Sustainable Laundry

How to Care for Your Sustainable Wardrobe

 by Lauren Sarah Purcell 


So you are interested in sustainability – you’re shopping conscious brands, looking for natural fibers like organic cotton, linen, and hemp, and seeking out ethical production. Woo hoo! Where to next?


The laundry room! Whether our clothes are vintage, thrifted, or sustainably made & new, how we launder our clothes has a huge impact on the environment. Here are a couple easy ways to make your closet more sustainable:


  • Wear it one more time!

It’s estimated that 40% of the carbon footprint of a garment depends on how we wash and wear it! Most clothes don’t need to be washed after every wear (sweaty gym clothes aside, of course), so hang them back up at the end of the day. Not only will you be saving the earth, you’ll be reducing the wear and tear on your clothes, and making laundry day easier on yourself.


  • Wash it on cold

Most clothes will be just fine washed in cold water. It’s less stressful for the garment, and reduces your energy consumption (and your energy bill).


  • Use a wash bag for polyester

All fabrics release tiny fibers when they are jostled around in the wash. For biodegradable fabrics, this is no big deal, but polyesters pollute our waterways. Use a washing bag like a GuppyFriend bag or CoraBall to catch these microfibers.


  • Use an environmentally friendly detergent

Look for an environmentally gentle detergent or eco-friendly soapnuts.


  • Toss a wool ball in the dryer instead of dryer sheets

Using a wool ball reduces drying time, which means less electricity and less wear on your favorite clothes! You’ll also be skipping the chemical laden single use dryer sheets, so your clothes will be fresher and healthier for you.


As Joan Crawford said, “Care for your clothes like the good friends they are.” Happy laundering!

- - -

Lauren Engelke is a sustainable stylist and tailor based in NYC and Madison, Wisconsin. Lauren loves helping her clients discover their best style using a lean wardrobe. Find her on Instagram, her blog, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest.