At Presca Teamwear our aim is to provide the most sustainable and environmentally-sound performance sportswear on the market. We constantly evaluate the fabrics that we use to ensure they meet the demanding requirements of technical sportswear while having a lesser (and where possible positive) impact on the environment. The vast majority of the fabrics that we use are from recycled materials and we look at every step of the supply chain to make better choices for the environment. Our customers can also minimise their impact by following our after-care advice.
More information on how to wash Presca garments is available on our Ecowash page.
Washing the “Presca Way…”
There are many ways in which we can reduce the impact of our laundry and prolong the lifespan of our clothes. Here are our top tips to reduce the environmental impact of your laundry - reducing energy and water use will save you money too.
Wash your clothing inside out
Not only will this get your sportswear cleaner, but it will also increase the lifespan of your clothes. The most sustainable thing you can do with your sportswear is to buy less - so wash it well and make it last.
Washing everything inside out helps keep the outside of your clothing, the part you see, newer and helps reduce fading and the fabric wearing out. It is also better at washing the part of your clothing that is closest to your body and therefore helps to reduce odours.
Turn down the heat
The majority of energy used by a washing machine is to heat up the water. Turning the dial down from 60°C to 40°C cuts your energy use by about a third. If you wash your laundry using a 30-degree wash cycle, it uses around 40 percent less electricity again, compared to a 40-degree wash and it is proven to be just as effective at cleaning your clothes. Which? tests show that modern washing machines and detergents are as effective at cleaning clothes at a lower temperature for all but the most stubborn stains.
However, every once in a while, you should run a "service wash" on your washing machine. If you're regularly washing at 30 degrees it's advisable to run one of these every few weeks to get rid of any bacteria that aren't dispatched by the low temperatures.
Use environmentally-friendly washing detergent
There are lots of great eco-friendly washing detergents on the market and we highly recommend replacing your traditional detergent with one that is more planet-friendly. Method is one of the better-known ones - all their products are plant-based and really do the job. If you would like to find out a bit more about the Method story we recommend this How I Built This podcast. We would also love to hear from you if there are others that you recommend.
Add a bit of baking soda
Many eco-bloggers recommend adding a bit of baking soda in with the detergent. This will help clean, deodorise your sportswear garments and brighten up the colours.
Ditch the softener
There is an excellent blog by Moral Fibres that explains why fabric conditioners are not good for the environment or your clothes. There is even information on how to make your own eco version. Definitely worth a read!
Wash only full loads
It takes the same amount of energy and water to power the washing machine no matter how much is in there, so more clothes = fewer loads. On top of that, when the washing machine is full there is less friction between the clothes, which means less microfibre shedding.
Use short cycles (unless your kit is really grubby!)
This reduces the amount of energy and water required to wash your kit. It is not advisable to always run a short cycle as this won’t give a thorough clean, however when you’re in a rush, or if your sportswear hasn’t been worn too much, then this is a good option.
Wash at night (if you’re in the UK)
CO2 emissions for a unit of electricity can be as much as three times greater during the day in the UK, than at night.
This is because during the day our national grid is under considerable pressure and reacts to peak demands by switching on "peak lopping" power stations. The peaks tend to be around breakfast and dinner time when we’re all firing up energy-hungry kettles, toasters, ovens, etc. Peak lopping power stations are normally gas-powered but can be diesel too (which is not great for CO2 emissions or air pollution). At night most of the electricity demand is served by "baseload generators" that have to run all the time to be efficient, so it's likely that the impact of your electricity use then will be lower. We recommend you have a look at the Electricity Map website to find out the emissions of your electricity use at any point in time. This varies by country so check out the trend in your country before following this advice.
Rinse, don’t wash, your swimwear
There is no need to wash your swimming kit in the machine after each and every swim BUT do rinse immediately after use as the chlorine will have a deleterious impact over time on your garments. A quick hand rinse and line dry is all your swim kit needs, with an occasional run through the washing machine.
Turn off the tumble dryer
Energy appliances don’t come much hungrier than the tumble dryer. Air drying is much more eco-friendly.
Based on energy use of 2.50 kWh per cycle and an average load capacity of 4.75 kg (including CO2 emissions) confusedaboutenergy.co.uk calculate annual costs and carbon emissions, depending on how regularly you use your machine:
|5 x per week||4 x per week||3 x per week||2 x per week||1 x per week||Never|
Save money, energy and reduce carbon emissions by air drying your clothing when you can, but do try to avoid direct sunlight - UV impacts on the life of elastane and over time makes fibres become more brittle therefore more likely to shed microfibres, reducing the useful life of your kit.
Wash when the wind blows!
If the wind is blowing hard there’s a good chance that a lot of your energy will be coming from wind power, and emissions from electricity have an inverse relationship to the amount of wind power in the system. If it’s not raining a windy day is also probably going to be “a good drying day” so you won’t need that tumble dryer. Get washing when it's windy…
Care for and repair your current washing machine. At the end of life invest in an energy- and water-efficient washing machine
There is a lot of energy embedded in making and transporting a new washing machine to your door, so don't rush out to buy a new one just to be "eco-friendly" if your current machine is working well. If your current machine is creaking and leaking it will probably still be better for the world (and your pocket) to repair it instead of ditching it for a new one. That being said, if your machine is at the end of its useful life then check out this really useful article from Which? and invest in the highest eco-performing machine you can afford. Ideally A+++ for water and energy efficiency.
At Presca we’re all too aware that the clothing that we manufacture, being synthetic, will contribute to microplastic pollution over time. We try to do all we can to minimise this but there are ways that we can reduce microfibre shedding during laundry too (many of which coincide with our energy-saving tips). These include:
- Handwash (the abrasive action of clothes on clothes can snap the individual fibres in the yarn, which can be reduced by handwashing)
- Use a front load washing machine instead of a toploader, as top loading machines have been proven to increase microfibre shedding
- Don't tumble dry – more physical friction = more fibres shed
- Wash a full load, which reduces friction in the machine as well as reducing energy and water per garment washed.
- Use a Guppyfriend washing bag to capture fibres before they enter the water course.
Repair and reuse
As we mentioned above, the best way to reduce your environmental impact is to consume less. We design our Presca Teamwear clothing to be high-quality and durable. Generally, it is better to make small repairs rather than to buy new and to send clothes you no longer want to charity so that they can be reused. So get darning and donating to increase the lifespan of your clothes.
This blog has been compiled using a combination of our experience, and with a lot of useful information from Moral Fibres, Which?, and confusedaboutenergy. If you see anything that you think is incorrect, or if you have your own suggestions please do get in touch.