Be honest – how often do you wash your clothes?
If you’ve been guilty of wearing the same pair of jeans for eight wears or sleep in the same pyjamas for a week, you might want to rethink your laundry schedule.
Bacteria, bodily fluids and general dirt and grime can all add up to one filthy excuse for a piece of clothing, and whether it’s your bra, your favourite dress or even your handbag, you’re probably not cleaning it enough.
We asked the experts their advice on how often you should wash your clothes and the best way to do it.
How often should you wash your jeans?
Tricky one, this. There's no question that over-washing your jeans will affect their colour and shape. Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh reportedly told a conference that he hadn't washed his favourite pair for over a year.
However, most people would agree that's stretching a point. Jeans designer Donna Ida recommends washing them after five or six wears.
“I wear jeans five to six times without washing them and only ever cold-wash and line-dry them. Hot temperatures ruin jeans; 30° is hot,” she told The Telegraph.
Donna also recommends being gentle with your jeans, choosing the gentle setting your washing machine and never putting them in the tumble dryer as this can ruin the elastane.
“If you look after your jeans they’ll be a great investment for many years to come,” she added.
How often should you wash your dresses?
Nathalie Gibbins, Editor of LittleBlackDress.co.uk, recommends washing your dresses after every wear if you've worn it all day but if you've worn one for a few hours in the evening, you can go without washing every time.
Nathalie suggests freshening up a dress that's only been worn for a few hours by spraying it with a home made odour neutralising solution. Mix one part vodka to two parts water and spritz over the dress.
"It sounds obvious, but always follow instructions on the care label - they're there for a reason," Nathalie commented. "Some fabrics may be more delicate than you think so machine washing isn't always a good idea.
"For delicate items, or special occasion dresses featuring beads or sequins, hand wash in lukewarm water with a mild detergent, making sure any flakes are full dissolved before submerging.
"Don't rub or scrub, but gently swish around for a few minutes. Rinse really well in lots of cold water, before rolling up gently in a towel to soak up any excess and leaving to dry flat on a towel, away from direct heat and light. Mesh bags are a godsend for washing delicate items in the machine."
How often should you wash your bra?
While it depends on your lifestyle, a general guide is that you should wash your bra after two or three wears.
An eBay lingerie expert commented: “Depending on a woman’s personal hygiene and lifestyle, a standard bra may be worn a couple of times before it needs to be washed.
“Some women who sweat more may wish to wash their bras more often but for everyday wear, washing after every wear isn’t necessary.” In fact, over-washing can have a negative effect as it can damage the elastic in your bras.
Hand wash bras if possible – machine washing can also be detrimental – and always use cool, lukewarm water which helps the bra maintain its shape. If you can’t avoid using the washing machine, always use the gentle setting and hook the clasps to stop damaging other items.
It’s also suggested that you should give your bra a rest day in between wearing it to give the elastic a chance to regain it shape.
How often should you wash pyjamas?
According to the Clean Living Institute, pyjamas should be washed after three or four wears – the exception being if you’ve showered before bed.
Why? If you sweat during the night, your pyjamas will become dirty quicker, and if you use a hot water bottle it’s likely that you’ll sweat even more.
At the very least, you should really be washing your PJs after wearing them for a week. Research has found dirty pyjamas can cause all manner of health problems from acne to cystitis.
And what about handbags and purses?
We take our handbags everywhere with us, and happily put them on the floor of a train, a pub and even the toilet – allowing it to collect a myriad germs that we easily transfer to ourselves.
Inside your handbag, it’s your purse you need to be wary of. Coins, notes and even credit cards can carry potentially harmful bacteria too.
While some bags and purses can be machine-washed (check the label), clean your bag and purse once a week with anti-bacterial wipes (use alcohol-free ones to prevent leather staining) to keep the germs away.