Carl Hanser Verlag
This paper discusses consumers’ wool washing habits and the possibilities for improving the laundering process with the aim of reducing the total environmental impacts of clothing consumption. Wool has great potential when compared to other fibres, such as cotton, especially when the energy per day of use is compared to energy per washing cycle. Wool products can be used longer between washing cycles due to the natural soil repellence, some washing can be replaced by airing, and the wool wash programs have lower washing temperatures and shorter washing cycles. Two surveys supplemented with in-depth interviews were conducted to study consumers’ clothing maintenance habits in Norway and Sweden. Results confirm that consumers use woollen products longer between washes than similar products made from cotton. However, there is still a potential to reduce the energy consumption from wool wash further both through technical washing program development and through changes in consumer behaviour.