As a mother to a young child, it seems as though I’m constantly inundated with laundry. In fact, there are some days when the pile gets so large that I think I’ll never get through it! In addition to worrying about things like how much water I’m using and how much work my washing machine can really handle, I often find myself worried about how washing my clothes will effect their lifespan. Many times, I’ll pull items out of the wash and find that they’ve become thin or that all the washings are changing their color or fit. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that there are certain items that should not be washed after every wear, some of which need only be washed occasionally. If you’re wondering just how often you should wash each item, check out this quick cheat sheet.


Jeans are the number one item that I hate throwing into the laundry. It seems as though they always fade, fray or shrink every time that I do! Fortunately, jeans really only need to be washed every 5-6 wears, though many people, such as Carl Chiara, a director at Levi’s, insist that jeans should be washed much less frequently than that. In fact, Mr. Chiara only washes his jeans once every 6 months! Others fashion insiders tout freezing jeans as an alternative to washing them.


Since bras that fit properly don’t actually come into contact with your underarms, they don’t need to be washed after each wear. In fact, bras should really only be laundered every 3-4 wears unless you’ve been sweating profusely. If you do tend to sweat a lot, consider hand washing these items with a gentle detergent.


During the winter months, I tend to wear the same coat every day and wondered how often I really needed to wash it. It turns out, not often at all! In fact, outerwear generally needs to only be cleaned once each season. If you’re worried that your coat will start to look dingy, keep the surface free of debris by spot cleaning with a damp cloth, and give it a spritz of Febreze every other day.


Since most people tend to layer their jackets and blazers over a blouse or tee, these items can usually sustain quite a few wears before laundering. Generally speaking, blazers and jackets should be washed every 5-6 wears. However, these items tend to be a magnet for odors, so if you plan on wearing your blazer into a smoke-filled bar or to your neighborhood’s BBQ party, you’ll probably want to plan on tossing it in your hamper afterwards.


You may not realize it, but you actually do sweat while snoozing, particularly if you’ve had another one of those nightmares where you showed up to work without any clothes on! What this really means is that your pajamas may need to be washed more often that you might realize. Most experts recommend washing your pjs every 3-4 wears, unless you slumber in silk, which absorbs sweat and oils quicker and should be washed slightly more often.


Skirts are one item that I tend to just hang back up in my closet after each wear and for good reason! If you’re wearing a skirt, you’re probably not running a marathon or participating in any demanding tasks, which means that unless you dribble your morning latte on it, you should be able to get at least 4-5 wears out of it before you need to toss it into the laundry.

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