Mikroplastik aus der Kleidung: So wäschst du klüger - washo.ch

Microplastics from clothing: how to wash smarter

Microplastics is a term that has become well known in recent years. It describes plastic particles that are smaller than five millimeters in size. The tiny fibers get into the ecosystem and cause great damage.

Every wash cycle produces microplastics

Microplastics are produced in various ways - including during washing. Clothes made of synthetic materials release microplastics with every wash cycle, and not just too little: a study by the British University of Leeds has found that 500,000 to six million microplastic fibers are released from clothing per wash cycle. Synthetic materials are artificial fibers that are based on fossil fuels. Particularly popular representatives in our clothing are polyester and nylon, both of which are made from crude oil.

The problem is that the filters in wastewater treatment plants cannot hold these tiny pieces and they end up in the wastewater. Plastic waste decomposes very slowly in landfill sites or in the wild: it is not biodegradable and breaks down into smaller and smaller microplastic particles over hundreds of years.

Microplastics harm the environment and humans

The spread on our planet is enormous. Researchers have also found pieces of microplastic in remote areas such as the Antarctic and even in the placenta of pregnant women. This shows that microplastics are not only a real danger to nature, but that the fibers accumulate in our bodies.

If the microplastic particles enter the sea via rivers and lakes, pollutants are deposited on them. The sea creatures swallow the particles, which damages their digestive system. This creates a negative spiral that affects the entire ecosystem. We also eat fish that is contaminated with microplastics. The consequences of this for people and their health have not yet been fully clarified.

Four tips to reduce microplastics when washing

If you follow a few tips when washing, you can minimize microplastics. This is not an absolute solution to the problem, but every reduction helps.

1. Air out synthetic clothing

With every wash cycle you save water and electricity, you also reduce the number of microplastic fibers that are released from the clothing. Shirts, pullovers and pants made of synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon should therefore not be thrown into the washing machine straight away, but hung up and aired out. (More tips on sustainable washing / link)

2. One shirt less

Our wardrobes are overflowing with clothes that we hardly ever wear. It is synthetic fibers that have made cheap mass production and thus our overconsumption possible in the first place. Sustainable clothing is clothing that we wear for a long time. But if you really need a new item of clothing, it's better to opt for biodegradable natural fibers - preferably organically grown.

3. Washo instead of detergent with microplastics

Many conventional laundry detergents also contain microplastics - this nullifies any efforts. At Washo, we therefore rely on a formula that works without microplastics: for the sake of you, nature and the animals!

4. With innovations against microplastics

There are now filters for washing machines that trap some of the microplastic fibers. Another option is so-called wash bags: the laundry is placed in the bag and washed, the bag retains some of the particles in a similar way to washing machine filters. The collected microplastics are then disposed of with household waste.