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They that Wash on Monday: 5 tips for Slow Clothing Care

When I was a child, Monday was always washing day. In fact most days seemed to include domestic chores involving boiling clothes and wringing them through a mangle to take out the excess water. Then they would be put on the washing line. My mother was forever running in and out of the house to recover the washing as soon as it started to rain, and to hang it out again as soon as the sun came out. 

We should think ourselves lucky with all our modern appliances; much as we may loathe the task of loading and emptying such machines, the process of washing and drying clothes is conveniently automated today. However, we should also bear in mind that washing machines and tumble driers are not always good for our clothes, or for the sustainability of the environment. 

Here are a few tips on how slow clothing care can help make your washing and drying more eco-friendly. 

  1. Only wash clothes when you need to. Obviously, during this time of Covid-19, we need to take extra care to make sure our clothes are virus free, but assuming we have been social distancing and self isolating, our clothes do not have to be washed after every wear.
  2. Wash at a low temperature. Washing at 30 degrees centigrade helps to preserve the colour of garments, plus the fabric gets less damaged so clothes will last longer, not forgetting the fact that your machine will use less energy to heat the water, thus benefiting the environment, and reducing electricity costs.
  3. Use eco-friendly washing powder. We can recommend the great range of products by Biodegradable. I use the lavender fragranced liquid shown above, which not only smells great, but also works well at low temperatures and one bottle lasts for ages. What’s more it is vegan, cruelty free and uses 100% UK sourced post consumer waste bottles.
  4. Use a washing bag such as Guppyfriend or an eco-ball, such as environmentally friendly washing aid, Cora Ball, to remove the microplastic from your washing, and help reduce the pollution in our oceans.
  5. Finally, if you have some outside space, and your neighbours are amenable, hang your washing outside to dry in the (soon-to-be) fresh air. You will not only save on energy costs, but your clothes will also smell curiously clean; they will last longer by avoiding the strong heat of the dryer, and the sun’s rays will help to disinfect your laundry. Oh, and you will get some much-needed exercise when you go out to put the clothes on the line – and even more if it starts to rain.  

Of course, it doesn’t matter which day you do your washing, but as the old rhyme goes: “They that wash on Monday have all week to dry”. Do you? 

Illustrations courtesy of Lydia Thornley @lydiathornley

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