Sustainably Chic

7 Tips on How to Avoid Microplastics When Washing Your Clothes

Conscious ListsNatalie Kay

They say there are more microplastics in the ocean than stars in our sky. Today, there are over 51 trillion microplastic particles polluting our waterways.

While we can’t completely avoid contributing to this number, I do have a few tricks I use when washing my synthetic clothing at home.

So wait, what are microplastics?

Much of your clothing is made up of synthetic fibers. These fibers are essentially made of plastic, and when washed, they can break down to form tiny microfibers which make their way back into the water (& in turn, in the stomachs of animals and even our own drinking water). Of course, microplastics can come from all different sources, like cosmetics, car tires, large sheets of plastic debris.. the list goes on.

Since most of us do laundry - even more so as a parent - I thought this post would be rather helpful!

Wash on Cold

Heat is not good for fabrics. It can easily damage the threads, which then split and release microfibers.

Fill It Up

There is less friction when the entire wash machine is full, so less fibers are likely to break off.

Use a Cora Ball

This little contraption is just the coolest ever. I got this from EarthHero & I highly suggest you trying one out for yourself. You can use my code natalie10 for 10% off. Made from 100% recycled plastic (which is also recyclable), the Cora Ball works by trapping and securing threads in its "spindles" that can be easily cleaned as microfibers collect. They start to look like lent after several washes. Pull them off and throw them in the trash.

Use Liquid Detergent

Powder detergents act as scrubs, and can scrub off fibers.

Hang Dry or Dry on Low

Of course, hang drying would be the best option, but if you live in a small space, that can be difficult to do with every load. The low setting helps lessen the friction between clothes.

Wash Less

I think this is a no brainer, and maybe too obvious to mention. However, I can be quick to throw something in the hamper which could probably be worn a few more times.

Buy Natural Fibers

Clothing made from natural fibers like cotton, linen, hemp and wool, aren’t going to shed microplastics into the wash. Check the content on the tag before purchasing. Your skin prefers these natural guys better anyway!


You may already do a few of these anyway just to prolong your clothing, but I hope you may have learned a couple more tricks <3