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From Wearing Off to Wearing On: The Meanders of Wearer–Clothing Relationships
Open AccessArticle

Laundry Care Regimes: Do the Practices of Keeping Clothes Clean Have Different Environmental Impacts Based on the Fibre Content?

1
Consumption Research Norway (SIFO), Oslo Metropolitan University, 0130 Oslo, Norway
2
Kettlewell Consulting, Unit 2, 33 Clovelly Road, Hornsby, Sydney 2077, Australia
3
Integrity Ag & Environment, 10511 New England Highway, Highfields 4352, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7537; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187537
Received: 11 August 2020 / Revised: 31 August 2020 / Accepted: 10 September 2020 / Published: 12 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Clothing Consumption: Circular Use of Apparel)
Clothing maintenance is necessary for keeping clothing and textiles functional and socially acceptable, but it has environmental consequences due to the use of energy, water and chemicals. This article discusses whether clothes made of different materials are cleaned in different ways and have different environmental impacts. It fills a knowledge gap needed in environmental assessments that evaluate the impacts based on the function of a garment by giving detailed information on the use phase. The article is based on a quantitative wardrobe survey and qualitative laundry diary data from China, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA. The largest potential for environmental improvement exists in reducing laundering frequency and in the selection of washing and drying processes, and through a transition to fibres that are washed less frequently, such as wool. Adopting best practice garment care would give larger benefits in countries like the US where the consumption values were the highest, mainly due to extensive use of clothes dryers and less efficient washing machines combined with frequent cleaning. These variations should be considered in environmental assessments of clothing and when forming sustainability policies. The results indicate the benefits of focusing future environmental work on consumer habits and culture and not only technologies. View Full-Text
Keywords: laundry; clothing; energy use; water use; maintenance; dry clean; clothes dryers; fibre content; wardrobe audit; laundry diary laundry; clothing; energy use; water use; maintenance; dry clean; clothes dryers; fibre content; wardrobe audit; laundry diary
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MDPI and ACS Style

Laitala, K.; Klepp, I.G.; Kettlewell, R.; Wiedemann, S. Laundry Care Regimes: Do the Practices of Keeping Clothes Clean Have Different Environmental Impacts Based on the Fibre Content? Sustainability 2020, 12, 7537. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187537

AMA Style

Laitala K, Klepp IG, Kettlewell R, Wiedemann S. Laundry Care Regimes: Do the Practices of Keeping Clothes Clean Have Different Environmental Impacts Based on the Fibre Content? Sustainability. 2020; 12(18):7537. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187537

Chicago/Turabian Style

Laitala, Kirsi; Klepp, Ingun G.; Kettlewell, Roy; Wiedemann, Stephen. 2020. "Laundry Care Regimes: Do the Practices of Keeping Clothes Clean Have Different Environmental Impacts Based on the Fibre Content?" Sustainability 12, no. 18: 7537. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187537

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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