Are You Over-Washing Your Clothes?


Chances are the answer is yes! Or at least somewhat. Do you ever wear something for a few hours during the day and then toss it on the floor with the other dirty clothes, throw it into the hamper, then wash it unnecessarily? We all do at least some of the time. Washing things when they don’t really need it is not such a great thing for several reasons: it wastes water, detergent, and energy, and it breaks down your clothing at an expedited rate. This is especially true if you also use the dryer- each time you dry your tshirts or jeans, the heat wears down the fabrics.

Another point to consider is how dirty are your clothes, really? It’s not mandatory to wash things like jeans, made of heavy denim, every time you wear them. It’s highly unlikely they are significantly dirty or smell bad. Of course if they are smelly, throw them in the wash, but jeans can usually be worn 3-5 times before they really require washing attention. I’m not sure I’d go so far as the freezer jeans people, but you may be able to lengthen the amount of time between washes. You may be able to simply spot treat clothing items that are mostly clean, but have a tiny speck here and there that needs to be taken care of. Airing clothing out between wears also will help eliminate small amounts of odors and help dewrinkle.

One method to help sort out the slightly dirty from the really dirty and really clean is to have what one Apartment Therapy writer deems a “clothes purgatory” – a place in your closet or on a rack elsewhere where you can hang up the only-a-little-dirty pieces which aren’t quite ready for the washer.

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