Microplastic fibers that fall off during laundry are a potentially big problem because they can be ingested by aquatic organisms as they enter the drainage ditch,media reported. New research suggests that a short wash cycle minimizes the production of these fibers, while keeping clothes brightly colored. Scientists at the University of Leeds in the UK recently collaborated with procter and gamble experts in an experiment in which they washed clothes 32 times in a washing machine – each containing 12 dark and eight bright T-shirts and white square towels.
In this way they tested the color fastness of their clothes.
In the experiment, the researchers used traditional washing machines and Procter and Gamble’s Ariel bio-detergent. Half of the load was washed at 25 degrees C, with a washing time of 30 minutes, and the other half at 40 degrees C, with a washing time of 85 minutes.
When analyzing wastewater discharged from washing machines, the researchers found that the microfibres released from T-shirts (by weight) were reduced by 52 percent during a cycle with shorter washing times and lower washing water temperatures — and 74 fewer dyes were released by these T-shirts. Therefore, this allows only a small amount of dye to move from the shirt to the white square.
In addition, the researchers found that the laundry process at 20 degrees C also saved about 66 percent of the energy load.
Lead scientist Dr Richard Blackburn, of the University of Leeds, said: “These clothes are not cleaned because it adds a complex element to the dye attachment study. However, a detergent has been developed that provides the same cleanliness in a cold-fast cycle compared to a long-heated washing process. This is an important feature of this study, which shows the environmental benefits of this cold-fast wash cycle, and the need for consumers to compromise on cleaning. “
The study was published in Dyes and Pigments.