A Garment Guide on How Often You Really Need to Wash Your Clothes

When you are a child, no one tells you how many things you need to understand in order to become a complete adult. Laundry, for example, can remain a mystery for much longer than it should. Not that it needs to be done – most of us have already figured out that part – but how and when … I have a partner whose genetic code includes the need to do laundry literally every day, but I’m not sure that this level of devotion is absolutely necessary . Laundry has a pretty big environmental impact as it uses a lot of precious water and produces a lot of greenhouse gases . And washing clothes too much can wear them out and even damage them.

As it turns out, the question of how often you should wash your clothes depends on what type of clothes we’re talking about.

General recommendations

Before we get into the details, here are some general guidelines for washing frequency:

  • It’s about how often you wear things, not about time. According to laundry expert Mary Marlow Leverett, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you last washed something, it ‘s how often you wear that piece of clothing that matters.
  • Sweat is a huge factor. If you sweat in your clothes, you will need to wash them more often. Not only does sweat make the bacteria on your body smell, your bodily secretions can damage your clothes over time, so it’s important to remove them quickly. It also means that climate and time of year play a role: if you live in a dry climate and don’t sweat much, you may be able to walk longer between washes. Similarly, in winter weather, you can usually go longer without washing.
  • There is a health factor. While laundry is usually about clothes, dirty clothes can also have a negative impact on your health. Dermatologist Annie Gonzalez told Brightley that not washing clothes often enough can lead to body pimples, infection of hair follicles, or even a rash. No matter how often you are told that you need to wash your clothes, if you notice any skin conditions, you should wash your clothes more often.

That said, there is some general agreement about how often certain categories of clothing should be washed.

Underwear and socks

Unsurprisingly, the only area where you find a near-perfect match is underwear and socks – clothing that touches your most intimate skin. The American Cleanliness Institute (ACI) is blunt: underwear and socks should be washed after every wear .

Bras can be more forgiving; According to dermatologist Alok Vija , you don’t have to wash your bra after every wear – you can stretch it out to two or three socks if you’re not sweating like a pig all the time. Again, sweat is the key; Vij points out that a few hours of “minimal sweating” doesn’t even count as total “wear and tear.” But a few hours in a sauna-like environment would count as two or even three wears. Obviously, this is partly a judgment on your part, but the bottom line is that you don’t have to automatically throw your bra in the wash after every wear.


Usually pajamas can be worn three to four nights between washes, as long as you don’t sleep sweaty. ACI suggests that if you’re the type who showers before bed every night, you might even stretch longer. Don’t wait too long, though – you shed skin cells, bacteria, and skincare residue while you sleep, so your pajamas get pretty dirty after a short time, even if they’re not dirty. appear dirty to the naked eye.

One caveat here is how you carry your bedding. Do you have underwear underneath? You can wait longer between washes. Do you wear them on your skin? In this case, given that you spend several hours in them every day, you may need to treat them like underwear and wash them more often.


The things you wear over your underwear is when things get a little tricky.

  • Sweaters are usually not worn against the skin, so they do not absorb as much sweat and dirt from the body. It can usually be worn two to five times between washes.
  • T-shirts and the like are often worn directly to the skin, so they should be washed after every wear.
  • Dress shirts and trousers can usually be worn two to three times without needing to be washed, but keep in mind that it’s not just your skin that plays a role here; it is also the environment. If you’re just spanking around the house in them, you can wait for a few socks. If you are regularly outside in dirty conditions (and city streets are considered dirty ), you should wash them more often.
  • Suits will probably need to be dry-cleaned, but you can usually get by with a few changes in between unless they get dirty in some way. Depending on how often you wear your suit, a visit to the dry cleaners once a month or two will probably be more than enough.


Denim is more complex than your other clothes and can be a hot topic in terms of laundry. In fact, the Levi’s CEO suggests never washing jeans because that damages the material, and it really is . Every time you wash your favorite pair of jeans, you are slowly killing them.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to extremes and never washing your jeans, you still don’t need to wash them very often. Every 10 socks is a typical number that is listed.

Raw denim is even more special than other jeans. Experts advise wearing raw denim for as long as possible before turning it in and washing it. In other words, wait for these jeans to stand up on their own before putting them in the wash.

Coats and winter clothes

Outerwear like coats only need to be washed or dry-cleaned once a season – generally give them a good wash as soon as the cold hits and you’re good to go, unless you’ve splashed yourself with slush while traveling to work or don’t like doing things. snow angels on a regular basis.

However, during the cold season, winter hats, scarves and gloves should be cleaned about once a month. They sit closer to your skin and pick up a lot more dirt as you puff and puff in a winter wonderland.

Workout clothing

You might assume that the clothes you wear to the gym need to be washed all the time, but that takes a lot of personal choice. Since we sweat a lot in training clothes, washing them all the time can seem like a waste of time – tomorrow they will stink again. We all know at least one notorious scoundrel in our gym or yoga studio who obviously never launders his gym clothes and you don’t want to be that person, but there really are no rules here. However, there are a few things to consider:

  • It probably doesn’t pose any health risk, but allowing bacteria to create a small civilization in your yoga suit can potentially lead to skin conditions, yeast infections, and the like. And if you have an ulcer or a cut, all those bacteria can cause a nasty infection as well.
  • If you’re going to skip the laundry, make sure you at least hang your gym clothes out to dry between gym sessions. This will at least slow down the growth of bacteria somewhat, as well as reduce the chafing and irritation of the skin caused by wearing wet clothes.
  • Finally, if you tend to wear sportswear without underwear, it’s a game changer and you should probably wash it every time.

These are, of course, just recommendations. There are a lot of personal choices and individual circumstances involved in your laundry decisions – as long as you don’t annoy everyone when you leave the house, or face negative health issues arising from your attitude towards laundry, you, probably all right.


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