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Wash Ted With All His Mates & Reduce Ocean Plastic

Wash Ted With All His Mates & Reduce Ocean Plastic

Fun Ted is potentially releasing 500,000 microfibres of plastic each time you wash him

Who'd have thought? The problem with washing Ted isn't just the risk that his ears might fall off, but something much bigger. If he's synthetic, every time you machine wash him, you are emptying strands of plastic fibres into the ocean. 

The thing is that every wash of something like cotton/polyester, releases plastic fibres you can barely see called micro and nanofibres. They can be less than 1 millimetre long and because of this, waste water treatment plants let them through and out into our oceans. 

The problem is that fish and other sea animals ingest these fibres because they mistake them for plankton. Effectively, this means you are pretty much eating the world's laundry every time you sit down to a seafood dinner. And you might be aware that plastic doesn't particularly dissolve, so the plastic levels are steadily rising.

Short of going nude, what can you do to help? Here's advice:

Fill up your washing machine to the max: washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes and, therefore, less fibres are released.

Use washing liquid instead of powder: the ‘scrub’ function of the grains of the powder result in loosening the fibres of clothes more than with liquid.

Use a fabric softener: some ingredients in fabric softeners reduce friction between fibres so the release decreases.

Wash at a low temperature: when clothes are washed at a high temperature some fabrics are damaged, leading to the release of fibres.

Avoid long washings: long periods of washing cause more friction between fabrics, which supposes more tearing of the fibres.

Dry spin clothes at low revs: higher revolutions increase the friction between the clothes, resulting in higher chances of fibres loosening.

Avoid buying synthetic clothes and look for wool, cotton, linen, silk, cashmere or other natural fabrics.

Image: Unsplash | Luis Tosta

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Science Notes
According to, washing a fleece (like a polyester fleece jacket) releases an 1 million microfibers with each wash.  
Incredibly, a pair of nylon socks releases 136,000 fibres per wash and an acrylic scarf, 300,000 fibres. 
Related Tip

You can easily clean your own or your children's lunch boxes naturally and get rid of left over food, fish, onion and other odours or any other container by simply using vinegar.