Washing Machine Scientists Recommend a Cold Express to Minimise Sea Plastification

By Gary Cutlack on at

The best way to stop your exotic collection of Mountain Warehouse fleeces shedding millions of plastic particles each time they go through the wash is by using less water, with researchers discovering it's the quantity of water run through a machine that determines how many micro-strands of navy blue polyester enter the waste water system.

The other Amazing Fact You Can't Even is that this means delicate cycles are not better for keeping fibres attached to clothes, as the degree of agitation fabrics go through has no relation to how many fibres are released. The study used cameras to record how many fibres were shed from identical polyester loads, with a delicate wash generating 1.4 million little bits of material, a normal setting pulling off 800,000, and a cold and quick setting releasing just 600,000.

Delicate cycles use more water, they say, as the water protects the clothes from taking too much of a beating. The things you learn. Researcher Max Kelly explained: "Previous research has suggested the speed the drum spins at, the number of times it changes spinning direction during a cycle and the length of pauses in the cycle -- all known as the machine agitation -- is the most important factor in the amount of microfibre released. But we have shown here that even at reduced levels of agitation, microfibre release is still greatest with higher water volume-to-fabric ratios."

So really ram your machine full if you want to stop the fish eating so many bits of jumper. [Newcastle University via Sky News]