Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
Reducing the need for washing
Environmental impact and labor can both be saved by reducing the need for washing. This may be done by:
- Choosing clothing that needs less washing. A tiny mark will make a white shirt seem dirty, but will be unnoticeable on a darker or patterned shirt. This may also make your clothing last much longer, as permanent stains will also be less obvious. (Note also that for the sake of smell possibly hygiene, even dark clothes cannot go forever without washing!)
- Avoid light colors, especially white and cream, as these show marks and thus require more frequent washing. Dark colors are very good at hiding marks However, if choosing light colors, patterns will reduce this problem significantly.
- Choosing patterned clothing, especially irregular patterns, helps hide minor marks.
- Wearing no-iron shirts (which might be worn 2 or more times between washings
- Hang up clothes immediately on taking them off, if you might wear them again.
- Avoid clothes that need drycleaning, as drycleaning has a negative environmental impact,[verification needed] not to mention the financial cost.
- If clothing is not very dirty, but has been worn and doesn't smell fresh and clean, it's possible to easily restore it to a fresh-smelling condition without washing:
- Air clothing after it has been worn, by hanging it up, preferably where there is airflow. Exposing it to airflow makes a huge improvement in the smell of the clothing (especially noticeable in the case of cigarette odors). Odor-causing substances are (generally? always?) volatile by nature, so airing is extremely effective at removing the odor.
- Rinsing in water is also very effective. Detergent is not always necessary - water on its own is quite effective at dissolving most odor-causing substances. This is particularly relevant in hot climates where clothes can become sweaty very quickly (or for travelers who do not have ready access to proper washing facilities).
Avoid "wrinkle fast" clothing
"Wrinkle fast" clothing require either:
- ironing and more frequent washing, or
both of which mean more effort, expense, and negative environmental impact.
Choose clothes which:
- don't wrinkle easily (test this before you buy, by scrunching up a discreet corner of the cloth, and seeing if it wrinkles); or
- don't show the wrinkles, due to their color or pattern.
- have a "natural look" where slight wrinkling doesn't matter.
- What is the environmental impact of no-iron fabrics?[Suggested project]