How to find out if microplastic fibres are released from clothing during washing.
How to find out if microplastic fibres are released from clothing during washing?
The aim of this activity is to investigate if microplastic fibres are released from clothing during washing.
- Different types of clothing, eg teeshirt, shorts, sock,
- Water, filtered so it does not contain any fibres
- Container to wash the clothing in
- Filter funnel
- Filter paper
- Jar to collect filtered water
- Note pad and pencil
Plan of action
- For each item of clothing, note what it is made from on the label.
- Wash the piece of material in water in a clean container.
- Remove the clothing from the water and wring it out, collecting all the wash water.
- Pour the water through the filter paper
- Open the filter paper until it is flat.
- Look at the filter paper under the microscope at x20 then x40
- Identify and count the microplastic fibres on the filter.
- Discard the filtered water
For each item of clothing, document the number, colour, size of fibres seen.
Pour clean water through a filter paper and show no fibres on the filter paper. This shows that any fibres seen in the experiment are from the piece of material washed, as the filter paper and water did not contain microplastic fibres.
Standard laboratory practice only. No extra risks .
Microplastic fibres are released from the clothing and are caught in the filter paper.
State if there is a difference in the number and description of the microplastic fibres between the different pieces of clothing.
Discuss if the results matter. What further experiments can be done?