How Many Times Should You Wear Your Clothes Before You Wash Them?

Experts weigh in!

There’s no hard and fast rule for how many times you can wear clothing again, but experts say there are a few types that should be washed after every use: underwear, socks, tights, leggings and activewear.

These kinds of clothes are “on a part of our body that just has a lot of natural bacteria that live on our body, like our microbiome, (yeast) and bacteria.

That just breeds moisture and an environment where this bacteria can overgrow. Bacteria overgrowth can lead to infections, fungus and other skin issues. Those infections can become serious if they enter internal tissues or the bloodstream.

Some people might let their workout clothes dry via air or a dryer, intending to make them safe to wear again the next day. But that approach makes the situation worse.

Heat is going to make the bacteria grow. It’s not hot enough to sterilize them.  Soap is the only thing that will make them clean. Experts also add that we should wash these clothes in cold water.

Experts advise that we should also wash our shoes or the insoles at least once a month.

For pyjamas, outerwear, jeans and other clothes, how many times you can wear them without washing is based on the same principles for undergarments or activewear.

As for your pants and shirts, it depends on how much you sweat throughout the day. 

A lot of people wear undershirts. The undershirt would be something to wash, whereas your top shirt you don’t need to wash.

If you don’t wear underwear, you need to wash your clothing before wearing it again since it came into contact with your genital skin.

If you usually shower before bed, wear underwear and sweat little to none when wearing pyjamas, you could wear them for a week without washing. (Despite what TikTok says)

Outerwear — such as coats or jackets — typically doesn’t need to be washed more than once a month since it doesn’t touch your skin.

The most important questions you should ask yourself, experts say, when considering whether to wear something again without washing are these: Does it smell? Do I have any skin conditions, such as eczema, a rash or a skin lesion? Is it visibly dirty? Is it sweaty? Did I wear underwear with this?