How Often Should You Wash Clothes? (The Ultimate Guide)
Believe it or not, any of these two statements can be true:
You may be washing your clothes too much.
Or, you may also not be washing them enough.
How is this possible? Aren’t you supposed to wash your clothes at least once a week? Does this mean you’ll have to change your laundry schedule again?
Before you panic, there’s no need to worry as we are here to help you!
Allow this simple guide to show you when you need to wash your garments, plus some tips to make your clothes clean and smell fresh.
How often should you really do your laundry?
In many households, it is normal to do laundry at least once a week. This can be more, especially if a family is big or if they have children who’ll need a frequent clothing change.
For most cases, the safest frequency to wash your clothes is once a week. However, this is not always the case, as there are many factors that will determine how often you have to do your laundry.
As an example, the colour, cleanness, type of garment, and type of fabric will greatly influence the need to wash each garment.
Let’s look into each factor and learn how they can affect our washing schedule.
Depending on the colour of the clothing
White and Light-coloured clothes
White and light-coloured garments are best washed after every wear. Since these shades are easy to stain or dirty, regularly washing them before they even look grey or discoloured will save you more time and resources.
TIP: It’s best to hang white clothing outdoors in the sun to dry! Doing so will make them appear crisp and fresh due to the sun’s natural bleaching properties. All you need is a sturdy clothesline, and you’ll see that your clothes will appear brighter than before.
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Black and Dark-coloured clothes
For black and dark-coloured clothes, you can usually re-wear them multiple times before putting them in the wash. If you want to wear the fabric even more, air them out before wearing them to freshen the material again.
Depending on the cleanness of the clothing
Clothes that are still clean and smell good
If the garments are still clean and pass the sniff test, then there’s no urgent need to pop them in the wash.
Clothes that are sweaty or smelly
Sweaty and smelly garments should be washed after wearing to stop bacteria and fungi from growing on the fabric.
Clothes that are stained or dirty
It’s best to pre-treat areas that have been stained or dirty so that you’re sure to clean the spot before you put them in your washer.
Depending on the type of garment
After every wear:
- Underwear and socks
- Sportswear and swimwear
Undergarments, socks, and exercise wear are clothes that have direct contact with our skin. Because of this, they can easily accumulate dirt, dead skin cells, oils, sweat, and other matter within their fabric.
For hygienic purposes, wash these garments after every wear. Doing so allows you to not be exposed to bacteria that will not only make you smell but also irritate your skin and cause health problems.
After two to five wears:
- Shirts and blouses
- Dress pants
These are the types of clothing that can be worn multiple times, as long as they are not stained and do not smell. Although they are a type of undergarment, bras are usually not dirtied enough for you to wash them after just wearing them once.
After six to seven wears:
- Sweatshirts and jackets
These are the types of clothing that can be worn more than six times. Provided that they are still clean and smell okay, putting skirts, trousers, and jackets immediately in the wash is a waste of resources and can even damage them in the long run.
Depending on the type of fabric
Cotton and Polyester
Cotton and polyester garments are pretty low maintenance to wash. You can use your machine’s regular setting and there will be no issues even if you wash them weekly.
Silk garments are delicate and will need extra care. It’s best to wash them after every wear and avoid hot water temperature.
Linen garments are easy to wrinkle. They can be re-worn but when it’s time to wash linen clothes, avoid putting them in with rough fabrics such as denim.
Wool and Cashmere
Wool and cashmere garments are types of fabrics one can wear lots of times. When it’s time to wash them, it’s best to handwash or use the delicate cycle with a wool or baby shampoo to preserve the fabric well.
Spandex garments are often used in exercise or swimming wear. As such, it’s best to wash them after wearing them once to prevent bacterial growth.
Acrylic garments are quite thick and can be worn multiple times. When washing, it’s best to use medium heat on your laundry cycle to avoid pilling.
Leather garments are best worn multiple times. Once they start to smell, you can always air dry the material to freshen them out. Since clothes made of leather are easy to damage, make sure that you only wipe them with warm water and mild soap.
TIP: Always check the care labels of your clothing! Some clothes require extra care than others, while some can just be propped directly in your washer. Care labels also contain instructions on whether your garments can be ironed, dried outside, and more.
Extend your clothes’ lifespan!
Under and over-washing your garments can affect their fabric greatly.
To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your clothing, it’s best if you follow the recommended frequency of washing mentioned in this guide!
Do you have laundry-related questions you’d like to ask our experts? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
In most cases, it is recommended to at least wash your regular clothes once a week to get rid of bacterial and fungi growth on their fabric. However, certain types of clothing and fabrics such as wool, for example, don’t need frequent washing.
It is not necessary to wash your clothes every day. Just make sure to have a regular laundry schedule to keep your garments fresh and clean.
Washing clothes multiple times can cause them to fray or strain unnecessarily. If the reason why you need to wash them more than once is because of a stain, it’s best to spot-treat the area before putting them in the washer.
Underwear, socks, and exercise wear should be washed after wearing them once. Other items of clothing such as sweaters, jeans, and suits can be worn multiple times.
To remove dead skin cells, oil, hair, and other matter in your sheets, wash them once a week.