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Hint: It’s probably not as often as you think!

jeans and a shirt on a white background with how often do you really need to wash your clothes

How often do you really need to wash your clothes?

How much thought do you put into how often you wash your clothes? Do you just throw whatever you were wearing into the laundry basket at the end of the day without giving it much thought?

Well, I have some good news for you! You are probably washing your clothes too often. Save yourself some time, money and even the environment by being a bit more relaxed when it comes to how often you wash your clothes.

Why should I wash my clothes less often?

It might seem easier to just chuck everything into the washing machine after just one wash but you really are making more work for yourself. It’s much quicker to hang-up or fold up items which can be worn once more and put them away. The mountain of washing will also cease to become a mountain quite so quickly, which will help you to feel more on top of this never-ending household chore.

Then there is the obvious cost benefit. Washing machines (and tumble dryers if you use them) cost money to run. Less washing means less money spent!

If that’s not enough then consider the environmental perspective. We’re all a lot more aware of our own impact on the environment these days but did you know that washing your clothes can release a lot of bad stuff into the environment? Microfibers from synthetic fabrics are released into the water system when you wash your clothes. These fibres can ultimately end up in our oceans. That’s not a good thing!

So how often should I wash my clothes?

The following advice applies to clothes that are:

  • Not obviously stained/dirty/smelly
  • Have not been worn on a 35 degree day whilst you were running a marathon

For day-to-day wear, where you have not been particularly sweaty (you’ll have to be the judge of that one!) you can wash your clothes less often.

Let’s go through some common items so we can answer how often do you really need to wash your clothes.

The ‘not that often’ clothes

  1. Jeans every 4-5 wears. Yes, that often (or not that often!) If you are a big fan of jeans this is really one to follow as it will help them to keep their shape and colour for longer.
  2. Other trousers and skirts every 5-7 wears. Think about the fabric the clothes are made from. Generally, cotton needs washing more often than synthetic fabrics or wool.
  3. Coats and jackets Once per season. Make sure they are put away clean if you won’t be wearing them for many months.
  4. Blazers every 5 wears. This can be longer if your blazer does not really come into contact with your skin.
  5. Jumpers every 2-5 wears, again depending on the fabric. Cotton will need washing sooner than wool or synthetic fabrics.
  6. Pyjamas every 3-5 wears, depending on the season (hot summer nights means more frequent washing!)
  7. Bras every 3-4 wears. This one surprised me! But your bras (and your wallet!) will really thank you for this one.

The ‘little bit less often’ clothes

  1. Leggings every 2-3 wears. If you wear your leggings for exercise such as yoga then it may have to be more often.
  2. Dresses every 2-3 wears. The exception are any formal dresses that need dry cleaning. Dry clean after wearing and put away clean.
  3. Vest tops and close fitting t-shirts every 2 wears. This depends on how much activity you’ve undertaken while wearing them!

The ‘sorry, it’s every wear’ clothes

  1. Anything made out of silk silk is a magnet for sweat!
  2. Swimwear the chemicals in swimming pools can damage your swimwear if it is not washed properly.
  3. Tights lots of skin contact with these….
  4. Knickers I hope this one does not need any explanation!

Will I smell or look like a slob if I follow this advice?

If you follow ALL the advice, and wash obviously dirty/smelly clothes as soon as they become dirty/smelly-then no.

The truth is that as a society we have become a bit too ‘clean’, which is not actually a good thing. We don’t need to sanitise out surroundings (or our clothes) quite so much as we have been doing.

As mentioned previously, the environment will also thank you for going easy on the laundry.

So give it a go and see what difference it makes for you. Personally, as a naturally ‘messy’ person, I overcompensated and washed EVERYTHING the first time it was worn.

If you combine sensible washing practices with a capsule wardrobe (check out my post on creating a capsule wardrobe for beginners to help you out), you will find that laundry starts to become a much smaller task in your house.

I hope you found this guide to how often should you wash your clothes useful! If you have any other laundry tips or hacks do share them in the comments and remember to share this post before you leave to help other people with their laundry!

jeans and a shirt on a white background with how often do you really need to wash your clothes

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