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When To Wash Women's Clothes

How many wearings until I need to wash something?


Knowing when to wash clothes varies from garment to garment. Some items can be worn several times, others need washing after every wear. Here are some guidelines to help you keep your clothes looking their best and pleasing to wear.

Specific questions? Just ask here.

Bras and Underwear

Unless you perspire profusely, bras can withstand 3 to 4 wearings between washings. But they do need a 24-hour break after wearing for the elastic to recover. If it is hot, sticky weather, wash them after each wearing. Perspiration wears down the elastic so washing actually extends the life of the bra.

Underwear - panties, thongs - should be washed after every wearing.

To prolong the life of lingerie, do not put them in the dryer. The high heat is deadly to delicate and elastic fibers.


Swimsuits should be washed after every wearing. Salt, chlorine, perspiration and body oils are deadly to the fibers of swimwear.

This rule applies even if you didn't get in the water. Like underwear, swimsuits are intimate garments and must be washed after every wearing.

T-shirts, Tanks, Camisoles

T-shirts are body-hugging, close-fitting garments similar to underwear. They absorb body oils and perspiration and when worn under jackets and sweaters protect them from soil.

These garments should be washed after every wearing.

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Denim is sturdy and great at hiding stains. But it still should be washed after every 4 to 5 wearings even if it looks clean. If you have stretch jeans, you'll probably want to wash them more often to prevent sagging and bagging, especially at the knees.

Wash jeans inside out to prevent fading and fraying. Using cold water will help them keep their color.

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Dress Pants and Skirts

If your dress or office wear pants and skirts are worn in an air-conditioned office, they can be worn 4 or 5 times before washing unless you drop your lunch in your lap. You should always hang clothes you've worn where they can relax and air for 24 hours before wearing again. This will allow fibers to rebound and wrinkles to relax.

You may also need to do touch-up pressing or place the garments in a dryer outfitted with steam drying or in a regular dryer with a damp, clean towel to help remove wrinkles.

To make your work clothing last longer, change as soon as possible after work into "play clothes".

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Jackets and Blazers

Jackets can usually be worn 5 or 6 times before they need cleaning - either washing or dry cleaning - unless they have a readily visible stain. Again, be sure to give them breathing time between wearings. You may also need to use a fabric refreshener to whisk away light odors.

Be sure to check key contact areas often - collars, sleeves, elbows - to be sure they are clean.

If you have a matching jacket and pants or jacket and skirt, be sure to wash or dry clean them together each time. This will prevent uneven fading.

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Blouses and Tops

As a general rule, blouses and tops should be washed after every wearing. Of course, if you don't perspire heavily and you only wear it for an hour or so, you can get a couple of wearings.

To extend the life of blouses and tops, don't overdo underarm anti-perspirants. They can discolor and leave a heavy residue on clothing. Wear an undershirt or dress shields to prevent staining to blouses.

If it is a special or dressy blouse that you don't wear often, clean it after each wearing. You don't want to find a stain a few months later when you're ready to wear it again. Older stains are harder to remove.

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Summer is a wonderful time for dresses. They are cooler and breezier to wear than most anything else. Dresses should be cleaned after every one to three wearings depending upon how fitted they are and how much you perspire.

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Did you know you sweat at night? We all do. We also shed thousands of skin cells. So, wash your pajamas or nightgowns or sleepwear after 3 or 4 wearings. If you shower right before bed you might be able to go a bit longer.

Don't forget, those sheets need a washing too - at least once per week.

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Shorts and Casual Pants

Many shorts and casual pants are made from khaki or lightweight fabrics. They will need to be washed after every 2 to 3 wearings or when a visible stain appears.

If your shorts are quite tight and body hugging, they should be washed after every wearing.

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If you wear another garment like a blouse or t-shirt under your sweater, you can get 6 or more wearings before it needs washing or dry-cleaning. If you wear it next to your body, one or two wearings is about all you can expect before a need to clean.

As with jackets, check necklines, cuffs and elbows each time to be sure they are still clean.

Athletic and Work Out Wear

Your work-out gear should be washed after every wearing. You probably perspired heavily, the fabrics are body hugging and can harbor bacteria and odor.

Wash everything after each work-out and don't forget to clean your gym bag or tote. Wash if possible or wipe out with a disinfecting wipe.

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