How Often Should You Wash Your Clothes?

From underwear to winter coats, here’s how often you should wash everything in your closet.


Step #1: Know How Washing (and Drying) Affects Your Clothes
While washing and drying your clothes keeps them looking and smelling fresh, it also slowly pulls apart the material. “Every time you put clothes through the laundry, the system imparts microscopic damage to the fabric,” LA-based stylist Rayne Parvis explains. “You can see the aftermath of this in your dryer’s lint trap, as lint results from tiny tears in the fabric.” These tiny tears, over time, will cause your clothes to fade and fall apart, which is why it’s extra important to make sure you’re only washing your clothes when you really should be.

Step #2: Get Your Washing Frequency Down
All of your clothes require a different kind of attention, according to Parvis. Here are her recommendations on how often you should be washing things:

  • Underwear: After every single wear, for obvious reasons.
  • Socks: After every wear, for equally obvious reasons.
  • Workout Clothes and Swimwear: Also after every wear. Plus, it’s a good idea to rinse off your swimwear with clean water right after wearing it to minimise the amount of time the fabric is exposed to strong-smelling agents like sunscreen, sweat, salt and chlorine.
  • Jeans: After five to six wears, unless they’re skinny jeans, in which case, washing them every three to four wears will help maintain their shape. “Turning jeans inside out when washing and drying them also prevents fabrics from rubbing against each other in the machine, which minimises colour loss,” Parvis adds.
  • T-Shirts: After every wear.
  • Button-Down Shirts: After one or two wears. “You can stretch this to every three wears if you wear an undershirt underneath your button-downs,” Rayne says.
  • Trousers and Shorts: After three to four wears.
  • Jackets and Hoodies: After five to six wears.
  • Coats: Once every season.
  • Suits: After three to four wears. “If you bring a suit to the dry cleaners, make sure to bring the entire suit even if you didn’t wear the whole thing,” Rayne suggests. “That way, the colours will fade together over time, so you won’t end up with a lighter jacket and darker pants.”

There you have it—exactly how often you should wash all of your clothes. Just don’t forget to wash yourself while you’re at it.