As a child, you’re not informed about the multitude of skills required to function effectively as an adult. One such skill is laundry, which can remain an enigma for far longer than it ought to. Here’s how often you really need to wash jeans, gym clothes, and sweaters.
Although most of us understand the necessity of doing laundry, the methods and timing can be perplexing. While my partner’s DNA mandates daily laundry sessions, I’m uncertain if this level of dedication is truly essential. Furthermore, laundry has significant ecological ramifications, consuming copious amounts of water and emitting substantial greenhouse gases. Overwashing garments can also cause them to deteriorate or suffer damage.
Interestingly, the frequency at which you should wash your clothes varies depending on the type of garment in question.
Before delving into specifics, there are a few general guidelines regarding laundry frequency:
Firstly, the frequency of washing is determined by how often you wear an item of clothing, rather than the length of time since the last wash. As stated by laundry expert Mary Marlowe Leverette, it’s all about the number of times the garment has been worn.
Secondly, sweat is a significant factor. If you perspire in your clothes, you’ll need to launder them more frequently. Sweat is not only the reason for body odor, but also has the potential to damage your garments over time. Therefore, it’s crucial to remove sweat as soon as possible. The climate and season also play a role in this decision – in dry climates with less sweating, you can go for a longer time without washing. Similarly, during the winter months, you can generally prolong the time between laundry sessions.
Lastly, health is a factor to consider. While discussions about laundry typically focus on the cleanliness of clothes, the lack of washing can also have an adverse impact on your well-being. According to dermatologist Annie Gonzalez, infrequent washing can result in body acne, infected hair follicles, or even a rash. Hence, if you notice any skin conditions, you should consider washing your clothes more frequently, regardless of how often you’ve been told to do so.
Underwear & Socks
When it comes to underwear and socks, it’s hardly surprising that there is near-consensus on the matter. These articles of clothing come into direct contact with your most intimate skin, and therefore should be washed after every use, as plainly stated by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI).
As for bras, the rules are a bit more relaxed. Dermatologist Alok Vij suggests that you don’t have to wash your bra after every single use, and can extend it to two or three wears as long as you’re not sweating excessively. The determining factor once again is sweat, and Vij clarifies that a few hours without much perspiration don’t count as a full “wear.” However, spending several hours in hot and humid conditions may necessitate washing the bra after only two or three uses. Of course, this decision ultimately depends on your personal judgment, but the bottom line is that you don’t have to launder your bra after every single wear.
Assuming you’re not someone who perspires heavily during sleep, you can generally wear your pajamas for three to four nights before washing them, according to experts. The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) even suggests that if you shower before bedtime each night, you may be able to go even longer without laundering them. However, it’s not advisable to wait too long, since as you slumber, you shed skin cells, bacteria, and the remnants of your skincare products. Even if your pajamas appear clean, they can become quite soiled in a short period.
One factor to consider is what you wear beneath your sleepwear. If you don undergarments beneath your pajamas, you may be able to wait longer before washing them. However, if you wear them directly against your skin for several hours every day, you should treat them like underwear and wash them more frequently.
Denim is a unique material compared to your other garments, and how to care for it can spark heated debates. The CEO of Levi’s, for instance, advocates against washing jeans entirely to prevent damaging the material, and this claim is actually true. Each time you launder your favorite pair of jeans, you’re gradually deteriorating them.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of never washing your denim, you still don’t need to launder them frequently. The typical number that gets quoted is around every 10 wears.
Raw denim presents an even more distinct situation than your other jeans. Experts recommend wearing your raw denim clothing as long as possible before succumbing to washing them. In other words, you should wait until those jeans can stand up on their own before putting them through a wash cycle.
The frequency of washing your gym clothes is largely a matter of personal preference, although there are some important considerations to keep in mind. While sweating in workout clothes may make frequent washing seem pointless, allowing bacteria to build up can lead to skin conditions, yeast infections, and even infections in open cuts or sores.
To minimize bacterial growth and prevent skin irritation, it’s a good idea to hang your workout clothes to dry between uses if you’re not washing them every time. Additionally, if you go without undergarments while exercising, you may want to wash your clothes after each use. Ultimately, as long as your laundry habits aren’t causing issues for your health or grossing out those around you, it’s up to you to decide how frequently to wash your gym clothes.