When talking about sustainability in fashion we rarely talk about washing our clothes. The truth is washers and dryers use a lot of energy and the detergent we buy at supermarkets can be harmful to the environment. Actually, sustainability expert Steve Richardson found that 65 percent of all greenhouse gases are produced during the use of a product (ISPO). That made me ask myself is there even a sustainable way to wash our clothes?
To answer this question I contacted Anne Cathrine Lind Ceni. Anne is a Danish living in Switzerland, she works in marketing and is the manager of a webshop for concept store Krug. Krug is a store located in Split, Croatia that sells clothes and accessories made by Croatian brands Dott., Chicks on Chic and Little Wonder. Anne visited the store while on vacation in 2012 and then came back the year later before asking the owners if they’d be interested in her setting up and managing their webshop.
Anne and I exchanged a couple of e-mails where she told me she was then, and still is, so convinced about Krug’s concept and absolutely loves everything about their way of doing business. They made a deal and the shop went online in 2016. My favorite part of the website is a blog Anne writes for Krug. It was there that I found a piece on sustainable ways of doing laundry that really got to me.
“There are a lot of ways to wash your clothes more sustainably,” Anne tells me. She got interested in sustainability in fashion after watching True Cost. “I was so stunned about the whole industry. Most people, including myself at that time, just close our eyes for what is really going on. A T-shirt can’t cost five euros without having cost some kind of sacrifice on its way of becoming a T-shirt. After watching True Cost I read a lot of articles and looked at designers who actually do try to make sustainable fashion. Stella McCartney is one of them and also a lot of small Danish brands who I follow. One of them is Aiayu, they’re focused on zero waste. Fonnesbech is another brand that makes fashion that lasts more than just one season. I also get a lot of inspiration from Copenhagen Fashion Summit which is the world’s largest event on sustainability in fashion.”
I was particularly interested in sustainable ways of washing our clothes to which she suggested visiting Treehugger and told me about a few tricks she uses to make doing laundry more sustainable. “What works for me are the natural soap berries, hanging the clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer, washing full loads and washing on as low temperature as possible.”
I already read about natural soap berries on Krug’s blog and learned that “they are the fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, which grows in several different regions around the world, but is most prevalent in the Himalayas. The shell of the fruit is then collected, dried and packed for use. The shell is exceptionally high in saponin which is nature’s soap. This saponin content reduces the surface tension of the water so it will remove dirt and leave fabrics, soft and clean.” (Krug, April 2017) I also found out that you can order them online from brands like That Red House or NaturOli and am now very excited to try them
“I wash all my clothes with the natural soap berries and I find that they work just as good as normal detergent. I bought mine online, but I found them as well in a store in Denmark, so maybe you can also get them somewhere in Croatia.”