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Zara's new laundry detergent reduces microfiber shedding by up to 80%

Every time clothes are washed, millions of microfibers are released into the water system. That's not much of an issue if those fibers are cotton, wool, linen or any other natural material. But if the tiny strands come from synthetic fabrics like polyester, rayon and nylon, they're a significant contributor to microplastics in oceans.

Offering consumers a simple solution, Zara just launched the first laundry detergent designed to minimize microfiber shedding during washing. Developed in collaboration with BASF Home Care and I&I Solutions Europe, the liquid detergent is said to reduce microfiber release by up to 80%, depending on the type of fabric and how it's washed. Laboratory testing also found that the formula is suitable for washing at low temperatures (down to 20°C), decreasing energy consumption. 

The Laundry is sold at Zara Home in 750 ml bottles for EUR 9.99. Other brands might follow; Inditex stated that "the formulation can be adjusted to enable the use of this technology by other detergent manufacturers."

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Scientists estimate that textiles in the form of synthetic microfibers produce 35% of the microplastic pollution in the world's oceans. Which is France passed legislation requiring all new washing machines, starting January 2025, to be equipped with microfiber filters.

Solutions currently available to consumers include adding filters to existing machines, placing synthetic fabrics inside a bag when laundering or adding a ball that captures microfibers. None of these options is perfect. Where Zara's new detergent shines is in its ease of use. People don't need to install anything or adjust their habits: they just wash their clothes as usual.

When brands contribute to massive problems like marine microplastic pollution, consumers increasingly expect them to offer solutions, too. Next step? Lower prices to democratize access to harm-reducing products like Zara's detergent.

Innovation of the day