Wear and Wash, or Wear Again?

Posted by Mrs Money on October 23rd, 2009

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This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance over at The Centsible Life. Awesome!

It seems to me that saving money on your laundry is probably one of the hottest topics when someone mentions frugality. Whether it’s making your own laundry detergent, air drying, or shopping at thrift stores, clothes and their care seem to spark numerous conversations. Personally I love making my own laundry detergent and I don’t think I’ll ever turn back. I try to air dry our clothes to not only save money, but to help save the Earth and make my clothes last longer.  Another tip that I follow is to wear clothes more than once.

I’ll wear a pair of pants a few times before I wash it.  Shirts normally I wash after I wear them every time (I worry about being stinky!).  Jeans are better when you wear them a few times.  Please launder your undergarments after wearing them.  Don’t reuse them!  Socks, same thing.  These are generally the rules I follow.  As I was putting my pants back on the shelf today, I got to thinking.  Is it a good idea to be doing what I’m doing?

While you probably would say yes at first thought, think about it.  I wear these clothes all day around numerous people.  I work in a bank, where there are tons of germs not only on the money, but the people that I come in contact with as well.  What if I am doing myself more harm than good by not washing these clothes? If I get sick with swine flu, I’m going to have to take time off work, which will cost me sick days.  And I really don’t want to get sick in the first place!

What do you normally do? Do you wear your clothes once and wash, or wear numerous times?

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29 Responses to “Wear and Wash, or Wear Again?”


  1. i have to admit i was chuckling a bit as i read ur post. i wear my slacks usually twice before washing them. however, mine is more out of necessity. i am trying to get out of debt and don’t want to spend money on clothes. i have about four pairs of black slacks. if i re-wear a pair of pants, it’s on the following day. i’ve never thought to hang them back up in the closet because i kinda feel like their dirty. thanks for tips.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I’ve worried about that too! I guess it’s not that big of a deal to me now. :)

    [Reply]

  2. Miss M says:

    Jeans I’ll wear twice, mainly cause they fade too fast with frequent washing and they fit so much better after stretching out. But my work clothes are a one wear item and then into the laundry, I always manage to spill tea or get something on them in the course of a day.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mine fit so much better too after wearing! They are a little tight after washing. Of course, that may be a result of something else. ;)

    [Reply]

  3. In the summer, I can only wear tops once, but sometimes in the cooler months I can get by with wearing them twice before I feel like I need to wash them. I wear my jeans at least three times before washing… Miss M says hers are much more comfortable after stretching out, mine are like baggy elephant pants after three days… maybe I need to get some new jeans.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Baggy elephant pants… lol! Mine are a little tight before I wear them. ;)

    [Reply]

  4. H Lee D says:

    I wear pants/shorts/skirts until they are visibly dirty, regardless of how many wearings that is.

    In the warm/hot months, shirts get worn once and are washed. When it’s cooler, they’ll get re-worn as long as they pass the smell test :)

    Exercise clothes get washed with every wearing.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I love the smell test! ;) I am glad I am not the only one who does that.

    [Reply]

  5. I’m with H Lee D.

    Same smell test or visibly dirty clothing.

    But in the hot months, it’ll be more often

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I agree- I don’t want to stink. That would be gross!

    [Reply]

  6. dw says:

    Ha ha, this is funny to me – I have only one decent pair of exercise clothes, and they get rinsed in the sink, hung over the shower, and reworn daily until the weekly laundry. They defintely don’t pass the smell test by Thursday (laundry is on Saturday) but I figure this makes me run faster past potential whiffers of my stench. Everything else gets the smell or dirty test, although I have shown up at work with curry on my jeans and had to suffer through the day…. (smell test for me means once wear for shirts, twice or thrice wear for jeans)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    That is too funny! It’s so interesting to see what other people think of this. I am pretty surprised that people wear their clothes more than once. I thought they would think I was gross!

    [Reply]

  7. Catherine says:

    I don’t think you’re harming yourself by doing what you are doing (I do the same thing down to the letter!). Most viruses can not survive outside of the human body for very long, so I doubt that there is H1N1 hanging out on your clothes all night long.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Awesome! I’m not too worried about it but you know how the news likes to blow things out of proportion. I figure there’s not too much I can do to avoid it, so I’ll do all I can and not worry too much about it!

    [Reply]

  8. Victoria says:

    I’m a staunch advocate of the re-wear! Slacks, twice. Jeans, three or four times (as I’m usually just bumming around the house or wearing them half a day). Tops and undies get washed immediately, though ;)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Agreed! No reusing undies! :)

    [Reply]

  9. Tabatha says:

    visibly dirty and smell test for shirts and pants. i usually only wear clothes around the house anyway on my days off and work clothes i don’t really care about that much as long as they are not stinky or visibly dirty. if I’m just wearing something around the house i don’t really care if i wear it again as long as i don’t spill food all over it. i don’t really worry about germs i don’t get sick very often so i don’t really care.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Everyone loves the smell test! :)

    [Reply]

  10. I normally wear my pants and jeans two times before washing. Shirts depends if I wear it to work I wash after each wear, if it is a t-shirt I wear around the house at night I average two nights. Underwear, socks, and undershirts get 1 wear before washing. Hygiene people let’s not forget that.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I once heard you can wear underwear four times. Once the right way, second backwards, third time inside out, and fourth time inside out backwards. I wouldn’t recommend it though! ;)

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    LOL, I subscribed to the comments on this thread and just had to comment on this one. Ewww, eww, and eww!! Now I can fathom this four way change out in ONE 12 hour day, but never for four days in a row!! No way! I won’t go into any more details, but ewww! LOL!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    That is so funny! I couldn’t resist throwing it out there. ;)

  11. Save the earth says:

    I wear pants as long as they pass the smell/visual test. I also do the smell test for tops, sometimes we use a shirt for 3 or 4 hours only, how dirty can this shirt be ? If everybody used their clothes twice or MORE, just imagine the quantity of water, eletricity and resources that would be saved.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I know. It would be amazing if everyone was on board. I hang dry 99% of my laundry- even in winter! It hangs in my basement. :)

    [Reply]

  12. Pam Munro says:

    I wear my jeans several times until really dirty. But I also take off my “good” clothes as soon as I get home, to avoid further soiling – and some of those items can go a long time with only a press or an airing. At home I wear jeans + tshirts or sweatshirts – The sweatshirts I can wear several times – but I usually wear tshirts once. Ditto any underwear. In the old days,part of my underwear was wash & wear nylon (or similar fiber) so I could wash them easily in mly bathroom sink & hang dry. I am big on spot cleaning – even sponging off my jeans to avoid stains & let me wear them a bit longer.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Pam- I like your plan! The undies have to be worn only once. ;) Jeans can last forever without being washed! I hate stiff jeans.

    [Reply]


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