Open Post // How Often do you Wash Your Clothes?


If you’ve been around for a while, you may know that I had/have an eco-fashion site: Green Grechen. I haven’t posted there in WAY too long, for various reasons. Honestly, I got very disillusioned by the price of “eco-friendly” clothing & accessories, and that a new brand or designer seemed to pop-up everyday, even more inaccessible than the last. Aside from that, though, I don’t believe that you have to buy organic cotton or bamboo to be more eco-conscious with your clothing choices. You do have to pay attention to where your garments are made, HOW they’re made, and try to buy the best quality you can afford so that they’ll last longer.

Not buying new is of course, also very eco-friendly, but so is buying new and keeping/wearing the garment for 10+ years. There are a lot of ways to practice conscious consumerism – you just have to find the one that makes the most sense for you. Personally, I try to buy fewer items that will last longer, and I strive to buy most everything made in the US.

Something I hadn’t thought much about though, is the frequency with which “we” wash/dry our clothes. According to this article on Huffington Post, most of the environmental impact of our clothing happens AFTER WE BUY IT – as in how we use it (washing/drying). Whoa. It seems obvious now, that washing/drying more often is wasteful and not very environmentally friendly, but until now, I didn’t really think about it that way.

For the last year of so I have been hang-drying most of my more delicate items to make them last longer, but certain things I would wash every time I wore them. Now, maybe I’ll think again about that as well.

Denim, I wash VERY infrequently – like almost never. My Frame Le Garcon jeans I’ve had and worn for about a month a few times a week I think, and haven’t washed them yet. My more “sturdy” pants, like my James Perse canvas pants, I wash every 2-3 times I wear them, but my crepe surplus pants and sweatpants I have to wash every time because they stretch. T-Shirts I generally wash every time, but I probably don’t have to, unless I get them dirty. Wearing tanks or camis underneath blouses or tops will also help extend their wear, especially in warmer weather. Exercise-wear I wash every time I wear them, but I never dry. And I use the least amount of water I can.

Ultimately, unless we get a garment “dirty” or it smells or something, perhaps it doesn’t need to be washed, just hung up to “air-out” a bit before wearing again. I think it’s just habit to wear something once and throw it in the laundry bin without thinking about if it can be worn again – but that’s a habit that can be broken.

So, how often do you wash your clothes? do you think you could wash them LESS often? How do you wash your clothes? Do you tumble dry everything?

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  1. says

    If jeans haven’t stretched out, I’ll wear them probably 6-10 times without washing. I wear camisoles under most of my shirts/sweaters, wash those (cold water and hang to dry) every 3-4 wears. Weather here is usually dry which means I don’t sweat much.

    Actually come to think of it I wash most of our clothes in cold water.
    déjà pseu´s last blog post ..Utilitarian Style

  2. Cara says

    Serious question, do other people not sweat mostly from their armpits? I always see references to wearing a tank or cami under shirts, but this never makes sense for me because if my underarms aren’t covered I will sweat into the pits of the shirt.

    I wash jeans and washable pants mostly as needed to help them regain their shape, not because of dirt. Maybe every 4 wears or so, though I just bought a pair of white jeans and I’ve read that you need to wash them after every other wear to keep them white. I wash more structured pants like my work trousers hardly ever, maybe once or twice a season I will put them through the dryer with some Dryel. Same for blazers and jackets. I wash sweaters maybe once a month and silk blouses after every two or three wears. I tend to wash cotton t-shirts and shirts after every wear. I do wear an undershirt under all my tops and sweaters other than t-shirts.

    • says

      Haha. Good question actually. I know i am blessed and don’t really sweat much at all unless I’m exercising hard-core, so I’ve never had an issue with it. But you’re right, it does make sense. I guess I wear a cami underneath as an extra layer that I’d wash instead of the sweater or shirt I’m wearing on top.

    • Lala says

      I have major sweat issues under my arms! Thankfully no odor, but regardless of the deodorant I wear, I sweat…especially if a shirt is fitted under the arms. For this reason I stay away from a lot of tops with sleeves that show sweat quickly. It’s a bit of a bummer. I’ve heard it’s hormonal. I alternate deodorants, but never wear an aluminum deodorant with white because it makes me sweat leave yellow stains.

