Blog Post: Thursday April 25, 2019

Fashion and Water Scarcity

Fashion and Water Scarcity

Certain ways of saving water are better known than others. By now, most of us know that we should not run the tap while brushing our teeth and that baths use much more water than showers. One of the lesser known facts is just how much fashion affects water scarcity. 

It can take 2.7k litres of water to produce a single t-shirt and 7.6k litres to make a pair of jeans. The same amount of water could fill 34 and 95 full bathtubs. 

This is the ‘embedded water’ we consume every day. With most major fashion brands introducing new collections almost every month, this creates a serious problem and greatly affects the availability and the quality of water resources. 

How could we reduce the amount of water we indirectly consume through clothing?

1. Purchase higher quality clothing.

Spending a significant amount of money on a pair of jeans may seem like a waste when there are £20 alternatives around. This view is quickly reversed when the cheap pair stains your other clothes in the wash, the seams don’t hold very well or the material becomes baggy. A good pair of jeans will not only last you years, but it will also save great amounts of water, which would have been embedded in the multiple low quality items.

2. Wash colours separately and turn items inside out

This small change makes a big difference. Washing clothing of different colours (dark and white) not only ensures that lighter garments won’t be destroyed by the dye from the darker ones, but also allows you to use detergents designed specifically for each type. 

Turning items inside out, will prevent them from fading. This will also protect any prints or decorative elements from cracking.

3. Button up and zip up 

This is crucial when washing hoodies with other more delicate garments. Open zippers and buttons can get stuck in other garments, which results in stretching or even ripping the material.

4. Dry the laundry on an airer instead of the tumble dryer

If you are lucky enough to own a tumble dryer, which doesn’t return your clothes a size smaller every time, this still doesn’t mean it’s good for your clothes. High temperature to which the garments are exposed during the washing cycle combined with the high temperature during the drying process put a strain on the fabric. This significantly reduces the lifespan of your favourite t-shirt. Using an airer or a clothesline will prevent this extra damage.

5. Avoid dry cleaning

 The harsh chemicals used in the dry cleaning process not only damage the fabric, but are also harmful for the environment. Avoiding dry cleaning whenever possible will extent the piece’s lifespan and save you quite a bit of money.