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How Can We Solve the Issue of Microfibers?

by Gaute Hellerslia March 22, 2020 2 min read

Magnifying glass on microfiber

Hi you! This is quite a lengthy blog post (we usually prefer to keep them short and sweet). However, microfiber is a complex issue, hence the length. Also, at Oceanness, we constantly explore ways to solve the microfiber issue, and we want to ensure you that it is highly prioritized. If you only want tips on how to minimize your microfiber footprint, skip to the last paragraph.

The situation

Microfibers are defined as small synthetic fiber pieces less than five millimeters long. To date, no studies have shown that microfiber cause health problems (World Health Organization report on microplastic, published 20/08/20), and many scientists believe that it simply passes through in the digestive system. However, we are just starting to learn about microfiber, so it is important that we remain cautious. The issue of microfiber is a major ongoing challenge. Today, 60% of all clothes shed synthetic microfibers! But most fashion brands don’t even mention it and leaves the customer in the dark. Even many of the ecofriendly brands are surprisingly quiet on this issue. Here at Oceanness, we practice transparency in everything we do, and think it is important to also highlight our weaknesses. We are not perfect, but we strive every day to become a better version of ourselves (free life lesson for everyone right here).

What we are doing at Oceanness to minimize the issue

Since we first started Oceanness, we have always explored ways to reduce the shedding of microfibers. For instance, we are always trying to knit our clothes in a way that minimizes the shedding. Keep this in mind when you are buying clothes: high quality clothes usually shed less microfibers than cheaper alternatives.

We are also currently working on creating a high-tech, scientifically proven washing bag that prevents microfibers from entering the drain during washing. Our partners have more than 33 years of experience in the field, and we have already taken major steps together. We hope to release it on the market soon.

We also urge washing machine brands to make washing machines with microfiber filters (we encourage you to do the same!). A handful of Japanese manufacturers already do this, though European and US firms seem slow off the mark. Given the vast amount of clothes that shed microfibers, we believe that it should be a given that all washing machines filters microfibers. This is likely the most viable solution to the microfibers issue. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely unless there is increased consumer pressure or a change in law.

What you can do to minimize the issue

Until then, here are a few tips to minimize the shedding of microfibers:

  • Purchase the right washing machine when possible! Top-loading washing machines are the biggest sinners, and releases 7 times the microfibers as front loaders.
  • Wash lightly and dry your clothes outside. With the Oceanness t-shirt, it takes minutes rather than hours to dry outside.
  • Purchase high-quality apparel, as these shed less microfibers than poor quality apparel, according to a Bren School study.
  • Use products that can be used with your existing washing machine that collect some of the microfibers from washing. We recommend:

Gaute Hellerslia
Gaute Hellerslia

Founder of Oceanness. Enjoys the ocean, hanging out with friends, and exploring the world. Favorite ocean animal: Dolphins.



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