      I wash workout and lounge/at home clothes fairly frequently. I have a two year old…

      I never dry pants with spandex in them, because the heat destroys the Lycra/stretchy fibers more quickly. I do dry most t shirts and tanks. I utilize the “hand wash” cycle in my washer for sweaters. I basically wash jeans when they get stretched out (unless they get dirty first) and basic tanks and tops with everywhere…unless I only wore them for a short period of time. Unfortunately the sweating issue I talked about above means more frequent washing of those pieces. I don’t dry clean much of anything.

  3. says

    EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I wear something – except sweaters; a few times then they go to the cleaners .. I missed the memo on NEVER washing your jeans .. i’m going with that’s why they get tight on me b/c I wash them too often and they shrink!
    erika ~TiptoeButterfly~´s last blog post ..Morning

    • says

      you don’t have to NEVER wash your jeans…i just don’t because i don’t feel like they’re “dirty” – and i like the way they feel when they’re worn in. unless they’ve stretched out too much, then i prefer them right out of the dryer…

  4. says

    I’m with Cara — when I wash my jeans, it’s usually because they’ve stretched, not because they’re dirty. But I do have a two year old with grubby hands, so I’m definitely washing more than I’d like to these days. Cotton tops typically get washed after one wear (unless it was for a short period of time), but I try to stretch blouses and sweaters to two or three wears, especially if they’re dry clean only.

    I NEVER EVER tumble dry my jeans, as well as most non-tee shirt tops. And everything is washed on cold.
    Jessica @ Beautify My Life´s last blog post ..J.Crew changed their flats…now what?

    • says

      i keep forgetting that you’re not supposed to dry jeans…but i always have. i guess i’ve done it so they’ll get their shape back. oh – wait – i never dried my rag & bone jeans with holes in them.

      i’ve always washed everything on cold since i can remember – except sheets and bath towels – and my husband’s clothes LOL

  5. says

    Oh man… before I had Jasper, I washed my jeans like never. Now I wash them every couple of weeks depending on what happens to them!

    I’ve also recently started washing my “dry clean” clothes in a mesh bag with woolite. I don’t know if it’s more eco friendly, but I feel like the clothes are cleaner that way.
    jennine´s last blog post ..Leather Shorts Makes Everything Fancy

    • says

      i used to handwash my dry clean clothes in a bag with woolite, but my eileen fisher harem pants shrunk in length that way…and a lot of my thinner pieces don’t respond well to water. now i just do dryell in the dryer. seems to work okay.

      having a baby around definitely changes things!!!!

  6. Anna says

    I think that people use the dryer and the drycleaner much more than necessary. Both are not only terrible for the environment, but also to the clothes, and in other parts of the world basically not used at all. I wash everything on low temperature and hangdry. Everything, Works great for even delicate fabrics.

    • says

      i’ve been hanging to dry nearly everything lately – it’s not very practical for EVERYTHING because of limited space here, but i do the best i can! if i had an outisde area where i felt safe hanging my clothes to dry, i’d definitely do it more…

  7. Mamavalveeta03 says

    I wear jeans for approximately 5 wears before washing. Sweaters, at least 3-4 wearings and usually a depilling in between wearings. Tees, a couple of wearings, usually with a tank or cami underneath, unless I get something on it or I sweat a lot. (Schmutz! I love Yiddish words. They’re so descriptive!) And with blouses or button downs, I actually find I have to usually wash after every wear if I’m wearing makeup. I must not have a neck, because my makeup gets on my collar!!!
    I absolutely NEVER dry sweaters, jeans or anything I really care about in the dryer. I wish I could say it was strictly for Eco-purposes, but it’s really clothing preservation. (Well, that counts as Eco, right?!?)

    • says

      ha. yes that counts as eco :)
      that is EXACTLY why i don’t wear silk or shirts with collars – somehow, even though i don’t wear a lot of makeup, it gets on my collar. it’s inevitable.

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