If you’ve been around for a while, you may know that I had/have an eco-fashion site: Green Grechen. I haven’t posted there in WAY too long, for various reasons. Honestly, I got very disillusioned by the price of “eco-friendly” clothing & accessories, and that a new brand or designer seemed to pop-up everyday, even more inaccessible than the last. Aside from that, though, I don’t believe that you have to buy organic cotton or bamboo to be more eco-conscious with your clothing choices. You do have to pay attention to where your garments are made, HOW they’re made, and try to buy the best quality you can afford so that they’ll last longer.
Not buying new is of course, also very eco-friendly, but so is buying new and keeping/wearing the garment for 10+ years. There are a lot of ways to practice conscious consumerism – you just have to find the one that makes the most sense for you. Personally, I try to buy fewer items that will last longer, and I strive to buy most everything made in the US.
Something I hadn’t thought much about though, is the frequency with which “we” wash/dry our clothes. According to this article on Huffington Post, most of the environmental impact of our clothing happens AFTER WE BUY IT – as in how we use it (washing/drying). Whoa. It seems obvious now, that washing/drying more often is wasteful and not very environmentally friendly, but until now, I didn’t really think about it that way.
For the last year of so I have been hang-drying most of my more delicate items to make them last longer, but certain things I would wash every time I wore them. Now, maybe I’ll think again about that as well.
Denim, I wash VERY infrequently – like almost never. My Frame Le Garcon jeans I’ve had and worn for about a month a few times a week I think, and haven’t washed them yet. My more “sturdy” pants, like my James Perse canvas pants, I wash every 2-3 times I wear them, but my crepe surplus pants and sweatpants I have to wash every time because they stretch. T-Shirts I generally wash every time, but I probably don’t have to, unless I get them dirty. Wearing tanks or camis underneath blouses or tops will also help extend their wear, especially in warmer weather. Exercise-wear I wash every time I wear them, but I never dry. And I use the least amount of water I can.
Ultimately, unless we get a garment “dirty” or it smells or something, perhaps it doesn’t need to be washed, just hung up to “air-out” a bit before wearing again. I think it’s just habit to wear something once and throw it in the laundry bin without thinking about if it can be worn again – but that’s a habit that can be broken.
So, how often do you wash your clothes? do you think you could wash them LESS often? How do you wash your clothes? Do you tumble dry everything?