Sustainability Study Guide: Clothing Care

Sustainability Study Guides are based on in-house research and compiled with the intention to educate and empower people to take better care of themselves, the things they own and the environment. We hope that you empower others to take small steps every day to tread lighter and live slower by sharing the information and tips from our Study Guides (:

How you take care of your clothes makes a big impact on the environment wether you realize it or not! Here are some tips from our team on how to care for your clothes and some information on the impact of your care methods!

In addition to helping the environment its important to care properly for your clothes if you want them to last longer! Love your wardrobe and treat it right!

For Natural Dye Care please refer to our guide here


Hand washing is always the best method to wash your clothes! Cold water is preferred as it required no extra energy to heat and is gentle on the fiber and dye in your garments. Add a few drops (or more if needed) of delicate soap per 2-3 garments be sure to check the label and choose a plant-based detergent free of fragrance, brighteners, chlorine, and phosphates that are all around bad! Wash and then press your garments rather than wringing them if you wish to avoid additional wrinkles.

Hand washing uses half the water of energy efficient washers and three times less water than standard washers.

If you have to use the washer, use eco friendly detergent (listed above) and be sure to adjust the settings properly. A quick wash setting is fine for lightly soiled garments, be mindful of the size of your load as well!


Dryers use an excessive amount of energy and can damage clothing! If you have to use your dryer try a low setting with a small load. Hand drying or flat drying is preferred! If you have to use your dryer check the lint filter for every load.

Dry Cleaning:

A high percentage of dry cleaners use a harsh chemical called Perc that is linked to respiratory issues, birth defects and air pollution (not to mention its bad for your clothes). Look for green dry cleaners--a non-toxic, environmentally safe alternative. These cleaners often use CO2 or water as the primary solvent rather than chemicals. Call first and ask if they use Perc, hydrocarbons, or D-5 cleaners to be sure they are truly Green and not just using the term as a marketing ploy, ew!

And to be honest: the best thing you can do for your clothes is to wash them as little as possible! If you’re in the midst of summer try to dress in loose clothes so you don’t soil them with body odors right away. If you wear an outfit for a few hours hang it back up! Americans over wash our clothes which is a huge contribution to our carbon footprint (and honestly, who wants to do that much laundry!)

By following these tips you can reduce your carbon footprint by half a ton per year! If you really want to dive in you can use this handy calculator:

Shoe Care Tips:

-Before you wear a new pair of shoes spray an eco friendly protectant coating can protect your shoes from water, oils, dust and discoloration. You can reapply every few months.

-Dry brush dirt of your shoes if they get muddy to prolong their life

-If your soles get worn from excessive ware take them to a local shoe repair to get fixed!

-Keep suede and leather dry, if they get wet towel dry and then air dry them in a cool and dark environment (no heat!) stuff them with newspaper to keep them in good condition and then polish them once they are dry and recovered!

Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. These shoes end up in landfills, where they can take 30 to 40 years to decompose. Buy shoes you love and will actually wear! Always repair damaged shoes!

Stay tuned for more Study Guides like Repurposing, Patching and Repairing your garments.