When to Wash Your Clothes: The Poor College Student’s Guide

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Let’s face it: washing your clothes when you live in the dorm is not only inconvenient when you’re living with 200 other people, it’s expensive. But the good news is, you don’t actually have to wash some of the things you wear as often as you think. Unless you’re living in the desert or sweat like pig, no matter how cool it is.

So, um. Moving on. When do you toss certain articles of clothing in the hamper?

Bras
When to wash? After 3 to 4 wears.

What to know? Because bras do not come into direct contact with your underams, they should be okay for a few wears. (Unless you sweat a lot. I recommend hand washing them with gentle soap after each wear, if that’s the case.) Their elastic does wear out if you wear the same bra 2 days in a row, so try rotating them.

Jeans
When to wash? After 4 to 5 wears.

What to know? Overwashing jeans will cause them to fade and fray. So the smart decision, if you want your clothes to last longer, is to delay washing them. But if they are stretchy jeans, throw them in the hamper after 3 to 4 wears. With jeggings, even less.

Jackets and Blazers
When to wash? After 5 to 6 wears.

What to know? Because they are usually layered over a shirt, they don’t require too much upkeep. But they do retain odors (like smoke when you’re at a foreign bar or beans if you were at a Mexican restaurant, etc.) — so air it out/spray it with Febreze fabric freshener or something after a wear.

Khaki Shorts & Pants
When to wash? After 2 to 3 wears.

What to know? Khackis are more susceptible to noticeable spots and smudges than jeans (obviously).

PJs
When to wash? After 3 to 4 wears.

What to know? You sweat a LOT when you sleep, whether you know it or not. So make sure you wash your PJs twice as often as you wash your sheets.

Skirts
When to wash? After 4 to 5 wears.

What to know?  You’re likely doing very little strenuous activity, so that allows leniency in washing your skirts.

Swimsuits
When to wash? After every single wear. No exceptions.

What to know? Salt and chlorine already eat away at your swim suit. But even if you only wear it to sun bathe, your oils/bacteria/odors will be absorbed. Hand wash it in cool water and detergent, and air dry it.

Tops, Dress Shirts, & Dresses
When to wash? After 1 to 3 wears.

What to know? Overdoing the deodorant will leave stains. You can also prevent underarm stains by wearing an undershirt  or investing in garment guards (which are a life saver, by the way).

T-Shirts, Tanks, Camisoles
When to wash? After every wear.

What to know? Treat them like underwear. That’s all you need to know. Unless you’ve worn it less than 4 hours/briefly–that’s an exception then.

Towels
When to wash? After a week of using it.

What to know? Towels are a popular zone for bacteria if you don’t air them out after each use. Make sure you hang it up to dry!

Bed Sheets
When to wash? After 2 weeks.

What to know? It’s amazing how much you shed on your sheets. And with your pillow sheets, after a week is recommended because you’re susceptible to acne if you sleep on your pillows more than that.