"45 percent of the water used during the lifecycle of a garment is during consumer care," according to Michael Kobori, V.P. of Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. "And when consumers wash then throw their pants in the dryer? That accounts for 58 percent of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions."
Simple measures to reduce this impact include washing clothes in cold water and line drying, as well as washing clothes less. Textiles such wool are even self-cleaning and do not need to be laundered often.
For those fabrics and textiles that do require more regular maintenance, consider not only how you wash your clothes, but with what. The Laundress garment care products are non-toxic, biodegradable and contain allergen-free materials. Their products are also free of controversial ingredients like petroleum, SLS, phosphate, phthalates, and dyes. The Laundress also takes it one step further, advocating that 99% of dry-clean-only labeled clothing is hand or machine washable, including delicate fabrics like silk and cashmere.