Guppyfriend Washing Bag on a pile of cute clothes

Guppyfriend: The Laundry Solution to Microplastic Pollution

Last Updated: September 24, 2022

Got microplastics? Guppyfriend is an innovative solution to microplastic pollution. We tried it out to see what all the hype is about.

By Mackenzie Sanford

Our clothes are made of plastic. Of course, not all of our clothes are so closely related to a lego brick, but a fair amount — like the yoga pants I can’t stop wearing and that acrylic sweater I found at the thrift store.

Plastic clothes might not seem like a big deal, but consider this: plastic clothes shed microplastics when they’re washed, and those microplastics can end up in our seas. In fact, microplastics make up around 35% of all plastic in the ocean. Suddenly, those colorful polyester button-ups in my closet seem a lot less snazzy and a lot more sinister. But all hope is not lost.

Guppyfriend is a new way to stop microplastics from shedding while you wash your synthetic clothes. I tried it out to see how it works, how it’s made, and how much it can fit (spoiler alert: it can almost fit a Golden Retriever).

Where do microplastics come from?

Everywhere! Well, not everywhere, but there’s a lot of plastic in the world and, subsequently, a lot of opportunities for microplastics to rear their tiny, ugly heads. Microplastics come from cosmetic glitter (look for biodegradable glitter instead, friends!) and microbeads in face scrubs (here are a few face scrubs made from natural exfoliants). Plus, they can shed off of larger plastic items such as plastic bottles, tires, and Tupperware.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. A major contributor to the microplastic problem is synthetic fiber — think exercise clothes and that 70s polyester dress in your closet. When you wash manmade fabrics, they shed microplastics that end up in wastewater — which is used to irrigate crops. As a result, microplastics have been found in apples, salt, and sugar. Not so sweet, right?

Fabrics that shed microplastics

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Lycra (aka spandex or elastane)
  • Acetate
  • Cotton blends
  • Microfiber
  • Synthetic satin or silk

What is Guppyfriend?

a cute golden retriever dog next to a large Guppyfriend mesh laundry bag

Guppyfriend is an innovative solution to microplastic pollution. It’s a mesh laundry bag that traps the microplastics your clothes shed, reduces the amount of shedding, and prevents the lil’ plastics that do shed from washing down the drain.

And look at the size of this thing! Ace, my handsome model, is a fully grown Golden Retriever, and he could probably fit inside the bag. Think of the countless pairs of workout pants it’ll hold! It’s huge — and this is just the medium size. Guppyfriend also comes in a large size for folks who really love athleisure and a small size (which probably would’ve been a better choice for me, but I’ve always enjoyed being a bit extra).

a Guppyfriend laundry washing bag on a pile of clothes

What is Guppyfriend made of?

Guppyfriend is made from polyamide 6.6, a fabric composed of undyed, untreated monofilaments that contain zero additives. Monofilaments themselves are a type of synthetic fiber — which sounds counterintuitive for a bag meant to prevent synthetic fabrics from shedding microplastics. But Guppyfriend is special.

It doesn’t shed because the fibers are made from sturdy sticks rather than flexible threads, which stops them from breaking off. And microplastics from your clothes won’t slip through Guppyfriend’s mesh because the bag’s design prevents microplastics from poking out vertically.

How do you use Guppyfriend?

a cute golden retriever dog laying on a Guppyfriend mesh laundry bag filled with clothes

Step 1: Fill ‘er up

Put your laundry in the bag. Easy! It’s best not to fill the bag to bursting — too full, and your clothes won’t be able to move around inside the bag and get properly clean. That said, you’d have to have a lot of dirty synthetics to fill this entire bag.

a Guppyfriend mesh laundry bag in the washing machine with other clothes

Step 2: Toss ‘er in

Toss the bag into your washing machine with your non-synthetic clothes. Guppyfriend recommends washing synthetic fibers in cold water because it helps reduce the amount of shedding — plus, it’s better for the environment. A win-win!

Step 3: Air dry

Tumble drying synthetic fibers, even in the Guppyfriend bag, can lead to shedded fibers that escape into the dryer. Hang your clothes outside to dry if the weather allows it, but you can also hang them inside if you’ve got the room.

So, how’d it work?

I was expecting to find a nice little lump of moist microplastic fibers tucked into the corners of the bag — but alas, my clothes didn’t shed enough microplastics for there to be a photographable outcome. Guppyfriend says this is because a) many microplastic fibers are transparent and hard to see, and b) the bag itself helps prevent fibers from shedding in the first place. I’ll take it!

Another thing I really like about Guppyfriend is that you can use it for more than just Lycra sports bras and vintage polyester — it’s also great for washing delicate items like hand-knit sweaters and fancy lingerie. Oh la la.

Overall, I’d rate it a 10 out of 10. While I’m disappointed I didn’t get to scoop a sopping wad of wet microplastics out of the corners, I have no doubt that it’ll catch microplastic fibers when they do decide to shed. I love how easy the bag is to use, and I feel less guilty about my faux silk kimono addiction knowing I can wash them without adding to the microplastic pollution crisis.

Photo of woman in bed holding mug Mackenzie Sanford Grove writer author

About the author: Mackenzie Sanford is a writer and musician eating microplastics in the Midwest.

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