Hugh: Here’s How Often You Should Wash Different Items of Clothing, According to Experts
Written by Hugh Campbell on April 21, 2023
How many times do you wear a pair of jeans before washing them? How about pajamas? Socks?
Depending on your exact situation, you might have different answers for each of those items above. Different people have different patterns when it comes to washing their clothes, but how often should we be washing what we wear? Recently, experts in dermatology and microbiology weighed in on that exact topic, and as you might have suspected, the answer is pretty variable. There are some clothing items that should be washed after every use, including underwear, socks, tights, leggings, and activewear. Basically, if it’s tight to your skin and absorbing sweat, throw it in the laundry basket right away. Socks are especially important to wash after you wear them because of just how rampant fungal infections are on the feet. Some people say they’ll dry out workout clothes so they can use them again, but that may make the situation worse because heat can cause bacteria to grow.
Other pieces of clothing can be worn a few times before washing. For pants and shirts, it all comes down to your level of comfort and how much you sweat throughout the day. Some people hold off on washing their jeans so they don’t ruin the material, and that’s just fine. Apparently, if they’re not dirty, sweaty, or stained, you can probably go a month or more without washing them. Pajamas are a tricky one. If you shower before bed or don’t sweat much, you can probably wait a week before they need to be washed. If you tend to sweat in your PJ’s, they’ll need to be washed much more often. For coats, jackets, or similar items that rarely touch your skin, it typically won’t need to be washed more than once a month.
Of course, if you have a skin condition, anything that touches an affected area should be washed as often as you wear it. It may seem obvious, but start with asking yourself if the item is noticeably dirty, smelly, or otherwise could be a potential breeding ground for bacteria.