As a young adult, I often found myself wondering “how often should I wash my clothes?”. I didn’t really know the answer, so I erred on the side of caution a bit too much. As such, I washed my clothes pretty much after every wear. With the exception of trousers, that maybe got two or three wears before being chucked in the laundry pile, I operated a one wear only policy.
That was fine in my single days. However, it wasn’t until after I became a mum, and my laundry pile was less of a pile and more of a mountain, that I realised that maybe it was ok to not wash every single item of clothing after every wear.
The wake-up call for me was when I was washing my baby daughter’s sleepsuits after every wear. This was even if she’d needed changing in the night, and so had only worn the suit for a few hours. I soon realised that as long as the sleepsuits looked and smelled clean then my daughter could wear the same sleepsuit several nights in a row and nothing terrible was going to happen.
Since then I have relaxed my one-wear laundry policy. Now I rely on the look, smell, and feel of my clothes before assessing if something needs to go in the washing machine after just one or two wears. Not washing your clothes quite so frequently helps prolong their life. It also saves you a bit of money and helps the environment. That’s as well as saving you time and energy. Therefore, it’s something I’m completely on board with!
If you want a bit more reassurance than going by nose alone, then don’t worry. I found this handy guide on how often should I wash my clothes from the people at Real Simple. I’ve reproduced it here, and you can read the full article here.
If you’re visually impaired and using a text reader, I’ve put the text below to make the guide more accessible to you.
How often should I wash my clothes?
Anything white or silk: after every wear.
Bras: after 3 to 4 wears.
Smart trousers and skirts: after 5 to 7 wears.
Down jackets: 2 times a season.
Fleece jackets and sweatshirts: after 6 to 7 wears.
Hats, gloves, and scarves: 3 to 5 times a season.
Hoisery: after every wear.
Jackets and blazers: after 5 to 6 wears.
Jeans: after 4 to 5 wears.
Leather and suede jackets: once a season.
Leggings and yoga trousers: after 1 to 3 wears.
Pyjamas: after 3 to 4 wears.
Shapewear: after 1 to 3 wears.
Shorts and Khakis: after 2 to 3 wears.
Sweaters: cotton, silks, and cashmere, after 2 wears; wool and acrylic blends, after 5 wears.
Swimsuits: after every wear.
T-shirts, vest tops, and camisoles: after every wear.
Tops and dresses: after 1 to 3 years. Formal dresses should be dry-cleaned after every wear (here’s how to dry clean at home).
Wool coats: 1 to 2 times a season.
What’s Your Approach?
What do you think? Are you onboard with washing your jeans after every four to five wears, or leggings after up to three wears? I have a toddler in the house – think sticky hands, snotty noses, and so forth, so I would be very lucky if I could get my jeans lasting up to needing a wash after five wears!
And how often do you wash your clothes? I’m curious!
ps: see my guide on how to wash wool for tips on advice on how to keep your woolens looking better for longer, my guide on how to wash white striped clothing, my guide on how to make your own fabric conditioner, and my natural stain remover tips for all your laundry woes! I also have a handy guide on how to dry clean at home.