How Often Should You Wash Your Clothes?
If doing laundry isn’t your favorite household chore, you’re not alone. Do you keep putting off this simplest of tasks until you have nothing to wear but an ill-fitting cocktail dress or a decades-old sports jersey? Just how many more times CAN you wear that pair of jeans or t-shirt, anyway?
While not every item of clothing needs to be washed after each wear, some things do. Here is when you should wash your clothes and other household items to make them last as long as possible and keep you from getting sideways glances from others.
When Should You Wash Your Clothes?
Maybe you use the sniff test to decide when you should wash your clothes. But, that may not be the most reliable indicator. How often you should launder something depends on a variety of factors such as your activity levels, the weather, how much you sweat, and the particular item of clothing.
Even though no one has set hard and fast rules relative to washing frequency, there are a few guidelines. Before you worry that you have to wash everything at once or after each wear, here are some general rules of thumb you can follow:
Wash After Every Wear
The common theme among these items is that most of them are close-fitting. You should absolutely wash undergarments after every wear because they absorb your body’s sweat, dead skin, and body oils.
You want your body and your clothing to smell fresh, so plan on dumping these items in the dirty clothes basket at the end of the day. Some items like swimsuits, silk, and hosiery, you can wash by hand and hang to dry.
The exception to what we just described is anything that is white. If you want to prevent your clothing from becoming discolored, white apparel needs frequent washing as well.
Wash Every 1-3 Wears
You will probably need to start using your judgment with many of these items. This is also where the sniff test is going to be helpful.
If you generally wear a camisole under your dress top, dress, or sweater and spend most of the day inside a temperature-controlled building, you can get multiple wears from those items. The same goes for your khakis and shorts.
When you only wear tights or yoga pants to run a few errands or lounge around the house in the afternoon, you don’t have to wash them right away. If you decide to jump on the Stairmaster for a vigorous workout, they need to be washed.
Wash Every 3-4 Wears
If you love your jeans, don’t wash them after every wear. Denim fades and deteriorates with washing, and it’s durable enough to stand up to multiple wears. The is also true with your bras. Unless you had a sweaty day, you can probably launder your bras every 3 or so wears.
And pajamas will last a few nights simply because you are pretty inactive while asleep. Finally, suits and blazers might need dry cleaning, but they can also take multiple wears.
Wash Every 5-7 Wears
If you’re wearing a sweatshirt or cardigan over another shirt, it can be worn multiple times before it needs washing. You also don’t need to worry about frequent laundering of dress pants or skirts worn for work as long as it’s in a comfortable environment. The same holds true for jackets since they are worn over your other clothing.
You don’t need to wash these items very often unless you’ve been out rolling around in the mud. Winter accessories are meant to keep you warm, so you probably aren’t sweating in them. You can probably get away with washing outwear once or twice per season and the other items up to three times, as needed.
Wash Household Items
Now that you know how often to wash your clothes, what about household items? It’s a good rule of thumb to wash your bed sheets and bath mats about once a week. Even though you don’t wear your bath towels and dish towels, they do absorb a lot of water, so plan on washing those after about every three uses.
Other household items that you need to wash at least monthly include your mattress pad, bathrobe, and pillow liners. Every three months, plan to wash your throw rugs, throw blankets, and shower curtains. Finally, wash your pillows and comforter at least twice per year.
Take the Fabric Into Consideration
How often you wash your clothes also depends on the fabric in question. Some fabrics don’t breathe as well as others, so will trap sweat, bacteria, and body soils close to the body.
Synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, and elastane tend to be odor and dirt magnets. These will get smellier faster than other materials, so you should wash them more frequently.
Some alternative fabrics are made to go a long time without washing. For example, wool and merino wool can go a significant number of wears without a wash. Other fabrics may need trial and error and come down to your best judgment.
Tips for Washing Items Efficiently
Few people enjoy doing laundry. That’s why it’s generally on a “to do” or “chores” list. Since we can’t all afford to hire someone to do this task, here are a few ways to get your laundry done as efficiently as possible:
- Separate your items wisely. Divide clothing by lights and darks as well as delicates and heavy fabrics and even heavily-soiled items and barely dirty ones.
- Avoid overloading your machines. Your laundry needs room to spin, so don’t overload your machines.
- Select the right water temperature. Cold water works best with delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and lace. Hot water is a better option if you are dealing with heavily-soiled or stinky items.
- Fold your items immediately. If you let your laundry site for hours or days on end, it’s going to be more wrinkled. Pull it out of the dryer while it’s still warm and fold it or hang it up.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Your Machines
The less you wash your clothes, the fewer times you have to run your washer/dryer. This can increase the lifespan of your machine and also save energy.
But, don’t forget that your clothes will only get clean if your appliances are clean and working the way they were designed. The simplest and most affordable way to clean your washing machine regularly is with a simple cleaning tablet like OdorCrush. And DryerBoost is a revolutionary way to get your clothes dry faster, reduce wrinkles, and save money by eliminating dryer sheets.
Doing laundry might be more complicated than you imagined. Now that you know when you should wash your clothes, it should be easy enough to set up a schedule that works for you. At OdorCrush, we have practical and natural solutions to all your laundry problems.