Have you thought about what actually happens when you casually throw your clothes into the washing machine? Here are seven things you might not have known happen when they tumble around in there:
Shrinkage - How many knit sweaters have you taken out of the machine and banished yourself when they look like they fit a three-year-old? Too high a temperature and the mechanical processing in a washing machine easily shrinks especially more delicate fibers like wool.
Lost shape - Have you ever taken a t-shirt out of the machine that you no longer recognize? The combination of moisture, heat and mechanical action deforms the fabric, sometimes making garments crooked and unrecognizable.
Pills - Pills are small balls of excess fibres that creep out of the fabric (this is why new garments are more likely to knot than older ones).
Colours fade, and white garments turn grey - A pair of black jeans will not stay black for long and often lose their lustre with the first wash. Fabrics containing elastane easily turn grey (from white) and never regain their whiteness. Not to mention white socks...
Holes - this is often due to zips or zipper pulls leaving holes in the laundry as they run through the washing machine, bleach or stain remover residues getting stuck in the garment or a defect in the inside of the machine/rubber bellows.
Clothes become stiff and rough - usually because we've used the wrong detergent, loaded the machine too full or the water is hard.
Functional finishes are washed away (like impregnation, flame retardants, bactericidal odour removers like silver and others that also destroy the treatment plants on their journey from your washing machine) - Hear more about the effects of washing and research about functional textiles in our podcast episode How we care for textiles - or most of the time not - with textile proffessor Vincent Nierstrazs from the University of Borås, Sweden.
We hope this made you a little less eager to wash, and more eager to mist your clothes. That way you can extend the life of your favorite clothes for a long, long time!