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How Often Should You Wash Each Item of Clothing?

We all want to make sure that our clothes both last long, and remain clean and well-preserved. Knowing how often we need to wash them can thus be a bit confusing. 

The most general rule of thumb you can adhere to is simple: if you’ve sweated in it, wash it. 

However, this adage won’t be enough to help you determine when to wash your jeans or your scarves, so I’ve put together a comprehensive list that will hopefully help you establish a clothes washing timetable that both keeps your fabrics fresh, and ensures your skin remains healthy. Don’t forget to also check which colours you can wash together before assembling a random pile.

Here’s how often you need to wash each item of clothing. 

How Often Should I Wash My Underwear?

All types of underwear, regardless of the fabric they are made of, should be washed after each use

While cotton underwear will withstand the test of frequent washing, silk and other types of delicate fabric may not. However, regular washing is necessary to maintain proper hygiene and good health, since underwear comes into close contact with your most intimate area.

Wash your delicate items by hand or use your washing machine’s gentlest cycle. Using a mesh laundry bag can also help preserve your finer items for longer. 

How Often Should I Wash My Socks?

Socks definitely fall into the category of items that should be washed after each use

Some people will perform the so-called “sock sniffing” routine to check the status of their socks – if they smell, it’s time for a wash; otherwise, they are good to go. This is neither a valid test nor is it recommended. 

Everybody`s feet produce a certain amount of moisture and odour that socks absorb after only one wear. Washing them after each is the right choice. 

How Often Should I Wash My Bra?

Bras come in many shapes and materials. Some require less challenging maintenance and can be machine washed, while others are more delicate, suitable only for washing by hand. 

Either way, they should be washed after two or three wears, not only for hygienic reasons, but also because the elastic in a bra stretches with each wear. In order to keep them firm, wash them using the appropriate cycle more often than not. 

Unless of course you’ve only worn your bra for a couple of hours – in that case, you can wash it less often. 

How Often Should I Wash Tights and Leggings?

Tights and leggings should be washed after every use. Due to the nature of the fabric, they are prone to absorbing oils and sweat from the skin, as well as losing their shape very quickly, which will lead to `baggy knees`.

If they are made from a very delicate material: wash them by hand. If they are more sturdy, you can throw them in the washer. 

How Often Should I Wash T-shirts and Blouses?

Given that they come into close contact with the skin, T-shirts and blouses should be washed after every wear. The amount of sweat, oils, dead skin cells and even dirt which they collect on a daily basis definitely calls for a regular wash.

Even if you feel you’ve not sweated a lot on a particular day, throw the t-shirt into the wash nevertheless. Having numerous basic t-shirts (one for every day of the week, if you like), will ensure you never have none to wear. 

How Often Should I Wash Dress Shirts and Dress Trousers?

The usual recommendation is that dress shirts and dress trousers should be washed after they have been worn two or three times. Unless they are stained or visibly dirty, they do not have to be washed after they have been worn only once, since they do not commonly come into close contact with the skin.

How Often Should I Wash Jeans?

The answer to how often jeans should be washed requires a compromise between fabric care and our own hygiene. 

Fabric experts say that since jeans do not benefit from washing, they should be washed after 10 wears or so, while common sense tells us that they should definitely be washed more often. 

If you are to ensure that your jeans both last long and remain clean, wash them after 3 or 4 wears.

How Often Should I Wash Regular Trousers and Sweatpants?

Regular trousers and sweatpants should be washed after 3 or 4 wears. By wearing them longer than that, you risk the accumulation of bacteria, sweat, oils and dander, which can irritate the skin and cause skin problems. 

In case trousers or sweatpants are worn during strenuous physical activity that causes the body to produce a lot of sweat, more frequent washing is recommended.

How Often Should I Wash Dresses?

Depending on the season, dresses should be washed either after each wear or every other time

Naturally, during hot summer days, they should be washed after each wear, because they are in direct contact with our sweaty bodies. Otherwise, they can be washed after 2 wears. 

You can also hang your dresses out, or throw them in the dryer to get any cigarette smoke or perfume scent out of them, if you’ve worn them out on the town, to save you an extra wash. This will help preserve the fabric and the colour. 

How Often Should I Wash Skirts?

Skirts, especially winter skirts, do not require very frequent washing – they will do well if washed after 4 wears

The very nature of their design makes it possible for air to circulate freely, thus reducing the chances of excess sweat during the summer, while during the winter, tights or leggings usually separate them from the skin, allowing them to be worn multiple times before a  wash is required.

How Often Should I Wash Jumpers?

It is true that jumpers, and wool jumpers in particular, need to be handled with extreme care and will not benefit from regular washing. However, it should be pointed out that they should be washed after 3 wears

Much like the majority of other fabrics, they are not impervious to accumulating grime, sweat and dirt.

How Often Should I Wash Jackets and Coats?

Jackets or coats that are worn sporadically can be washed only once a season, while regularly worn jackets should be washed twice a season. Luckily, jackets are usually made of sturdy fabrics that don’t stain easily, so if they look clean and don’t smell, no washing is necessary.

Your coats will probably benefit from dry cleaning once a season, so make sure to add this task to your calendar. 

How Often Should I Wash Workout Clothes?

Workout clothes should be washed after each use. Although nothing catastrophic will happen if the same items are worn twice, the amount of sweat and the probable deodorant residue is definitely off-putting and can be potentially harmful to those with sensitive skin.

Plus, they certainly won’t be smelling fresh after a strenuous workout, and you won’t want to wear them again. 

How Often Should I Wash Pyjamas?

In general, pyjamas should be washed after they have been worn 3 or 4 times. Unless you spend an entire day in your pyjamas, lying around and eating, more frequent washing is not necessary.

How Often Should I Wash Scarves and Hats?

Practically all pieces of clothing that fall into the “outerwear” category do not come into direct contact with the skin. Since this is the case, hats and scarves should be washed 3 to 4 times a season. This is enough to get rid of any grime and dirt, and freshen them up.

Wrapping It Up 

Hopefully this guide will have helped you take better care of both your clothing and your skin. Remember the most basic rule of thumb to live by: if it smells, don’t wear it again. 


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