When fighting the war on waste and choosing to live as close as a plastic free lifestyle as possible, there are some things that can be difficult to work around and have remained an unknown entity until recently. The damage being done to waterways, lakes and oceans from washing synthetic fabric is one of them. Calls have been put out on social media for people to ditch their lycra gym gear, but it's not that simple. Most underwear has elastane at around 5% and then there's the waistband. It's almost impossible to avoid. Even our underwear from Boody, made from bamboo fibre, is 80% viscose (made in a closed loop environment), 13% nylon and 7% elastane.
Back in 2016, The Guardian wrote an article called "How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply". It's a fascinating read. Outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia commissioned a study and found alarming results.
There is a safe way to wash synthetic fabrics
And so, companies started to come up with solutions to this ever increasing issue. Cora Ball came on to the market, which is a ball that gets thrown in to your machine and can catch around 1/3 of the microfibres being shed in the wash. Guppyfriend is a laundry bag made famous in America for catching almost all of them. At close to $50, with multiple bags needed for most washes, this requires an investment. The Microfibre Laundry Bag from White Magic that we're now stocking is exactly the same size as Guppyfriend and also made out of the same material as Guppyfriend but at a fraction of the price. On average, 2 Guppyfriend bags will set you back around $100. You can get FIVE White Magic bags for the same price. *
How does the White Magic Microfibre Laundry Bag Work?
Many laundry bags on the market are made from mesh that will let small particles through and are closed with a drawstring. While these are suitable for keeping your delicates protected, they do nothing to stop the microfibres from washing down the drain. Even if you can find a laundry bag with finer mesh and a zip, the smallest of particles will still make their way through.
The White Magic Microfibre Laundry Bag is made from an ultra-fine micro-filter material that catches what the eye sometimes doesn't even notice. Wash your clothes and then remove the released microfibres that will be clumped together in the corners and dispose of them. Do not turn the bag inside out and wash it, some microfibres will end up down the drain.
Like a regular laundry bag, this one will protect delicates from being knocked around by other clothes and extends the length of time they can be worn.
How many White Magic Microfibre Laundry Bags Do I Need?
Each bag is 50 x 74cm in size and should only be half filled each time it's used. We managed to get 2 pairs of jeans and 2 t-shirts with a bit of room to spare. For most people, 3 is a good number of bags to keep the number of loads down and save as much water. We have a bulk buy discount option that kicks in at 3 - which is 20% off their full price.
What should I be washing in my White Magic Microfibre Laundry Bag?
All synthetic fibres should be washed in one of these bags if you want to stop adding to the issue of microfibres in our waterways.
- Nylon (including your stockings)
- Rayon / Viscose
- Anything fleecy
- Elastane (which will be in your underwear and any jeans that stretch and your gym gear)
As a precaution, even cellulose / plant derived fabrics should be washed in the bags.
- Viscose that uses bamboo as the raw material
- Anything made from recycled PET water bottles (including our reusable produce bags from both Onya and Ever Eco)
Natural fibres that don't need to be include are cotton, hemp, jute, linen, wool, cashmere and silk. Always check to see if they're 100% natural fibre. Many natural fibre clothes are a blend and may include a small amount of elastane for stretch.
*Please check the individual products on our website for latest pricing. The pricing on this post was correct at the time of publication.