7 Tips for reducing microfibre loss

Clothes in washing machine

Our clothes are made of millions of tiny fibres, many of which are plastic. With every wash and wear, these microfibres shed from our clothes and can end up in the environment. A single wash can release over 700,000 microfibres into wastewater, many of which then end up in the ocean.

We’re calling on UK Governments to bring in legislation that requires washing machine manufacturers to fit microfibre filters in all new domestic and commercial machines, by law, by 2023 and that all commercial machines are retrofitted with microfibre filters by 2024. Sign our petition here

But what can we do right now to try and reduce the amount of microfibres polluting our seas? Check out our top tips which you can do at home.

Label alert

The worst microplastic shedding culprit is polyester fleece, but nylon and polyester fabric are also high shedders. Microfibres are lost into the environment during the production process as well as by washing and wearing. Choose clothes made from as near to 100% natural items as possible.

Wash your clothes less

Especially items made from synthetic fabrics. Only put them in the wash when they’re dirty. If you’re wearing a top for a few hours or a fleece for a few days, they probably don’t need a wash… just hang them up to air.

Swap from washing powder to liquid

Powders are abrasive and therefore loosen more microfibres compared to a gentler liquid detergent. Use a fabric softener.

Wash at 30

High temperatures can damage clothes resulting in more microfibre shedding.

Wash a full load

Only wash when the machine is full as less friction between the clothes will result in fewer fibres being shed.

Tumble dry less

Constant tumbling can make clothes more fragile and loosen fibres that will then shed in the next wash.

Buy a bag

Independent research has shown that in-machine filters are the most effective way of reducing microfibre loss, found to be 78% efficient at reducing microfibres in waste water. The research showed that a Guppy Bag reduces “microfibre release to wastewater by around 54%…by reducing microfibre shedding from the clothing during the washing cycle.” Whilst we campaign for filters in washing machines, it’s worth doing your research before you buy in-drum solutions.

Want to know more about how microfibres end up in the ocean? Watch our video