Skip to main content

Microplastic emissions from household washing machines: preliminary findings from Greater Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)


Microplastics have been recognized as emerging pollutants with potential ecotoxicological impact. The contribution of washing machine use to microplastics emission at the household level is still not completely understood. This study aims to characterize microplastic emissions in laundry water from household washing machines from Greater Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Microplastics were found between 6.9E-3 and 0.183 g/m3 in laundry water at household level. Microplastic shapes of fiber and fragment consist of polyester, nylon, and acrylic with average length of 2258.59 μm and were also identified in these laundry water samples. Questionnaire survey findings demonstrated fabric properties and washing parameters both likely contribute to microplastic emissions in laundry water and, ultimately, wastewater treatment plant influent. The impact of fabric properties and washing parameter factors on microplastic emission in laundry water at the household level merits further investigation. The findings of this study demonstrated the potential of laundry water as a microplastic source at the household level within a developing country.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


Download references


Partial support from the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (vote number: 5540245), Ministry of Higher Education (Malaysia) is highly acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Sarva Mangala Praveena has contributed to the main conceptual idea, study design and full article writing. Sarva Mangala Praveena and Melati Syahira have performed the experiments and analysed the entire data. Josephine Liew Ying Chyi has conducted the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of the filter samples.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarva Mangala Praveena.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This study has obtained approval from Ethics Committee for Research involving Human Subjects of University Putra Malaysia (UPM/TNCPI/RMC/ JKEUPM-2019-410). In this study, informed consent was used to introduce the participants about procedure and data handling in this survey.

Consent to publish

Not applicable

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article and its supplementary information files.

Additional information

Responsible Editor: Philippe Garrigues

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material


(DOCX 22 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Praveena, S.M., Syahira Asmawi, M. & Chyi, J.L.Y. Microplastic emissions from household washing machines: preliminary findings from Greater Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Environ Sci Pollut Res 28, 18518–18522 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Microplastics
  • Emission
  • Laundry water
  • Source