Washing, drying and ironing your clothes accounts for 36% of the total environmental impact of an average garment during its life!
This can be reduced to less than half if we make smarter choices.
You can help the planet and your wardrobe by washing your clothes less frequently, lowering the washing temperature, ironing less and avoiding tumble-drying.
By choosing the clever care methods you can extend the life of your wardrobe favorites, while reducing your environmental footprint, and your clothes will be just as clean.
- Don’t wash clothes unnecessarily
Don’t wash clothes that are not dirty. Often, airing and brushing clothes is enough.
- Lower the washing temperature
H&M always labels its garments with the highest permitted temperature. But you can select a lower washing temperature to save energy. Most detergents wash just as well at lower temperatures. A cold wash uses around half as much energy as a warm wash. H&M recommends that heavily soiled clothes and underwear are always washed at the highest temperature allowed. But do not wash your garments at warmer temperatures than stated in the washing instructions.
- Fill your washing machine
Sort the clothes by color and washing temperature. Fill up your washing machine, but don’t stuff too much in. A washing machine is full when you can place a clenched fist on top of the washing without compressing the clothes. Use an energy saving program – most modern washing machines have one.
- Choose a “green” detergent
Use an environmentally friendly detergent that is free from optical whiteners and phosphates, since these have a negative environmental impact when released into nature. Dose the detergent as stated on the packaging. Overdosing detergent will not make your clothes cleaner. To get the dose right, you need to know whether you have hard or soft water.
Avoid fabric conditioners, although H&M recommends that acrylic garments are washed with fabric conditioner to counter static electricity in the garment after washing.
- Avoid dry cleaning
Dry cleaning is a process in which the clothes are cleaned using an organic solvent. Dry cleaning has a negative environmental impact when the solvent is released into nature. A small proportion of H&M’s garments are dry clean only, because they contain details or materials than could change color or become misshapen by washing at home. Today, there are also greener methods of dry cleaning that clean the clothes using only carbon dioxide reclaimed from industry. This type of dry cleaning therefore does not release chemicals.
- Leave your washing out to dry
It is preferable to leave your washing out to dry since tumble drying and dryers use a lot of energy. To reduce drying time, gentle cycle the clothes well before taking them out of the washing machine.
- Give away your clothes!
When you no longer have a use for clothes, give them to an organization that can extend the garment’s life.