Washing, drying and ironing your clothes accounts for 36% of the total environmental impact of the average garment during its lifetime!
This can be more than halved if we make smarter choices.
You can help the planet and your wardrobe by washing your clothes less frequently, reducing the washing temperature, ironing less and avoiding tumble-drying.
Choosing smart care methods can help you to extend the life of your wardrobe favourites while also reducing your environmental impact, 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. Washing at 40°C uses around half as much energy as washing at 60°C. H&M recommends that heavily soiled clothes and underwear are always washed at the highest temperature allowed. Do not wash your clothes at temperatures hotter than those stated in the care instructions.
Fill your washing machine
Sort the clothes by colour 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 programme – most modern washing machines have one.
Choose an eco-friendly laundry 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 colour 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
Give away your clothes!
When you no longer have a use for clothes, give them to an organisation that can extend the garment’s life.