The organization Ocean Wise and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada revealed in a study in 2021, the presence of a large amount of microplastics in the oceans. Especially in the Arctic, with a majority (92.3%) coming from synthetic fibres, and more particularly polyester (73%). Phenomenon that would be mainly due to the washing of clothes, as reported by Ademe. This observation prompted the France, a pioneer country in this field, to react by making microplastic filters mandatory in washing machines by 2025.
How often should you wash your jeans?
Experts on the subject are unanimous: certainly not after each use. In 2014, Chip Bergh, the CEO of the Levi's brand, revealed that he only washes his jeans when absolutely necessary. "When my jeans really need to be washed, I do it the old-fashioned way: I wash them by hand and dry them in a dryer," he said. It also appears that cleaning at a low temperature after four to six uses is enough to maintain your garment in good condition. This is confirmed by the French brand 1083, which however lets its customers determine the right frequency of washing. "We are talking about an average of four consecutive uses for pants, it's up to you to gauge!" says the brand on its blog.
Buying some materials over others
As for other garments, it depends on the material used for their manufacture. The majority of underwear must be washed after each use, with the exception of the bra which can be worn several times before a machine visit. As for jackets and coats, they are not in direct contact with the body, so there is no need to wash them monthly or weekly. Some experts even mention a frequency of two or three washes in the year.
You should know that some materials are self-cleaning in a way, since they prevent the proliferation of bacteria and odors. This is particularly the case for wool, but also hemp, flax, bamboo fiber or coconut fiber. Materials that combine many advantages, both ecological and economic, and that will make your cabinets greener.
Meeting the challenge with zero washing
Can we wear the same dress for a hundred days? Yes, according to the Wool & brand which has been offering the "100 Day Dress Challenge" for several years now. The concept is simple: you have to wear one of the brand's wool dresses for a hundred days to discover the performance of this fiber whose resistance to odors makes it possible to limit machine washing. If the challenge is met, a gift card worth $100, or €100 for European customers, will be sent to the challenger. The brand specifies that the challenge allows you to "learn how to get the most out of a garment", but also to become aware of your real clothing needs. Without falling into excess, it seems undeniable that reducing the frequency of washing can only be beneficial for the planet as well as for the wallet.
- Ethical fashion