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Green Options › How To's › How To Green Your Clothing

How To Green Your Clothing

  1. Choose wisely. Even though that great shirt may look cool on the rack, if it doesn’t fit in your wardrobe, think twice.
  2. Take care of your clothes. There’s no need to wash your car in your new work suit. By taking care of your garments, you can extend their useful lives. Follow instructions on label. Hang drying or air drying adds considerable life to all clothes.
  3. Get clothes repaired or altered instead of buying something new.
  4. Think long and hard about clothes that need to be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning processes frequently involve the use of perc (also known as tetrachloroethylene), which is a known carcinogen. Silk, wool, and linen can often be washed by hand instead of dry cleaned. If professional cleaning is necessary, try finding a green cleaner that uses either liquid carbon dioxide or water (know as wet cleaning). Use Earth 911 to find local wet cleaners. In the San Francisco Bay Area, try Elephant Pharm. In New York, try Green Apple Cleaners.
  5. Wash your clothes with care. Use the lowest temperature setting. Turn garments inside out. Use biodegradable laundry detergent and line dry when you can. Use nontoxic stain removers. Look for Energy Star washing machines.
  6. Buy vintage.
  7. Buy organic and sustainable. Do your research. Make sure the products you get are actually what you think they are (organic doesn’t always mean made without toxic chemicals). Check out Nau, Enamore, The Green Loop, Patagonia, and others.  Also, check out BTC Elements for a sustainable boutique.
  8. Buy fair-trade. Check out SweatShop Watch, Behind The Label, Altiplano and Ten Thousand Villages for more information.
  9. Reuse or reinvent. Make an old pair of jeans into cut-off shorts.
  10. If you find something in the back of your closet that you just don’t want anymore, instead of sending it to the landfill, take it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Freecycle it.

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Green Options › How To's › How To Green Your Clothing