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Caveat Emptor: Your Laundry - Environmental Catastrophe; Financial Boondoggle!

     

 by Alexander S. Kabbaz,
Bespoke Clothier

     

It's Laundry Day. Let's see how much Damage we can accomplish.

Firstly, let's work on throwing $1055 in the garbage.

If you're like most people, you'll set the washer to Hot Wash/Warm Rinse or Warm/Warm. That'll get those whites really white! Good for our bottom line - Bad for yours.  

 

Cash In The Trash

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Why? Washing your blouses, shirts, undershirts or camisoles, underwear or lingerie, and socks in Hot water will reduce their longevity by 50% at a minimum. Were hot water necessary, we'd champion it to the hilt and double our sales. But it's not. Any good detergent will clean your clothing perfectly well in cold water. So where does that $1000+ come from? With a bare minimum rotation of 7 ready-made shirts or blouses ($1000+), 7 underwear/undershirts/lingerie ($900), and 7 pairs of socks ($210), you're putting $2100 worth of your finery in that machine. Cut its life in half using hot water and there's your $1050 in the trash. Plus about 5 bucks for the energy you'll consume destroying your clothing. Hold that thought: Destroying Your Clothing!
     
     

Which brings us to your significant contribution to Environmental Catastrophe. Considering you to be a sophisticated clothing consumer - as are most of our loyal clients - I'm going to assume that all of the listed clothing is made from nature's best fibers, cotton and/or extrafine merino. Being conscientious retailers, we'll leave the toxic chemical element for another day, as all of what we sell is produced under OKEO-Tex standards which eliminate the use of harmful chemicals. Let's just deal with the energy element.

See that small diesel-fueled machine? That there's your cotton-picker. The little man sitting in the cab will give you an idea of the enormous size of the thing. Can you even imagine, not only how much fuel it burns in an eight-hour day, but how much exhaust it contributes to our atmosphere at the same time?  

 

 

Cotton Picker at Work

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  Cotton Carding Machine

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And that's just the beginning. So far you've just picked your cotton.

Now you have to card it with this little baby. Carding it removes waste elements and straightens the cotton fibers so they can be spun into yarn.

Now carded, it's off to the spinner: yet another gigantic machine I'll leave to your imagination. 

     

So now you've spun your basic cotton yarn. Done? Nope. Here's another gargantuan steam-spewing monster: The dyeing tanks.

Betcha didn't know that white cotton doesn't make white cloth. It makes griege goods (gray cloth).

Even white cloth needs to be dyed which, by the way, is why washing whites in hot water turns them grey. More? Dyeing involves heat. Lots of it. Gobs and gobs of energy. Which comes from? Gas, oil, nukes ... doesn't really matter to Mother Nature. Tons of waste water. Which comes from? Etc, etc, etc. 

 

Yarn Dyeing Tanks  

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  Cotton Looms at Work

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Now we can sew? Not quite. It's time to weave it into cloth with these stadium-sized looms.

Now ... you can cut and sew. And, if you use scissors and a foot-operated treadle sewing machine, the only additional energy you'll be consuming is your breakfast.

     

The Bottom Line? Cut the life of your clothing in half by washing it in hot water and you'll double the environmental impact of not going naked.

Could I ramble on? Go into greater detail? Sure. And if you write to me I'll be happy to answer any question you have.

Or you could just take it from me. I've tested this for way more than a quarter century, both saving and wasting in the process. Still leery? I'll give you a few hints below which will conserve both your clothing as well as the environment so that you can pass on a better planet - and some nice hand-me-downs - to your children.   

     
Hint: Warm water helps the detergent dissolve and makes better suds. How? Put the detergent in your washer. Set the washer to Warm. Let it fill for a minute. Then set the temperature to Cold and put in your clothing.  

Other ways to Conserve Energy ...  

Using a Washboard

Energy Independent Washing Machine

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Hint: Soaking your clothing overnight before the actual wash will free the soil particles and make them easier for the detergent to remove.

How? Fill your washer in the evening, put in the clothing, let it agitate for a minute or so and then hit the Stop button. The next morning, do the wash cycle. 

 
     
Hint: Got "ring around the collar"? Rub some lotion-free bar soap on the ring and let the shirt soak overnight. For a complete description of the proper way to do this, click here.     

Heating Water

Energy Independent Water Heater

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Fact: The tumbling of a clothes dryer won't hurt your clothing. It's actually quite similar to hanging clothing on a line to dry in the breeze.

What will hurt is Heat. Set your dryer on the Fluff or No Heat setting. Uses almost no energy and makes the clothing softer and fluffy. 

 
     
Fact: In truth, washing your Whites in Hot water will actually remove some of the white dye every time you launder ... exactly the opposite of the effect you thought it would have. That's why old white shirts turn grey.
     

Let's sum the whole thing up:

Wash your clothing in Hot water: Double our profits, throw money in the trash, do our environment no good at all.

Wash it in Cold water: Save Money. Leave our children a better planet.

It's just a No-Brainer!