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Although the solutions below do not entirely remove microfiber pollution from the environment, it sure does make a difference on how much microfiber is released into our rivers and oceans. In an ideal world, we should completely stop wearing any type of synthetic clothing. But the reality is that synthetic clothing makes up 60% of clothes being used worldwide as it can be more affordable, and I believe we will need to wait awhile to change those statistics (you can read more about microfiber here). Instead of waiting, we can make a difference by using microfiber filters when we are doing our laundry. At the moment we have found that there are 3 popular types of microfiber filters that we can invest in to help to greatly reduce microfiber pollution.
1. Wolven Threads Microfiber Filter Wash Bag Review
Product: Wolven Threads – Microfiber Filter Wash Bag
Where to Buy: Wolven Threads
Size: 50 x 70 cm
My Rating: 9/10
This laundry wash bag was specially made to filter out the tiny little particles of plastics that shed from the recycled plastic bottle active wear from going into the laundry wastewater. As this wash bag is mono filament, which means it is made out of a single thread of synthetic fiber, it actually filters out any type of synthetic clothing/clothing made out of microfibers. After a few washes, you can start to see the microfibers collecting at the bottom of the bag. You can collect the microfibers inside a plastic bottle, so that it doesn’t find its way into our ocean (I know this is not ideal, perhaps we can try to find creative ways to use these accumulated tiny particles to make teddy bears?). By the way, don’t fully fill up the bag, or else the clothes will rub against each other and release even more microfibers.
- Prevents up to 90% of microfibers from entering wastewater
- Everytime you purchase from Wolven Threads, they remove one pound of waste from the ocean
- Perfect fit for our active wear
- Only one size available
- May be quite small if you wish to put bigger garments inside
Do keep in mind that Wolven Threads only provide free shipping if you shop above USD$49 in the U.S., and above USD$99 for international shoppers.
2. Cora Microfiber Laundry Ball Review
Product: Cora – Microfiber Laundry Ball
Where to Buy: Earth Hero Eco Friendly Online Shop (this is one of my favorite eco friendly online shops, you can use my special 10% OFF coupon code below, if you choose to buy this product or other products from this shop)
Coupon Code: FERNANDA (please note this code cannot be used on sale items, cannot be paired with other coupons, cannot be used on Gift Cards, TerraCycle boxes, Zeal Optics, or Naturepedic products)
Price: USD$37.99 (original price without discount)
Size: about the size of a softball
My Rating: 6/10
The Cora microfiber laundry ball is made out of 100% recycled plastic, and manufactured in the U.S. The way it functions was inspired by actual corals in the ocean, trapping foreign particles that are in the water. All you need to do is throw it in your laundry machine, and that’s it! It can take many washes to be able to see any of the fibers at all (although it does depend on the machine, clothes, water temperature, and number of clothes inside the machine). They recommend that you do not put in any delicate apparel, as it can get stuck in the Cora ball. When you begin to see fibers on the Cora ball, you can remove it as if you were removing hair from a hair brush.
- Very easy to use
- Can put bigger garments/bed sheets inside the machine and still use the Cora ball
- Although not its main function, it can also catch a lot of hair and pet hair
- Long life span, and it can be recycled
- Collects only about 26% of the microfibers that is released into the water
- Very mixed reviews about its capability to catch microfibers – some positive reviews but quite a few negative reviews – apparently it could be that the hair and other types of fiber that get stuck into it are more helpful at removing the microfibers, so in the end no one is able to see the microfibers being thrown out since they are so small
Although the Cora ball is a great concept, I am not sure it’s the best idea to use it by itself to reduce the number of microfibers getting into our wastewater. According to Forbes, there has been research done that mentions that the Cora ball may work well together with a microfiber filter that is installed in the washing machine (which you can read about below). The Cora ball may not be the best option, but if you are washing big garments that do not fit inside a microfiber filter wash bag, it may be better than nothing.
3. Filtrol 160 Washing Machine Filter Review
Product: Filtrol 160 – Washing Machine Filter Review
Where to Buy: Amazon
It Comes With: Canister with O-ring, lid, wall bracket, 1 filter bag, part bag including (1) 3/4″ x 1″ elbow fitting, (1) 1″ x 1″ elbow fitting and (1) 3/4″ x 1″ straight fitting, 2 hose clamps, 5 feet of hose
My Rating: 9/10
The Filtrol 160 is a reusable inline filter which should fit in any type of residential washing machine. It works by attaching the filter to an existing drain hose from a washing machine, which then catches the microfibers (as well as lint, hair, etc) before it is able to reach our wastewater.
- Catches 89% of microfiber that is released in the washing machine, and keep in mind that it’s of all the garment that is in the washing machine (unlike using just a microfiber filter bag)
- 15-30 minutes installation time
- Only need to replace the filter bag every 1 to 2 years
- More costly than the other options
- Although not a long installation time, installation can be a little complicated (super important that you make sure your machine fits the guidelines below)
Before considering purchasing this filter, you will need to know the following:
- Location of your washing machine – need to make sure that you don’t install it under a low hanging cabinet, as it will make it too difficult for you to remove the filter to clean. You need at least 24 inches, so that you can take out the canister from the bracket mounted on the wall to ensure it’s draining properly. As well, it needs to be located on top of the drain location
- Measure your discharge hose – just to make sure it’s the right fitting, otherwise they do sell some sort of adapter on the side
- Bracket to the wall attachment – need to make sure that when you screw the bracket to the wall, you need to drive it into a stud (as the canister gets very heavy when it fills up with water).
- Cleaning – Need to clean the filter after 8-10 washes. Hand wash, never wash it inside the washing machine.
I believe that this is probably one of the best ways to filter our the microfiber from entering the waste water. But depending on your budget, you do other have choices above that you can use. And don’t forget, you can always use a combination of these products to try to reduce the microfibers from getting into our wastewater as much as possible.
Tips To Reduce Microfibers From Shedding
- Use front loader washing machines if possible, apparently it reduces the shedding of microfibers by a lot
- Wash with cold water
- Use eco friendly liquid detergent, as it creates less friction when washing (you can purchase it here, just search for “Eco Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent”)
- DO NOT use the dryer
- Do not need to wash your clothes so often, specially recycled plastic active wear, as they are made with antimicrobial material
And of course, one of the most obvious one is buy less synthetic clothes! And if you do, you should buy high quality synthetic clothing, as they shed fewer microfibers and last much longer.
Now That We Have The Knowledge, What Can We Do?
I agree that big corporations should take responsibility for the pollution that they are causing in the environment. The truth is that there are actually decent companies that acknowledge this and try to give a solution to the consumer. But a lot of companies still don’t. So in a way it’s our responsibility to take action and also educate our friends and family to do the same. I believe if we reduce buying so a good deal of synthetic clothing, and use one of these filters, we can already make a big difference in our environment. Besides, you will feel much better knowing that you will be polluting less!
Have you tried any of these microfiber filters before? Feel free to share your review about them below!