We love the 80/20 rule (or for the nerdy ones amongst us, the Pareto Principle). For those who have never heard of it, it's this principle whereby 20% of our efforts yield 80% of the results. It's fascinating how it applies to many areas of life, and that got us thinking about how it could apply to how we care for our clothes. See, 40% of the carbon footprint of a garment is generated by us in how we take care of our clothes. We could actually reduce the ecological impact of our wardrobe AND get them to last longer just by tweaking a couple of our habits (barely).
So we've put together 3 of the little tweaks you can do, that require minimal to zero effort, but that will get your clothes to last longer and maintain their integrity.
1. Sometimes, not doing anything is the best option
Don’t wash your clothes. Yup, you heard that one right. You can be a little lazy with your washing and actually be of great service to the planet ! Just wash your clothes less frequently. We are obviously not talking about that top that you wore all day while it was 30°C outside, but most times we feel compelled to wash our clothes more frequently than we really need to. Washing stresses the fabric and seams and causes our clothes to wear out faster. Washing also causes microfibre shedding. This microfibre shedding is a massive source of sea pollution, where the microfibres resulting from polyester fabric washing (recycled or not!) end up in the sea and up the food chain. Next time you feel like you just have to wash your jeans because you've already worn them 5 times, just hang them outside for a little bit and you'll be able to get another 5 (or more) wears out of it !
2. Being an ice queen pays off
Turn that temperature knob down and wash your clothes at 30°C (or even better, cold wash). We know, that's not what most of the labels on clothes tell you to do. But that little wash sign is actually the highest temperature that that particular piece of clothing can withstand, it's not meant to be washed at, say, 40°C all the time.You'd be putting it through what is an extreme condition for it, thereby accelerating its degradation. Just by turning down the temperature knob on your washing machine, you are doing your clothes (and the planet!) a huge service. Oh, and while you're at it, also turn the spin knob down. Low spin is good too and goes a long way in keeping your clothes in good shape.
3. You'll get the hang of it
The third one requires a little more effort, but given that you're washing your clothes less frequently now, you can afford to spend that extra 5 minutes on it, right? Just hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. Machine drying is actually really bad for our clothes (it tends to burn and weaken the fibers), not to mention the planet. The added bonus? The sun will leave your white clothes looking even whiter as it's a great stain remover ! (Colour clothes are best left in the shade though, otherwise the colours tend to fade).
So there you go. We LOVE little tricks and hacks that require minimal effort but that can have a huge impact, and taking good care of our clothes is a great example of this. Nothing life changing for you, but definitely life changing for your wardrobe !