Here's when to wash everything from bras and pajamas to jeans and winter coats, all in one simple chart.

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Admit it: You've gone a little too long without washing some of your go-to clothes (think pajamas, jeans, bras, and T-shirts). You're not alone. But, um, how long is too long, exactly?

Here's how to tell how often you should wash every item of clothing, in one easy-to-follow chart from our book, The Real Simple Guide to Real Life: Adulthood Made EasyOur advice: Pin the chart below to your Pinterest board to save for later, then print it out and post it on the inside of your closet door or in your laundry room so you can reference it when you're debating whether you really need to tackle that load of laundry.

When to Wash Every Type of Clothing

Item of Clothing

How Often to Wash

Anything white or silk

After every wear


After 3 to 4 wears

Down parkas and vests

2 times a season

Dress pants and skirts

2 times a season

Fleece jackets and sweatshirts

After 6 to 7 wears

Hats, gloves & scarves

3 to 5 times a season


After every wear

Jackets and blazers

After 5 to 6 wears


After 4 to 5 wears

Leather and suede jackets

Once a season

Leggings and yoga pants

After 1 to 3 wears


After 3 to 4 wears


After 1 to 3 wears

Shorts and khakis

After 2 to 3 wears

Sweaters: Cotton, silk, and cashmere

After 2 wears

Sweaters: Wool and synthetic blends

After 5 wears


After every wear

T-Shirts, tanks, and camisoles

After every wear

Tops and dresses

After 1 to 3 wears

Formal dresses

Dry-clean after every wear

Wool coats

1 to 2 times a season

A Few Fashion Exceptions

Part of the reason for washing clothing regularly is not just to avoid body odor and look presentable (although, that is the first priority here), but also to maintain your clothing and keep your clothes looking like new for longer. When left on clothing for extended periods of time, sweat and body oils can damage delicate fibers. Plus, the longer you let stains and soil set into the fibers, the harder it will be to remove them.

That said, there are certain clothing items that may actually hold up better the less you wash them, like jeans—or some may require more washes, like bras. But the exact frequency will vary depending on who you ask.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bra?

When it comes to cleanliness, our recommendation is to wash bras every three to four wears. But when it comes to support, fashion experts recommend washing more frequently. Brassiere expert Danny Koch, owner of New York City's Town Shop, recommends every other wear, or by the third, maximum. "When you're strapped in for 10 to 12 hours a day, the garment not only collects oils from your skin and deodorant, but the elastic stretches and loses its form through wear," Koch says. "And when you're investing anywhere from $50 to $100 for a quality piece, you need consistent care to maximize your investment." 

How Often Should You Wash Your Jeans?

For keeping bacteria at bay, you should wash your jeans every four to five wears. However, depending on the type of denim you're sporting and your devotion to protecting its look and feel, experts recommend washing your jeans way less. Think every six weeks or 10 wears. "People make the mistake of washing their jeans far too frequently," says Nicole Russo, private stylist and founder of NYC-based Let's Get You. "The less you wash them the better, especially denim with any elastane (stretch). When you wash your denim, you're putting it through a beating, and each cycle breaks down the fabric."

The Bottom Line

For everyday items, like bras and pajamas, you'll have to make a mental note to remember how many times you've worn each item. Remember, it's not an exact science—if you end up wearing those PJs for a fifth night, it will most likely be fine. These are meant as general guidelines rather than hard and fast rules, and a sniff check is still a quick and easy way to determine when it's time for a wash for many items. And of course, common sense applies here: even if you can get by with washing a particular shirt every five wears in the winter, you'll have to wash it more often during the sweltering summer months.

How Often You Really Need to Wash Every Item in Your Closet chart

Excerpted from The Real Simple Guide to Real Life: Adulthood Made Easy.