How often do you need to wash your clothes?
Everyone loves the smell of freshly-cleaned clothes, but if you wash too much, you wear out the fabric too quickly and shorten the lifespan of your clothing. Then again, nobody wants to stink so much that everyone else knows you haven’t washed your clothes yet this month! Even worse, imagine the bacteria growing in those unwashed undies and you’ll never want to put them on again…
So how much is too much? Here’s our take on how long you can wear things before washing them.
Underwear: Wash them after every single time you wear them. Don’t wear them twice. Don’t turn them inside out. Just don’t. This is the most sensitive and easily-infected part of your body, so don’t let bacteria fester.
Socks and stockings/hosiery: Same deal, wash after every wear. You don’t want to know about the bacteria that grows between your toes while you’re going for a run in those socks or running to the coffee stand in those stockings.
Sportswear: Sweaty? Wash it after every wear.
Swimwear: Chlorine and salt and sand are all bad for fabric. Wash it every time.
Tops: One to two wears, because of the underarm sweat odour factor.
Dresses: Generally one to two wears, same reason.
Footless Leggings: One to two wears. They’re pretty tight to your skin, so if you’re sweating as you run to the bus, they’ll pick that up.
Bras: It depends how much you perspire, but generally three to four wears.
Pants, skirts, and shorts: Three to four wears for states and territories in Australia’s southern half. One to two wears for the northern states and territories in the heat of summer.
Pyjamas: Three to four wears.
Jeans: Debatable. Some say six wears, some say you should wash as little as possible. Levi Strauss & Co.’s director of brand concepts and special projects is famous for only washing his jeans every six months. Apartment Therapy even says you can avoid washing your jeans entirely, by popping them in a plastic bag in the freezer any time you need to kill some bacteria.
Jackets and blazers: Six wears should do it. Fabric deodoriser can give it a quick perk-up if it needs a dry clean but you’re short on time.
Coats: Once at the end of winter should probably be enough, unless you spill stuff on it. If you wear it in autumn as well, wash it once at the end of autumn before you head into the coldest winter chill.