Sustainable Laundry Tips from Spin

By Morgan Gary and Anthony Fusaro

Spin Laundry Lounge is Portland’s eco-focused laundry experience. After receiving her MBA in Sustainable Business, Owner Morgan Gary saw the opportunity to change the traditional laundromat into a community space that focuses on environmental and social sustainability and created Spin. Spin’s energy star rated Electrolux 450 G-force washers and dryers with Eco-power technology are the most energy efficient in the world. They use less energy and water than any other machines on the market. The washers weigh the laundry to decide how much water to use for each cycle and extract at such a high speed that it removes a majority of the moisture from the clothes meaning less time in the dryer or hang drying. The dryers also change direction in order to minimize dry time and wrinkles. The washing and drying process takes between 45 minutes and an hour. Sustainability is taken into account in every aspect of Spin — from the machines, to the soap products, to how we distribute donations and lost and found clothing. Spin’s sustainability initiatives are focused around the machines that we use and the education of sustainable laundry practices we share with our customers, so we can make a larger impact on the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

Here are our tips for sustainable laundry care:

Use Energy Efficient Front Load Washers We recommend using front load, energy efficient, and if possible an energy start rated washers. These not only use less energy and water, but also provide a better clean by eliminating the agitator and rinsing and draining during the cycle with clean water. The washers at Spin use an average of 8.5 gallons of water per load, whereas at home top load washers can use up to 45 gallons per load. It is also important to wash full loads of laundry to get the most out of your utility usage.

Use Cold Water It is more environmentally friendly to use cold water instead of warm or hot water because heating up the water uses a greater amount of energy and utility as well as degrades the color and integrity of the fabrics faster.

Use Delicate Cycles Delicate cycles provide less agitation and are more gentle on fabrics allowing your items to enjoy a longer life.

Use a Cora Ball to Reduce Microplastics in Waterways We recommend using a Cora Ball in the washer. Its patented design helps reduce microfibers and microplastics from going into the waterways. Spin is the only retailer in Oregon that sells Cora Balls and are available to purchase at both locations.

Use Hypoallergenic, Biodegradable, Fragrance Free Powdered Soap Spin offers complimentary Nellie’s soap with every single wash. It is a hypoallergenic, biodegradable and fragrance free powdered soap that is great for your laundry and machine. By using soaps with less chemicals and fragrances we are keeping them out of our waterways as well as out of your clothing so they don’t absorb into your skin.

Using powdered soap is important because it does not include the wasteful extra water that is used in liquid soaps. The water also makes liquid soap heavier and it takes more energy and resources to ship. It is also important to use less soap overall to make sure that it thoroughly rinses out of your clothing during the wash.

Stay Away from Dry Cleaners We sell a variety of sustainable soaps at Spin to care for nearly every specialty fabric such as wool, down, etc., so that you can save time and minimize chemicals that would be used at dry cleaners. Along with the special soaps, we also have specialty cycles that can wash everything from wool sweaters and blankets, down comforters and pillows, sleeping bags, tents, active wear, tech gear, yoga mats, tarps, bolts of fabric, climbing rope and shoes!

Hang Dry Your Laundry While we have the most energy efficient gas dryers on the market at Spin, we always encourage hang drying items as well. We even offer complimentary hangers at Spin to hang dry your items at our locations or for our customers to bring home with them. If you do need to use a dryer, Spin’s machines offer many heat options — high, medium, low and no heat. Low or no heat is always recommended for drying times and extend the life of your items.

If You are Using a Dryer, Use Wool Dryer Balls Wool dryer balls are an important alternative to single use dryer sheets. They do everything a dryer sheet does — softens fabrics and reduces static, but they also reduce drying time and wrinkles. And best of all, they are reusable! If you prefer a light scent, you can always add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to your wool dryer balls before throwing them into the dryer.

Give Your Clothing Extra Life

A survey in 2016 found that the average American tosses out 81 pounds of clothing each year, which amounts to 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes ending up in landfills. There are many ways to extend the life of your clothing so they don’t end up in a landfill. Here are some ways to try yourself:

• Share & Swap — Clothing swaps can be a fun way to get together with a small community of people to discover new laundry finds. We’ve partnered with non profits like Modify Style Portland in the past to host small clothing pop ups at Spin, but you can have a swap at a friend’s house, or look up clothing swaps in your own neck of the woods.

• Mend — Finding a hole in an item doesn’t have to mean the end of that clothing’s life. Mending is a great way to repair damaged items and minimizes the wasteful impact of fast fashion. If you don’t know how to mend, you can find Mending Workshops around town to equip you with the right tools to repair your items.

• Refresh & Alter — Add a patch, stitch a design, crop a pair of pants. There are many fun ways to refresh and alter the look of your clothes. Get creative and have some fun with it!

• Donate — Spin accepts clothing donations and donates items to local non profits in the community every week. We also match single socks with likeness and donate to those you need it most. We encourage you to donate your unwanted items to a group or cause that matters to you. Because everyone could use a blanket or pair of cozy socks to stay warm.

• Recycle & Repurpose — When it comes time to recycle your clothing, they can have a new purpose in life. You can donate your recycled fabrics to be repurposed into building insulation, or recycle your fabrics to a local craft store so someone can use them to design something new. Or try it yourself. Recycling and repurposing your fashion can be very rewarding and give you a fun new piece.

Happy Laundry Day!

Xoxo — The Spin Team

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