​Aftermarket Washing Machine Filters – Do You Need One?

When asked about washing machine filters, the response from many consumers is, “What is that?”

As far as pollution mitigation and conservancy goes, washing machine filtration is still a relatively new conversation. It really became a topic of discussion in the mid-2010’s, as companies like Patagonia leading a discussion about taking environmental responsibility for micro-plastics. Since then, it’s a been a steadily growing movement of people who recognize that we cannot shamelessly and thoughtlessly consume without considering the implications of our industrialized society.

Our innovations have a cost. The convenience of one-time-use plastics and manufacturing advancements require some environmental accountability from all of us: as manufacturers, as innovators, and as consumers. We need to be making good choices with our use of plastic while also creating effective solutions for plastic’s impact in our world.

Aftermarket Washing Machine Filters

Do you need a filter for your washing machine?

This is more a question about what you’re washing and where your water goes when it drains from your washing machine. The majority of clothes worn are part of the “Fast Fashion” movement (cheap clothing made of man-made fibers). With each wash, these fabrics shed microscopic fibers that are actually made of plastic. The water that leaves your washing machine — and ultimately your home — is filled with thousands of pieces of plastic. Whether it ends up in your septic or your city’s water treatment system depends entirely on where you live.

But the results are the same. Filtration isn’t catching these plastic particles, and they ultimately end up in our freshwater sources, in our food supplies, and scattered throughout our ecosystem.

The short answer is that you do need an aftermarket washing machine filter. The right one can stop more than 90% of the plastic that would otherwise be dumped into our ecosystem.

At Filtrol, we’re committed to two vital initiatives:

  1. Education – We recognize that most people don’t do anything about the plastic pollution problem in our world because they either don’t know about it or they don’t know what they can do about it. The more they know, the more equipped they are to make a difference.
  2. Solutions – The Filtrol is addressing the problem of microfiber pollution. With each iteration and update to the technology, we are effectively stopping plastic in its tracks and protecting the ecosystem that we value so much.

As you consider whether you should install an aftermarket washing machine filter to your laundry, take a look through some of the resources we’re providing to both educate and equip you for the fight for the environment, our most precious resource.

Plastic Pollution, Drinking Water, and Our Job to Clean Up the Environment

Is plastic pollution in our drinking water killing us?

In August of 2019, the World Health Organization announced that they could not find any measurable connection between plastic-polluted drinking water and health issues in humans. This absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence. Just because connections haven’t been made between plastic pollution and health problems, that doesn’t mean there’s no effects that will be discovered.

Plastic, after all, is a relatively new invention. It’s just a little over 100 years old.

WHO is not suggesting that plastic-contaminated water is healthy. With scientists predicting that plastic can take 1,000 years or longer to decompose in a landfill, the long-term effects of plastic in our ecosystem and in our bodies has yet to truly be determined. We need more time and more research to determine the true implications of its presence.

It’s About More than Our Health

At Filtrol, our efforts to remove plastic from everyday use so that we can remove it from our ecosystem is about more than effects to our drinking water or our health. 

We want to do everything we can to protect our planet. We are committed to creating a system of accountability for manufacturers who are contributing to the massive amounts of synthetic materials in our natural environment. We are working to engineer the most effective filtration and mitigation solutions to address the massive quantities of synthetic fibers pouring into our environment. We’re addressing the problem for its impact on us, on our food and water, on wildlife, and on the environment we love. 

It’s about more than our drinking water. 

While we don’t yet know the true implications of plastic in our food and water, we do know that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet. At Filtrol, this means that we’re moving forward one day at a time, with new technology, new solutions, and new innovations to stop plastic from ever leaving your home.

​Single-Use Plastics, Pollution, and Coronavirus

It may seem to many to be an odd connection, but the Coronavirus global pandemic has triggered an uptick in the sale, use, and disposal of single-use plastics across the globe.

The reasons for this surge in plastic usage are varied. Some make sense. Some are based in misinformation. Others are somewhat outside of our control.

As people have managed shelter-in-place orders, they’ve relied upon various types of pre-packaged or processed foods, much of which comes packaged in plastic in some capacity. Bottled water, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer bottles, cleaning agents, disposable masks and gloves…and the list goes on. People have gone to what they believe to be a safer option, with plastics that they can use once and then never touch again.

