We all love our (Core) merino wool garments because we love how comfortable wool makes us feel. However, at Core Merino we like to argue that there is another reason to love having wool in our closets and in our life: Wool helps us reduce our own environmental impact and therefore live a more sustainable life – something our planet urgently needs from all of us right now.
What do we mean by that? As you know, everything we humans do or use has an environmental impact in some way or the other. The same is true for our clothes as we need to regularly wash, dry and iron them. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research shows that the use phase of our clothes has actually the highest environmental impact compared to the production and manufacturing stages of a garment.
The environmental impact comes from water and energy use as well as the use of detergents and other chemicals. Just think about how often you wash your clothes (e.g. after one wear) and other home textiles such as towels and bed linen?
The good news is, however, that the use phase is exactly where each and every one of us can get active to reduce our own environmental impact. And surprise, surprise, we can reduce our impact by wearing wool. Let’s dive into the details.
The research identified that we typically wash our wool clothes less often compared to other clothes. On average a wool garment is worn 3 times before thrown in the washing machine compared to a cotton t-shirt being washed after 1,5 wears. The need to wash wool garments less often, is based on some of wool’s natural properties. Let’s have a closer look at some of them.
We hope you already noticed it, but if you haven’t let us tell you, that you will not so easily stink in your merino wool clothes. This is due to several characteristics of wool. First of all, wool moves heat and moisture away from your skin meaning less sweat can get in contact with the naturally existing bacteria on your skin. In addition, wool does not absorb nor release odours leaving your garments to smell less. If your wool garments don’t smell you can wear them multiple times before having to wash them.
Another cool characteristic of wool is that it is naturally stain resistant due to its hydrophobic properties. This means when you spill something like coffee or tomato sauce on your wool garment, the stain is not soaked in by wool but just sits on top of it. This makes it very easy to wipe off with a wet cloth. If you do get a little bit of a stain, tapping it with a wet cloth can often do the trick. Being easily able to avoid stains on your wool garment means you do not need to throw it into the wash that often.
Over the last few decades, we have become quite used to thinking that cleaning a garment from odours and stains means washing it in water. However, when it comes to wool, cleaning it with water is not always the best choice. The best cleaning method for wool is actually hanging in fresh air. Fresh air is the best way to remove odours from wool garments.
These three factors of odour and stain resistance in addition to cleaning wool in the fresh air lead to wool garments needing less washing. If you can get more wears out of your wool garments you will be able to save water, energy, washing liquids as well as money and your precious time.
Another area to look into when trying to reduce our own environmental impact are the cleaning methods used. We already mentioned the advantage of air cleaning earlier on but wool also has its benefits when it comes to our home appliances.
Looking at the care label of your Core merino wool garments will show you that the recommended washing temperature is either cold or 30°C. Wash cycles on low temperatures use less energy, which is better for our climate.
The care label will also recommend that you do not tumble dry your Core merino garment but rather line or flat dry it. Tumble dryers use a very high amount of energy. Being able to save this will further reduce your own environmental impact.
One more thing your care label will say is that the Core merino garment should be washed on a wool cycle, a feature most of today’s washing machines have. A wool cycle will run on lower temperatures as mentioned above but will also use less water and have a much shorter set time compared to other cycles. Less water and less time, meaning less energy used, will decrease your impact even further.
The last factor to look at when it comes to ways of reducing our environmental impact with wool is how long the garment will last. On average the lifespan of a wool t-shirt is 6 years, compared to 3.8 years of a cotton t-shirt. This is due to wool being a very durable fibre. It can be bent many times before it may break.
You may ask why durability is important when we wish to reduce our environmental impact? The longer garments last, the longer we can use them and do not need to replace them with a new garment. This saves additional resources and energy needed to produce the new garment. So while our business is to sell wool garments, we do hope you love, use and wear your Core merino garment for a very long time.
We hope this gives you some inspiration about what you can do for our planet by including more wool garments in your wardrobe. While there are many big environmental challenges we as a society need to solve, choosing clothes made of natural, long-lasting fibres like wool also helps our planet. As Vivienne Westwood once said: Choose well, choose wool.