Microfibres are the tiny fibres that release into the washing machine when fabrics are washed. All fabrics can release microfibres, particularly during vigorous washing machine cycles. However, only synthetic fabrics (all nylon, polyester, acrylic, rayon, viscose, lycra, fleece, and blends) release plastic microfibres - or microplastics. These fibres are non-biodegradable, and can end up in the food chain, in sea creatures, in drinking water, and in people.
Unfortunately, polyester is still by far the most suitable fabric for swimwear, with it’s durable, lightweight, and fast drying properties, and there isn't a decent alternative fabric available. Yet!
We’re on the hunt to find a biodegradable alternative for our board shorts. In the meantime, high-quality recycled polyester is a far better alternative than virgin polyester - shedding less microfibres per wash.
Microfibre shed is strongly linked to washing machine use, and particularly to strenuous spin cycles, so switch to hand-washing or very gentle machine washing.
There are lots of other things you can do to reduce the amount of micro plastics your washing releases.
- Wear only high quality, durable clothing. Cheaply made, poor quality swimwear deteriorates at a much faster rate, resulting in a much higher micro plastics release.
- Only wash your swimwear when it needs it, and hand wash if possible. DEFINITELY avoid rough spin cycles in the washing machine.
- If you do (gently) machine wash your swimwear - which we’ll admit, we usually do - pop them into a filtering wash bag specially designed to collect any microfibres that are released. We recommend Guppyfriend Washing Bags for this purpose. These bags catch any fibres that are relased, then you can scoop them out and put them in the bin. And try to wash in cold water.
- Avoid “sand-free” nylon and polyester towels. Turkish Towels are a far better option, made of biodegradable cotton, whilst being sand free, light weight, and easy to brush sand off.