Not all of these decisions are being made by consumers. Restaurants, only able to provide take-out orders, must package to-go food so it can be delivered or picked up. This most often generates plastic waste. Think of the amount of plastic silverware, containers, and bags that have been used since this pandemic started shutting down life as we know it. 

This plastic influx has been furthered with the standard instituted by many grocery stores that do not allow shoppers to bring in reusable, cloth grocery bags. The fear is that reusable bags can further spread the virus. While no evidence suggests that there’s a calculable difference in risk between those using plastic grocery bags and those using reusable, the point is that our culture has changed. Precaution and concern has forced many of us into positions of plastic use where we previously had the option of being choosier.

And another example of excessive plastic use within this pandemic is best summarized in this article from the World Economic Forum

“And the imperative to prevent the spread of coronavirus means tonnes of medical waste is being generated. For example, hospitals and aged care facilities have been advised to double-bag clinical waste from COVID-19 patients. While this is a necessary measure, it adds to the plastic waste problem.”

Regardless of the reasons, we have to be constantly assessing the impact that our decisions are having on the ecosystem we are so desperately dependent upon. At Filtrol, we understand that situations come up that force our hands to use plastic in ways that damage our planet. We support the efforts being made to end this virus with as little loss of human life as possible. We also remain committed to helping stop the constant and costly release of plastics into our ecosystem.

Lint Interceptors and Commercial Laundry Standards

What is a lint interceptor?

Lint interceptors are often required by municipalities for commercial laundry facilities and laundromats. They are intended to remove lint and other debris from wastewater that gets dumped into city wastewater systems. These municipal systems are not equipped to filter out the lint and debris that commercial laundry equipment flushes out, and so a lint interceptor is installed as an additional line of defense for our water treatment systems and our ecosystem.

Depending on the way that plumbing is structured in the building, the lint interceptor can be installed either directly onto the floor or underneath. Regardless of how it is installed, its the effectiveness of filtration that truly determines whether the solution is adequately protecting our ecosystem from harmful pollutants and plastics.

Do Lint Interceptors Stop Plastic Pollution?

The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) requires lint interceptors for any commercial laundry machine. These devices are required, by the UPC code, to filter materials down to .5” (half-inch) in size. This standard basically removes large items such as strings and buttons from the wastewater before it enters treatment, but it does little to nothing at all to slow the influx of microplastics into the ecosystem.

For the best available lint interceptor on the market, check out H-M Company, a commercial laundry equipment company out of Cincinnati, Ohio. They make the best standard lint interceptors available on the market. They manufacture custom-fabricated lint traps that can be specifically engineered to a company’s — or a municipality’s — filtration standards. Learn more here

Wondering what you can do to stop plastic before it hits our ecosystem? We can help! 

Plastic and…What Else?

What’s In Your Wash?

Did you know that recycling isn’t solving the problem of plastic? There are some who would cringe at that statement, as though it means that we shouldn’t recycle. The fact of the matter is that recycling is simply making the best of a massive plastic problem, but it’s not solving it.

Recycling is repositioning the plastic problem.

Every time you do your laundry, you’re flushing tens – and even hundreds – of thousands of microfibers down the drain in your wastewater. These microfibers come off of your clothes, and they are microscopic (less than 5mm) pieces of plastic. These microplastics leaves your home, enter your septic or sewage system, and ultimately end up in drain fields and freshwater sources. They’re ultimately found high in the Rocky Mountains, deep within the earth’s natural springs; even the most remote parts of the globe. They’re in our drinking water. They’re being consumed by our food sources. They’re everywhere. 

It’s Bigger than Plastic

But plastic microfibers aren’t all that enter our water from our washing machines. Microparticles of all sorts, shapes, sizes, and sources end up attached to our clothes. They run through our laundry and end up flushed into our environment. From glitter to sheetrock dust and metal shavings, our laundry is wreaking havoc on our environment. 

Some of the particles that escape our homes and enter our ecosystem breakdown or cause minimal lasting issues. Others, however, are much more consequential. In any given load of laundry, you could find:

  • Micro fibers: synthetic and natural fibers from clothing
  • Micro plastics: Glitter, wrappers
  • Micro beads: face wash, toothpastes, detergents
  • Sand, dirt
  • Hair: human and pet
  • Fines such as sheetrock dust
  • Metal shavings
  • Organics: food, grass, etc.

