[Unpaid Ad] It´s a problem which is easy to ignore, because you can barely see the tiny and often transparent microplastics. With each wash, tiny pieces of fibre break off our clothes and make their way from washing machines into rivers, lakes and oceans.
This leads us on to an important question: Do Arctic Flamingo leggings release microfibers? Taking into account that all fabrics shed – the short answer is yes! As I´m worried about the microplastic problem I decided to buy a Guppyfriend washing bag which is designed to capture extremely small plastic fibers that break off during washing. I filled my Guppyfriend with several pairs Arctic Flamingo yoga leggings, and was very curious (and to be honest, scared!) about the results.
A city the size of Berlin releases a wash related volume of microfibres equivalent to approx 500,000 plastic bags – every single day (www.guppyfriend.com)
How to use Guppyfriend?
It´s recommended to fill the bag up to 2/3 and separate colours. It´s also recommended to use detergents without plastic liquids and wash the closed Guppyfriend laundry bag with other clothes as usual. They say it may take a couple of washes until you find fibers in the upper corners of your bag and you can certainly use the washing bag several times before removing the fibers. As soon as you´l find enough fibers in the corners of the bag, you can collect & put the microfibers into the household trash. Please note that the bag shouldn’t be rinsed under running water! That´s how you ruin the whole point of using the washing bag.
Here’s our test:
We put our leggings through some washes. We put the leggings in Guppyfriend washing bag, closed the bag, and pop it in the washing maschine. At the end of the wash we see just how much your Arctic Flamingo leggings are shedding and how many microfibres we saved from escaping down the drain. We let the leggings to dry fully between washes. Let’s go!
WASH #1 in 30°
I found a small fiber in the seam of the bag, and because of the colour of it, it must be a loose piece of the stitching. I could find no other visible fibers in hems inside of Guppyfriend. Which I take as a positive feedback!
WASH #2 in 30°
The bag was again clear of visible fibres. I left the leggings dry before the next round of washing.
WASH #3 in 30°
I couldn’t find visible microfibre in sight, including the corners or seams. I need to be very happy with this result but this isn’t to say there wasn’t any at all! I am aware that there can be transparend or microscopic pieces hiding that are invisible to the naked eye.
TEST RESULTS AND MY OPINION ABOUT GUPPYFRIEND WASHING BAG
I used to be pretty skeptical of the Guppyfriend washing bag because I think you need to pay attention in order to use it correctly (yes, it´s only a washing bag, but you need to read the instructions first!). Secondly, I´m wondering does the relatively small volume of fibers the bag will catch in its lifetime compensate the production of the bag? But actually, one of the biggest reasons I like the bag is that I highly appreciate the work that the NGO behind Guppyfriend does for rising awareness about the microplastic pollution problem.
Even if I couldn’t find any visible fibers inside Guppyfriend it doesn´t mean it´s not necessary to use the bag when washing my yoga leggings and other synthetic clothing. I think the bag should be always used when washing brushed and very fluffy synthetics, like fleece! Your yoga wear is most probably made from continuous yarns that are sleek and not hairy, and that´s also the reason there was nothing visible in the bag after washing Arctic Flamingos.
In general it’s good to use any kind of washing bag, because the washing bag is very smooth inside, which reduces the amount of fibers the clothes lose, and using it can actually extend the life of your clothing.
But what else can I do to prevent microfibers entering the environment?
Tipps how to care for any synthetic garment—not just Arctic Flamingo leggings – to limit the shedding of microfibers in the wash:
1. Minimize how often you wash polyester or nylon clothes (my favourite).
2. Wash in cool water. The hotter your water, the more likely you’ll lose fibers.
3. Slow the spin cycle if possible.
4. Wash clothes in full loads to reduce the amount of friction between articles of clothing and decrease shedding.
5. Buying good quality yoga gear is also key. Cheap polyester that pill in the wash are releasing microfibres much more quickly.
6. Reduce or avoid the purchase of garments made of synthetic fibres to minimise the amount of microfibres entering the oceans through our washing machines. Purchasing clothing made of natural fibres (eg. organic cotton, linen, hemp, silk, wool) is the best course of action in the fight against microfibre pollution, but this isn’t always entirely possible because there isn’t currently a biodegradable material that has all the performance qualities necessary for active wear, swimwear or technical outdoor clothes. Synthetic fabrics–like nylon, polyester, and elastan –are perfectly suited for those kind of clothes because they wick moisture, stretch across the body and are durable. In these cases, aim to purchase the most eco-friendly and ethical product that you can afford and make sure to use a microplastic catching laundry bags when washing.
You can buy your Guppyfriend at our online-shop together with your Arctic Flamingo leggings and do your best avoiding microplastics landing to our waterways.
[Guppyfriend is an innovative solution by STOP! MICRO WASTE which is a non-profit organization initiated by LANGBRETT, a group of surfers and nature lovers. STOP! Micro Waste is dedicated to reduce the plastic pollution of our rivers and oceans. Profits from Guppyfriend sales are reinvested in further activities to address the microwaste problem and to avoid single-use plastics. Gotta love their work!]
Written by Inkeri, the founder of Arctic Flamingo