WASHING clothes at 25C for just half an hour increases their lifespan and is better for the planet, a study suggests. Researchers compared the loss of colour and microfibres in the cooler, quicker cycle with a 40C, 85minute wash. 1 Research found washing clothes at 25C for just half an hour increases their lifespanCredit: Getty…
WASHING clothes at 25C for just half an hour increases their lifespan and is better for the planet, a study suggests.
Researchers compared the loss of colour and microfibres in the cooler, quicker cycle with a 40C, 85minute wash.
Garments released 52 per cent fewer of the harmful strands that reach beaches and oceans, where they are eaten by sea life.
And colour transfer was reduced by 74 per cent, potentially increasing the life of t-shirts, trousers and dresses.
Further, advances in detergent technology meant the clothing still came out clean, the University of Leeds study found.
Previous work found washing at 20C rather than 40C cut energy use by 66 per cent, reducing bills and carbon footprint.
Study leader Dr Lucy Cotton said: “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.
“Using shorter, cooler washes is a simple way everyone can make their clothes last longer and keep them out of landfill.”
Colleague Dr Richard Blackburn said: “Our findings can help tackle the issue of ‘invisible’ plastics in the environment.
“Synthetic microfibres are released every time textiles are washed and account for more than a third of all plastic reaching the ocean.
“But microfibres from cotton and other natural sources are found in even greater numbers in the sea, and we’re worried about their impact too.
“Our research shows that consumers can actively reduce the number of microfibres released from their own clothing simply by washing in quicker, cooler cycles.”
The pair worked with Dr Adam Hayward and Dr Neil Lant from Procter & Gamble, the firm that makes Ariel, Bold, Daz and Lenor.
They used a domestic washing machine and Ariel pods and analysed the waste water from dozens of loads.
Dr Lant said: “Advances in detergent technology, especially in sustainable ingredients such as enzymes, are allowing consumers to get excellent cleaning results in colder and quicker washes.
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“It’s well known that these cycles reduce our energy bills and carbon footprint, but our partnership with the University of Leeds is helping us understand how they also slow down the ageing of clothes – keeping us looking smart, saving us money replacing garments and helping the environment.
“It’s a real win win win.”
The findings are published in the journal Dyes and Pigments.
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