to get ripped, it’s better to patch the damage or repair the visible area than give up on your favorite pair.
Knitwear is another thing we don’t wash nearly as often as we used too. This is double bonus as we’ve been known to shrink some of our favorite jumpers. Although it sounds obvious, some people had to point out that wearing a T-shirt underneath your jumper will help you save a few washes.
This is where natural fabrics really shine. Wool has a thin waxy layer that gives it amazing qualities. It is antibacterial, stain-resistant (spot washing works best because dirt will be sitting on top) and temperature-regulating. This means it should keep you cool and warm in summer, and not sweat as much in winter as synthetic fibres. A 100% wool jumper is durable and doesn’t require much washing. It should also last longer.
- QUALITY BASICS
You should wash the clothes you wear next to your skin, such as underwear, socks, and T-shirts. It’s worth investing in high-quality basics, as washing them will eventually wear them out just as much as wearing them. If you have the budget, natural fibres can be great. However, any fabric with stretch will contain synthetic fibres so it is a good idea for you to invest in a Guppyfriend bag that catches micro fibers in your washing machine and keeps them out of the water system. Many new washing machines have this feature built in.
Let’s not forget about washing clothes. We already switched to natural refills at the zero waste local shop, but we must admit, we were disappointed by the lack of fragrance. We know that scents don’t make things clean, but it was something we missed.
The pouches are all natural and smaller, but they still pack a powerful punch, so you don’t have to use as much product. They also come with a subscription service. Sign up and tell them how often you wash your clothes. Then it comes in a recyclable plastic package that fits into your mailbox. Genius. Fabric conditioner is useless, so we have also stopped using it. It can also contain chemicals that are extremely harmful to the environment.
If you remember the days of smoking bans in pubs, you will know that this law has had a significant impact on how often you wash your clothes and hair. Even though you have been washing your clothes less for 13 years, it is still possible to need a refresh every now and again. We discovered the hand steamer and fell in love with it. The steamer can be used to wash clothes and help with seating issues. You can easily find them online for less than $30.
You might still get smoke on your clothes or food odors from steaming, so spraying before steaming will help. You could also make your own spray. We have been using a lavender-scented spray from Norfolk Natural Living. It doubles as a repellent for moths.
If you are concerned about bacteria, you can put your jeans in the freezer. We have received many messages from people who swear by this method. You can kill any bugs by putting them in a bag and storing them there overnight. This trick can also be used by cashmere enthusiasts to kill moth eggs.
You can take care of your clothes from the moment you receive them. It is essential if you want shoes to last as long as possible to spray them.
If you have problems with moths, you can buy cedar balls from Norfolk Natural Living. Monty Donn suggested that you could also put little bags of dried lavender into your drawers or wardrobes. This is what he said he remembers his grandmother doing while he was trimming his lavender for Gardener’s World.
Friction in your washer can cause damage to the fibers of your clothes. This can be reduced by making sure that you have a full load. The less clothes move, the less they rub against one another.