Half of a garment’s impact on the environment lies in the way we care for it. From dry cleaning to washing and drying and its life after use, there are many changes you can implement in the care of a garment that will better its impact on the environment.
Dry Cleaning: Let’s start with avoiding dry cleaning. Dry cleaning not only releases toxic chemicals into the environment and water supply, but it also passes on those chemicals through your skin and your body. Not to mention the large amounts of single-use plastic from constantly wrapping your clothes to protect them from short trips. The best way to lower the use of dry cleaning is reusing clothes when you send them to dry clean, spot cleaning, or using a steamer to get rid of any sweat stains or odors. But If you must dry clean, use these better options.
Washing and drying: Although our dryer is pretty useful, we can prolong the life of a garment by avoiding the heat, not to mention we prevent lots of carbon emissions simply by skipping the fast drying. Hang to dry is the most eco-friendly option, but use the eco-friendly option or low heat option when you do tumble dry. Remember, you are doing this for two reasons: prolonging the life of your garments and avoiding carbon emissions.
Reuse when possible: I know this one is pretty hard in Miami when some days feel like your face is about to melt from so much heat and humidity. But it is possible to try to wear your clothes more than once. It helps to have a steamer and create a unique fabric deodorizer out of essential oils (I love the Laundress deodorizer), and this requires an investment in a steamer, which, believe it or not, will change your life. Spot cleaning is excellent for minor stains as well.
Repair: When something rips, stains, or is no longer in the condition you bought it, consider repairing it. You’ll be surprised at the things people create out of their old clothes or how easy it is to fix them. Shorter sleeves, patches, and dyes are just some examples. Some are very easy to repair; others take time and experience, but I would love to add, all of these projects are fun, and believe me, when you give your old clothes a chance, you’ll be surprised at how much you love them afterward.