Many would have you believe that the simple act of asking, “Do I need to wash this?” means that the answer is automatically “YES!” But that isn’t always the case, and to be quite honest, figuring out how often to wash certain things isn’t nearly as intuitive as you’d think!
For example, when I was a newlywed, I realized I didn’t have a clue how often I should wash our bedding. Every week? Every month? (Hey, at least I was in the ballpark!) 😉
So when I recently ran across this list on the American Cleaning Institute’s website, I thought it would be helpful to share those guidelines (along with some of my own) here with you today. Whether your knowledge of when to wash things needs a bit of refreshing or a major overhaul, you’re sure to find the straightforward guidelines you need in the list below!
Note: You may have slightly different (or even vastly different) takes on the guidelines included below, and that’s okay! They are guidelines, not rules or laws, so feel free to take them, leave them, or use them as a baseline you can tweak over time!
“How Often Should I Wash This?” – Laundry Guidelines From The Pros
Guidelines For Washing Bedding
- Sheets – Wash them every two weeks at the very least, and more often if you sweat a lot at night.
- Pillowcases – Wash them once a week, or keep two sets of pillowcases and swap them out weekly.
- Throw Blankets – Wash them once a month.
- Mattress/Pillow Protectors – Wash them once a month.
- Comforters, Duvets, & Pillows – Wash them every six months.
Guidelines For Washing Clothing
- Underwear & Socks – Wash them after each wearing.
- Bras – Wash them after two to three wearings, and give each bra a “rest day” between wearings to allow the elastic to regain its shape.
- T-Shirts, Tank Tops, & Camisoles – Wash them after each wearing.
- Outer Layers (Dress Shirts, Etc.) – Items worn over another layer can be washed after a few wearings, but should be washed sooner if you’ve been sweating or they are visibly dirty.
- Jeans – Wash them after three wearings.
- Leggings & Tights – Wash them after each wearing to restore their shape and flexibility.
- Suits – Have wool suits dry cleaned after every three to four wearings (or four to five wearings for synthetic suits,) or more frequently if you wear them in a smelly or grimy environments.
- Pajamas – Wash them after every three to four wearings, or slightly less frequently if you shower before bed.
- Swimwear – Wash bathing suits and other swimwear after each wearing.
- Coats, Jackets, & Other Outerwear – Wash them every three months.
Guidelines For Washing Towels
- Bath Towels – Wash them after three to four uses, and hang them to dry between each use.
- Dish Towels, Hand Towels, & Wash Cloths – Wash them after each day of use.
Guidelines For Washing Other Items
- Throw Rugs – Wash them every three months.
- Cloth Face Masks – Wash them after each use.
Exceptions To These Guidelines
- For every rule, there’s bound to be a few exceptions! Here are a couple of exceptions to the guidelines listed above that I think are worth noting:
- You should always wash new clothing before you wear it, regardless of whether it’s brand new or new-to-you.
- Certain fabric types and colors of fabric (like silk and white clothing) are especially susceptible to discoloration and should be cleaned after each wearing or use.
- In the event of stains or spills, the affected item should be cleaned as soon as possible (whether that means spot cleaning, laundering, or dry cleaning) to extend its lifespan.
Do you have any guidelines of your own about how often to wash certain items?