If you’ve been putting off doing laundry, those sheets, jeans, jackets and other washables could be harboring a lot more than some funky smells. Not only can dirty linens grow mold, mildew and bacteria, but they provide a wonderful environment for dust mites to grow and multiply – the most common year-round trigger of allergies. A survey by Coyuchi of 1,000 Americans revealed only 44 percentage of respondents washed their sheets within suggested frequency guidelines of every 1-2 weeks. Some of the most important items to keep clean are often overlooked on a busy laundry day. Keeping your clothes and linens clean is your first line of defense to illness, and hey— let’s be honest— it keeps you smelling a whole lot fresher.
As your partner in cleanliness, WASH has assembled a quick reference to help you keep clean while avoiding over-washing your favorite items. Of course, in the event of heavy soiling or illness in the household, your mileage may vary.
Sheets – Once a week is optimal, especially if you sweat in your sleep. Once every two weeks at most. Use high heat if you’re battling a virus.
Pajamas – Suggestions range from every wear to at most four wears. If you shower before bed, you can expect a few wears, otherwise they get dirty quite quickly.
Jacket/Blazer – Five or six wears is possible between washes, spot treat as needed.
Bath Towels – These are absolute breeding grounds for bacteria. Assuming the towel is hung to dry after use, you should still wash every 3 to 4 uses.
Hand Towels – Due to the nature of a hand towel, they generally see a lot of use. Change these germ-havens out for washing every two or three days.
Pillows – Wash these twice a year. Four times a year if you’re prone to drooling.
Jeans – A subject of much discussion, jeans get re-worn a LOT. The truth is, they should be washed at least every 4 wears. Think about the (lack of) cleanliness of every surface you sit on.
Bath Mat – A very commonly overlooked item, bath mats are prone to mildew and mold buildup. Wash every one or two weeks to keep clean, and hang over the edge of the tub after use to prolong freshness.
Pillow Cases – Once a week, an encouraging factor to keep those sheets cleaned weekly too!
Blankets/Comforters – If you sleep with a top sheet, you can wait to do blankets twice a year. If not, launder every two months, especially during colder periods.
Sweaters – Wool and synthetic blends can afford 5 wears before needing a wash. Cotton needs a bit more attention, after 2-3 wears. Of course, if you’re not wearing an undershirt with your sweater, it’s going to need to be washed after each wear.
Bras – Unless you sweat excessively, every three to four wears is ample. Overwashing can damage the elasticity necessary for proper support.
Underwear – This one shouldn’t need stating, but underwear should be washed after every one-day use.
Leggings/Yoga Pant – These gym-wear turned comfort clothes don’t have quite the lifetime between washes that many assume they do. If you’re actually exercising in them, they need a wash every wear. Otherwise, you can get away with 2-3 wears.
Heavy Coats – Most heavy coats need to be cleaned once or twice per season. Check the label for special care instructions before washing, just to be safe.
T-Shirts – Generally speaking, t-shirts should be washed after each wear. These daily-wear items collect more than enough sweat, dirt and dead skin cells to warrant a cleaning.
Dress Shirts – Due to their ‘‘outerwear’’ nature, dress shirts can be afforded 2-3 wears before washing unless you’re prone to heavy sweating.