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Surprising Truths About How Often You Should Wash These 10 Different Items Of Clothing

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If you are like me, then you have heard a variety of advice when it comes to washing your clothes. For instance, your parents probably told you to wash your jeans after every wear, while your college buddy likely told you that you should never wash your jeans so that they retain their coloring and fit. Well, I am here to set the record straight.

Below, I will go through a number of articles of clothing, and will tell you how many times you should wear them before putting them through a lengthy wash cycle. Let’s start with something we all wear fairly often, and which I just referenced above.

1. Jeans

How often should you wash them?

Answer: After 5 wears.

It turns out that both your parents and your friend from college were right in some respects. The truth of how often you should wash your jeans lies somewhere between “after every wear” and “never.” Usually, five wears is enough to give you an excuse to throw your jeans into the washer.

This can be for a number of reasons, but usually it’s because repeated wear can stretch them out, making them fit too loosely. Additionally, sometimes you can sweat so much that they can begin to smell a bit off.

Make sure to wash them in cold water so that they can better retain their original color!

2. Dress Pants and Skirts

How often should you wash them?

Answer: After 6 wears.

These are usually worn at nice occasions, and it’s typical that they are made out of synthetic blends that are resistant to stains and odors. Thus, they are hardy pieces of clothing that do not need to be washed all that often.

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If they are part of a matching outfit, make sure to wash all of the items of clothing simultaneously so that one part of the set doesn’t fade more rapidly than the other.

3. Whites and Silks

How often should you wash them?

Answer: After each and every wear. 

If you want your white garments to stay that color, you need to wash them frequently. Otherwise, dirt and sweat will begin to cloud its original alabaster hue. Similarly, silks absorb sweat like a sponge, so they need a good tumble through the washer after every wear as well.

4. Gloves, Scarves, and Hats

How often should you wash them?

Answer: ~4 times a season. 

If you are wondering, a “season” rounds out to be about three months worth of time, so space your washes out accordingly. Most people (including me now that I think of it) rarely wash their gloves, scarves, and hats, but the truth of the matter is that they accumulate a lot of grime throughout a season of regular wear. This can include standard dirt, facial oil, makeup, and anything else that you happen to come in contact with while you are out and about.

More generally, I would say that if it doesn’t pass the smell test, throw it in the washer.

5. Pajamas

How often should you wash them?

Answer: After ~3 wears. 

Pajamas are tricky in that how often you wash them depends on multiple factors. If it’s cold at night, and you don’t really sweat a lot, then you can probably get through a week without having to wash your bedclothes.

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If it’s hot, and/or you sweat a lot while sleeping, you will need to wash your pajamas every two wears most likely. While that may seem excessive, it is in your best interest, as some research has suggested that sleeping in dirty pajamas can lead to acne breakouts and other skin-related issues.

6. T-Shirts

How often should you wash them?

Answer: After each and every wear!

I put an exclamation mark there because shirts seem to be the one article of clothing that people seem comfortable re-wearing several times without a wash. At least that’s what I have noticed.

In truth, shirts should be treated similarly to underwear, since they are always in close contact with your skin and tend to be the first line of defense against sweat.

So don’t skimp — wash your shirts with diligence! There is one minor exception, and that’s if you have only worn a shirt for a couple of hours, in which case you can probably wear it again the next day if it passes the smell test. In all other cases though, just throw it in the wash.

7. Swimsuits

How often should you wash them?

Answer: After each and every wear. 

This makes some sense, since swimsuits are basically a form of underwear. In addition to the fact that they absorb sweat and whatever is in the water, swimsuit material can be damaged by the ingredients in sunscreen. So play it safe, and wash your trunks and bikinis when you get back from the beach or pool.

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8. Leather Jackets

How often should you wash them?

Answer: Never, or maybe once a season. 

Leather jackets are extremely resilient, and are rarely in direct contact with your skin. At most, you should carefully spot clean them, or have them professionally cleaned once in a blue moon. Otherwise, there’s really no need to be too fanatical about cleaning your leather outerwear.

9. Sweaters

How often should you wash them? 

Answer: Every 3 wears. 

If you’re like most people, you wash your sweaters about as often as you wash your leather jackets, which is to say: never. The truth is that most sweaters are more prone to absorbing dirt, sweat, and grime than other types of outerwear, and thus they need to be washed relatively often.

10. Leggings/Yoga Pants

How often should you wash them?

Answer: Every ~2 wears. 

This one depends on whether or not you’re actually working out in your yoga pants, or just wearing them around for comfort’s sake. If it’s the former, then you pretty much have to wash them after every wear because they will absorb your sweat, much like compression pants. If it’s the latter, you might be able to get away with two or three wears. But, of course, that depends on how much you sweat when not working out.

Did any of the answers here surprise you? Are you rushing over to your closet right now and figuring out which articles of clothing you need to clean? Tell me your clothes-washing-related thoughts in the comments below!

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Featured photo credit: Washing Line/ Steve Calcottvia flic.kr

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