How can we protect our ecosystem from the pollutants in our wastewater? 

The only real way to protect our ecosystem from the plastic being flushed with each load of laundry is to stop the production, distribution, and use of all plastics. Since that’s not going to happen in our lifetime, we have to stop them from ever leaving our homes. 

And we need to stop all of the pollutants that are impacting our environment. 

Filtrol does the job to stop pollutants before they ever leave your home. Our after-market solution is compatible with any washing machine, and it’s solving the microfiber and micro particle pollution problem by filtering the water before it is flushed from your home. Learn more by watching this video.

Start doing your part and Get Back to Real Water

Buy a Filtrol 160 for your home and stop micro-particles from ever leaving your home. 

​How to Add a Filter to your Washing Machine

Synthetic fibers are being manufactured from recycled plastics, and our closets are filled with the leading contributor to plastic pollution in our world. Recycled plastic is being used in the “Fast Fashion” industry, where clothing can be manufactured cheaply. The problem with these synthetic fabrics is how much they shed. With each wash, thousands, and even millions, of microscopic pieces of plastic are being flushed from your washing machine and out with your home’s wastewater.

Modern washing machines do not filter out fine particles or microfibers that are released from your clothing in the washing process. Many new models have coarse filtration to catch large strings and items like buttons. Fine particles that contribute to the synthetic microfiber pollution problem, however, escape the filter.

So if you want to do your part to prevent this hard-to-see pollutant, you will have to install an aftermarket filter.

  • The first step to determine what type of washing machine filter will best suit your needs is to look at the physical space you have available. Aftermarket washing machine filters typically mount on the wall behind or along side your washing machine and require a space 12”t x 8” w x 8” deep.
  • You also have to consider the plumbing and maintenance. The Filtrol, for example, has a lid on the top of the unit that needs to be removed for maintenance so you will need at least 4” of space above the Filtrol so proper servicing.
  • The drain hose that connects the bottom of the filter to your drain pipe must also flow properly or you will create an air lock or the unit will not drain quickly enough.

If you are looking for an example installation,  check out this video on the Filtrol 160 installation.

Microfiber Filtration for Laundromats

Lint interceptors are commonly installed in modern laundromat facilities, especially if  local codes require them. Current code regulations only require filtering for particles down to ½” in length. This means that current standards are catching large particles but are doing little (if anything at all) to stop the millions of microscopic pieces of plastic and lint that are discharged from a machine with each wash.

As you look at your own laundromat and the steps being taken to stop this massive microfiber problem, consider a few key principles to keep in mind when looking for a lint trap at your laundromat.

  • You will have to know the quantity of washing machines you have. As you count the number of lint filters you’ll need to purchase and install in your space, you may be able to find a broader, more strategic purchasing, installation, and maintenance plan.
  • You should be able to approximate the volume of water use each laundry discharges. Most lint interceptors are designed based on the peak flow they receive.
  • You will also want to consider the maintenance cycle on the lint trap you select. Many options currently available on the market require frequent manual cleaning. This maintenance is an additional overhead expense that you’ll want to include in your overall decision process. So if you have hands off approach you may want to consider a lint interceptor with a self-cleaning option. These require more capital investment but labor savings are typically worth the price.

Laundromat owners are responsible to maintain the local codes for lint and microplastic mitigation. As you consider the options available to you, make sure you’re keeping the standards you must keep while also choosing the solution that works best for your operation.

​Microplastics: A Microscopic Problem of Epic Proportions

Microplastic Pollution. It’s a conversation that’s gaining momentum. With a greater emphasis on social responsibility and with more ways for normal, everyday people to make a difference in very practical ways, the issue of microfiber pollution is becoming more commonly known and more frequently discussed. From considering what efforts we can make to slow down plastic’s snowballing effects to looking for solutions that will address the problem in practical ways, the microplastic conversation is taking place around the globe.

So What Is Plastic Pollution?

We’re not talking about milk jugs floating down the  Cuyahoga  or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We’re not addressing the massive problem that plastic grocery bags are to our ecosystem or the issues that plastic water bottles are having in countries having water crises. Though these are all legitimate issues that need to be addressed.

