I recently have noticed a lot of brightly colored plastic hangers are on sale. It must be the beginning of school and everyone is getting ready. Seeing those hot pink, tan, orange, white, blue, and lime green hangers got me to thinking about which hangers are the more environmentally friendly option, as well as which ones I like better.

I see that there are four basic options for clothes hangers:

1. wire hangers ( metal hangers , like you get from the dry cleaners)

metal clothes hanger
2. plastic hangers, like the brightly colored ones that caught my eye

plastic hanger
3. wooden hangers

4. velvet hangers (though they are padded versions of one of the above styles)

velvet hanger

I suspect there are other types out there, but those are the three that come to my mind immediately. Which hangers do you like and use most? I have all four types in my closets.

Mostly I seem to use the wire / metal hangers. They are plentiful and do the work they were designed for, in most cases. But there are times I absolutely don’t want wire, so then turn to one of the other three styles.

My coats, especially the heavy, full-length coats get wooden hangers. My jackets and fleece are hung on plastic hangers. I like the durability of those hangers, and they support my clothes too.

My silk and very nice clothes get either the padded hangers or plastic. I want to avoid snags and sharp creases, and i want to cushion some of my clothes so they look nicer for longer.

But what about the environmental aspects of my choices? Without even thinking about it I know the plastic hangers are the worst environmentally, especially given my preference for avoiding petroleum-based products. They sure do a fine job of hanging my clothes up, though. They probably off gas and degrade my interior air quality too.

What about wooden hangers? Did a tree lose its life for my wooden hangers, or are those made from scraps or “junk” wood? This is mostly a rhetorical question for me, designed to get us all thinking and more aware of our choices. The wood itself wouldn’t off gas, but the finish on it sure could. That may effect clothes hung on it as well as air quality. The durability is present though.

Wire hangers do deplete metal reserves in the earth. Since they can be recycled, used for many things (unlocking cars, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, and scratching between your cast and arm) , have a wonderful flexibility (as it were) that makes them a good option for many clothing cases.

Velvet hangers are a more mixed bag. The fabric and padding may contain synthetic fibers, and they may cover plastic hangers, but they are decorative and good for delicate clothes.

I haven’t reached any conclusions here, perhaps you guys can help me .