Experts weigh how many times you can wear clothes without washing them. Wearing clothing without washing clothes often seems to be a matter of folklore or an individual’s upbringing rather than professional advice.
Allison Delperdang, a TikTok user, sparked an internet uproar on January 10 when she posted a video saying she wears the same pajamas many times.
“When I was young, my folks would have us wear pajamas multiple nights because they had not been dirty. As an adult, I still practice that,” she declared. “I want to know if, as mature adults, we are still doing that, or should I be soiling clothing at night?”
Technically, the answer for pajamas and other clothing depends on personal factors such as sweat level and lifestyle.
However, more abstract elements may come into play for many people.
Our clothes hygiene views are primarily “societal and cultural,” according to Assistant attending dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi. Practices at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
“People frequently “over-hygiene” and overwash themselves because, particularly in the United States, we have the luxury of being able to do all of that anytime we want.”
Manal Mohammed is a senior lecturer in medical microbiology at London’s University of Westminster. Wearing the same ensembles again, especially on consecutive days, is claimed to be “associated with preventing decision fatigue.”
Knowing when to wash your clothes can impact both ends of the scale. Washing them too infrequently may cause skin problems or infections, while washing them too frequently may damage your clothing. The latter can also lead to excessive laundry and resource use.
Here are my tips to assist you in determining when clothes can be worn again without washing and when they should be cleaned.
The universal rule: What you must wash
There should be a firm limit on how often you can wear clothing. However, underwear, socks, tights, leggings, and sportswear should be washed after each usage, according to experts. According to Mohammed, this advice also applies to clothes with stains, sweat, stench, or apparent filth.
According to Rossi, our bodies are covered in natural germs such as microbiome, yeast, and bacteria. “Then, as a result of our daily activity, we sweat,” which creates moisture and an environment where these bacteria can thrive.
He added that bacterial overgrowth can lead to infections, fungus, and other skin issues.
In addition to germs from sweating, clothes worn in gyms or sports environments can come into touch with bacteria. Such as Staphylococcus aureus, resulting in infections frequent in community and hospital settings. These infections can be fatal if spread to internal organs or the bloodstream.
Some people may air or tumble-dry their training clothes to make them safe to wear the next day. However, Rossi believes that this technique exacerbates the condition.
“Heat will cause the bacteria to multiply,” he added, adding that the temperature was not high enough to sterilize them. “You really need to wash with soap and water—boiling water, which can help release that dirt and sebum and get rid of bacteria.”
Regarding why you shouldn’t wear socks again without washing them first, “fungal infections on the feet and toes are rampant,” Dr. Jeremy Fenton stated. Schweiger Dermatology Group’s medical director in New York City and a clinical instructor in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“Inside our shoes is the perfect environment for breeding fungus.” “It’s warm, humid, and dark.”
As a result, Rossi recommends washing your shoes or at least the insoles once a month.
Clothes you can re-wear
Wearing pants, pajamas, outerwear, and other clothing depends on the same principle as wearing underwear or activewear.
“As far as your pants and shirts go, I think it’s all about comfort and how much you perspire during the day,” Rossi explained. “A lot of people wear undershirts.” “The undershirt is something you should wash, although your top shirt is something you don’t need to wash.”
If you don’t wear underwear, you should wash your clothes before wearing them again because they come into contact with your genital skin, according to Rossi.
Assume you often shower before bed, wear underwear, and sweat little to no when wearing pajamas. Experts say you could wear them for a week without washing them. However, if you do not do these things, you must always clean them.
Rossi claims that since coats and other outerwear do not come into contact with your flesh, they should only be washed once every month. “If you wear it daily, wash it every two weeks,” he recommends.
Because many folks wish to maintain the quality of the fabric, washing jeans may be a touchy subject because the textile is frequently stiffer and more durable than other fabrics. According to Rossi, if the jeans aren’t sweaty, soiled, or stained, they don’t need to be washed as frequently. “I don’t wash my jeans,” he adds.
Mohammed recommended washing jeans monthly but acknowledged that it depends on your lifestyle and environment.
“If somebody told me they were wearing their jeans for months and hadn’t experienced skin or odor issues. I would not have any problem,” Fenton said.
According to experts, the most critical questions to ask oneself while considering whether to wear something again without cleaning are: Does it smell? Is there anything wrong with my skin, such as eczema, rashes, or a skin lesion? Did I put on underwear? Is it dirty, and were you sweltering? Is this something I wear with underwear?
“The essential thing is that the answer will be highly variable,” Fenton explained.