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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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Results of research published today by a Newcastle University team into what affects the shedding of plastic microfibres in the wash, is throwing something of a challenge at our industry.

The research, which you can read below, reveals that it is the volume of water used during the wash cycle, rather than the speed or 'aggression' of the machine's drum, which has the most impact on the number of microfibres released. The higher the volume of water, the higher the number of fibres released - regardless of the speed and abrasive forces of the machine. Interestingly, on average, 800,000 more fibres are released in a delicate wash than a standard cycle.

This contradicts previous research which suggested that the spin speed and the number of times the drum changes direction during a cycle, as well as the duration of the many pauses in the cycle, was the most important factor in the amount of microfibre released.

This new research has found that the high volume of water used in a delicate cycle (which is supposed to protect sensitive clothing from damage) actually 'plucks' away more fibres from the material - damaging not only our environment but the delicates being washed!

We consumers will need to be encouraged more than ever to wash full loads rather than leaving our machines half empty, which boads well for our future energy consumption as well as our water supplies.

Of course, all of this will need to be balanced with ensuring that we achieve a wash that's properly clean, won't it?

Back to the drawing board then...


Jan Hobbs



26th September 2019

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