How to Stop Microfiber Pollution
Microfibers. They’re tiny things that are causing big problems. But is there anything we can do to solve the problem? Absolutely! If you’re wondering how to stop microfiber pollution, these tips are ready to help.
What Is Microfiber Pollution?
Every time we wash synthetic fibers — such as polyester, fleece, nylon, and spandex — tiny microfibers break off and flow down the drain. These microfibers are so small that water treatment plants can’t catch them, and they end up in our waterways.
Once the microfibers get into the waterways, they act like sponges and soak up everything around them. This includes pesticides, fertilizers, motor oil, and industrial chemicals.
Fish end up ingesting the microfibers and all the toxins they soaked up. From there, the microfibers and their toxins start moving up the food chain as the fish are consumed by birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. And yes, that even includes humans!
Obviously, this is a big problem that will take all of us to fix. So what can you do? Here are 7 steps you can take right now to stop microfiber pollution.
1. Switch to Natural Clothing Fibers
One of the easiest ways to stop microfiber pollution is right at its source: synthetic clothing. While you obviously can’t go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe right away, you can start making the switch to clothes made from natural fibers one piece at a time.
Look for clothing made from cotton, wool, linen, silk, and cashmere. While these items still shed fibers in the wash, they’re natural fibers that are biodegradable.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find clothes made from natural fibers for everyone in the family. Are you not sure where to start? Here are a few guides that can help you out:
Plus, don’t forget, it’s not just clothes that release microfibers. If you use microfiber cloths to clean your house, they’re also contributing to the problem. That’s why it’s a better idea to switch to organic cotton unpaper towels.
2. Don’t Wash as Frequently
A lot of people have the habit of immediately tossing clothes into the laundry hamper even if the clothes aren’t actually dirty. The more you wash clothes, the more they breakdown and release microfibers.
Before you automatically toss your clothes into the wash, take a look at them and see if they actually need cleaned. If they don’t smell and they’re not dirty, you can get a few more wears out of them.
This is a great way to make your entire laundry routine more eco-friendly because it also reduces the amount of water you need to wash clothes and the amount of energy you need to dry them.
3. Use Cool Water
When you do have to wash your clothes, make sure you use cool water instead of hot water. Hot water causes clothing fibers to breakdown more easily, which means more microfibers will get released in the wash.
Using cool water makes almost no difference in how clean your clothes get. Plus, it’s just one more way to save money since you don’t have to pay to heat your water.
4. Use an In-Wash Microfiber Filter
Tossing an in-wash microfiber filter into your washing machine is another way to help stop microfiber pollution. Two easy-to-use options to consider are the Guppyfriend washing bag and the Cora Ball laundry ball.
Both of these options work slightly differently, so you can check out this post that compares the Guppyfriend to the Cora Ball to decide which one will work best for your laundry needs.
5. Install a Microfiber Filter
While the Guppyfriend washing bag and Cora Ball laundry ball help prevent a good amount of microfiber pollution from going down the drain, they can’t capture all of it. To do that, you need to install a microfiber filter on your washing machine.
If you have access to your washing machine’s discharge hose, this microfiber filter is incredibly easy to install. It captures the microfibers before they can enter our waterways and keeps them out of the animals that live in and around the water.
6. Wait Until You Have a Full Load
Another simple way to stop microfiber pollution is to only run your washing machine when you have a full load. The friction that occurs when clothes rub together is what causes microfibers to come loose.
If you wait until you have a full load, you reduce the amount of friction that happens and cut down on the number of microfibers that fall off. Reducing the rotation speed during the wash can also help cut back on friction.
7. Use a Front-Loading Washing Machine
While this isn’t a tip you can implement right away, it’s something to keep in mind for down the road. When your washing machine breaks down and you have to get another one, choose a front-loading machine instead of a top-loading machine.
Because of the way they’re designed and how they wash clothes, top-loading machines actually produce 7 times more microfiber pollution than front-loading machines.
Easy Ways to Stop Microfiber Pollution
Microfiber pollution might seem like an overwhelming problem. However, when you start implementing these simple tips on how to stop microfiber pollution, you’ll discover it’s a problem we can tackle by making a few adjustments to things we already do.
More Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Now that you’ve learned more about how to stop microfiber pollution, are you interested in even more great tips on eco-friendly living? Then be sure to check out some of our other popular posts:
- The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Stain Removers
- Easy Steps to Have a Zero Waste Kitchen
- Over 25 DIY Natural Cleaning Products
- 50+ Awesome Alternatives to Plastic