Just because we’ve lived more years of life doesn’t mean we’re suddenly Martha Stewart, or that we don’t need to cut some corners every once in a while. The reality of adulthood is that we don’t always eat our vegetables, don’t always brush our teeth, and most of us wear clothes more than once before washing them.
And when it comes to our clothes, not washing them after every single use can actually be a good thing. A piece on GarmentCare.com on ways to ensure long life for our clothing specifically sited over washing as one of the biggest factors in wear and tear. We’re often being kinder to our clothes (and therefor our wallets) when we launder them as little as possible.
The question then becomes: how do we achieve this without also feeling totally gross? Because the fact of the matter is, we’re only human, and humans sweat, and yes, smell. It’s natural, albeit annoying. And while most of us love the idea of saving time and — in the long run — money by preserving our clothes, we also don’t want to walk around being that person who obviously doesn’t wash enough.
The good news is, there are legitimately some great and super simple hygiene tips that allow us to wear clothes more than once without things getting gross. It’s often just about a few easy maintenance routines and knowing a some definite “don’ts.” So for your convenience, here are nine hygiene tips everyone who wears clothes more than once should know.
1. Do The “Sniff Test”
If you’re one of those people who gets freaked out wearing clothes that don’t smell like they were freshly laundered, it might be time to reframe your perspective a little. According to a piece on the lifestyle site SnappyLiving, it’s natural for clothes to take on the scents of our body, whether it be the lotion we wear, or body oils. So just because our clothes don’t smell like detergent anymore doesn’t mean they actually smell bad. Wait until they actually begin to smell like sweat or B.O. to throw them in the hamper.
2. Apply Anti-Perspirant At Night
Clinique Antiperspirant, $11.70, Nordstrom.com
According to Consumer Report, antiperspirant is most effective when applied at night after a shower. This enables the product to really absorb into your skin and fight sweat for the next 24 hours. Use deodorant (as opposed to anti-perspirant which is actively designed to stop sweating) for touch ups in the morning or throughout the day.
3. Shave Regularly
Gillette Venus Divine Sensitive Razor, $7.61, Pharmapacks.com
A piece for Cosmopolitan noted that body hair can trap sweat, which can foster bacteria growth and therefor odors. If you’re someone who re-wears clothes before washing, shaving regularly is a good way to keep things fresher longer. Plus, it helps keep you cool in the summer — and who doesn’t like that?
4. Invest In Some Linen Spray
Ginger Pomelo Linen And Room Spray, $10, Caldrea.com
OK, this one isn’t technically a hygiene tip because it doesn’t kill bacteria. However, it does help you feel super fresh if you’re one of those people who loves your clothes to smell like they’ve just been laundered even when they haven’t. Just spray directly on your clothes to keep them smelling fresh.
5. Hang Clothes In The Sun
According to Outside Online, a site devoted to active lifestyles, studies have shown that hanging your clothes in the sun kills some bacteria, and noted it even works best on dry clothes. Try keeping a drying rack in your home by a window that gets a lot of natural light, and hang clothes there when you come home each day. Return them to your closet after they’ve spend a day soaking up some sun.
6. Don’t Leave Workout Clothes In A Gym Back
REI Women’s Balance Gym Bag, $39.73, REI.com
Most of us end up wearing our gym clothes more than once, and that’s totally okay. However, a compilation piece on gym clothes maintenance noted the importance of not keeping your clothes in your gym bag overnight. The combination of the moisture from our sweat and the dark environment is a recipe for mold and bacteria growth. Instead, always make sure you remove your clothes after a workout and let them air out. This will definitely extend how many times you can get away with wearing them before washing.
7. Invest In Sweat Absorbing Workout Clothes
Niyama Yoga Tank, $85, Swettybetty.com
Here’s another workout clothes tip: invest in brands that are specifically designed to absorb odors. They might seem pricier up front, but I promise you’ll notice a difference right away in how long you can wear an item before it needs washing. I’ve found that regular cotton T-shirts and spandex just can’t compete.
8. Socks Don’t Apply
So odds are you already knew that underwear doesn’t apply when it comes to wearing things more than once, and sadly, socks don’t either. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about tip for re-wearing clothes, and all across the board socks are in the “single use” category. Your dark shoes, often damp with sweat, provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, meaning your socks should go straight in the hamper.
9. Wash Your Body Regularly
OK, this one probably seems super obvious, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. One of the best ways to ensure your clothes don’t smell is by making sure your body is clean and fresh, since your clothes are really just absorbing your scent. Shower everyday, even if you don’t wash you hair, and make sure you get in the nooks an crannies that allow bacteria to multiply, like under your arms and between your toes.
Wearing clothes more than once is sometimes a necessity, but it doesn’t have to make you feel gross. Incorporate the above tips into your routine, and say hello to fresher clothes and less laundry!
Images: Pexels (4) Danielle Marroquin, Dan Watson/Unsplash