The plastic pollution that we’re talking about here is microscopic in size and massive in impact. It’s small enough that it looks harmless (and has subsequently been dismissed as inconsequential for decades). But now, with more research and more conversations being led by environmental enthusiasts as well as by business owners, politicians, and entrepreneurs, microfibers are being seen as a credible threat to our ecosystem.

Microscopic pieces of plastic are being found everywhere you can imagine. From the top of the Rocky Mountains to the depths of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. From the fish you catch in the river to the pint of India Pale Ale at your dinner table. Plastic is found in the food you’re eating and in the water you’re drinking. It’s everywhere.

What’s Causing Plastic Pollution?

Much of what is described as innovation or progressive movements in modern manufacturing is exacerbating the microplastic pollution problem that needs to be addressed. When plastics are recycled, they’re often re-engineered to be used for many common household items, including that shirt that you’re wearing. 60% of our fabrics are actually made of plastic.

The synthetic fibers we wear regularly shed with every wash. Every load of laundry dumps tens—even hundreds—of thousands of these microscopic particles into the wastewater that leaves your home. The particles are small enough to pass by filtration and treatment processes and end up spit back into our ecosystem. And because they’re plastic, they don’t go away. Ever.

The problem goes beyond our fabrics. Plastics are found in everyday, household cleaners. They’re in cosmetics and soaps. They’re manufactured by the wonders of modern technology. But they don’t go away and have found their way in every corner of our world. 

So How Bad is It?

This is a bigger conversation than a few statistics or some pictures of plastic-ridden water, and it’s one that we at Filtrol are excited to be part of. According to great organizations like  oceana.org, “An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources every year—this is roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute.” 

The conversations that are happening can help you find ways to make a significant difference for the problem. And as the conversation continues, do everything you can to stay informed of the problem that’s facing us and to stay aware of the solutions that are available to us. Some solutions start with the kinds of clothes you buy or the kinds of soaps you use. Some solutions involve changing the way you live or simply educating yourself about the products you’re using. All of the solutions are aiming to face a massively impacting microscopic problem. 

Lint Traps and Code Compliance for Your Washing Machine

When is a lint trap required by code?

The uniform plumbing code (UPC) or international plumbing code (IPC) is enforced in almost every state in the US. This code is commonly used because it creates a consistent set of rules and regulations across state lines. Each state can have slight variations and can choose to be more restrictive, so it’s important to verify code requirements for your state or local jurisdiction.

The lint interceptor requirement is found under UPC 1003.6.It states that a clothing washing machine must discharge into an interceptor to remove particles larger than ½” prior to discharging to a public sewer system. Most states require washing machine lint traps or interceptors for commercial buildings or multi-dwelling properties such as assisted living facilities or apartment complexes. Individual homes or dwellings are not required by code to have a lint trap, though it is highly recommend.

The Filtrol has been used successfully in many commercial properties to meet the UPC 1003.6 code requirements for lint filtration. The Filtrol far surpasses the code requirement of filtering down to ½”. It uses a reusable, easy-to-maintain 100-micron filter media which removes the majority of contaminates from your washing machine discharge.

For assistance with approvals using the Filtrol in your next building project, contact us.

Aftermarket Washing Machine Filters

A Simple Solution to Microfiber Pollution

Washing machine filters are not currently required by washing machine manufacturers, which is why few brands offer them. The washing machines sold on the market that do have filters pre-installed are doing very little to catch lint or microfibers before they enter our ecosystem. Instead, these filters are in place to protect the washing machine discharge pump from sucking up large items like strings and buttons. The lint and microfibers within the washer’s waste water is discharged from the machine and enters our lakes, rivers, streams, wildlife, and food.

This process accounts for much of the microfiber pollution in our ecosystem.

Filtrol has been manufacturing an inline, after-market lint filter for over 15 years. This aftermarket washing machine filter installs in less than 15 minutes on your washing machine discharge hose. A wall mounting bracket secures the filter in place on a nearby wall and gravity does the rest. The 100 micron filter bag inside the Filtrol canister has been proven to remove up to 89% of microfibers released by your washing machine.

These filters are known to reduce drain line plugging from lint, prevent clogging your septic system, and reduce your impact on the environment by drastically reducing the amount of microfibers that are released into waterways.

The Filtrol is a simple step forward in solving the issues caused by microfiber. For more information and to learn more, check out the Filtrol overview video