Guidelines for when to wash everything from pajamas to jeans.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated December 18, 2018
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If you're tackling multiple loads of laundry at one time, it can take all weekend to complete. Rather than ruin your weekend, break the task up into chunks of time during the week, suggests Cathy Bloch, a mother of three in Bronson, Michigan. Dedicate one day to washing sheets, another to light clothing, or if you have several children, do one kid's laundry each day. By the time Sunday rolls around, you'll be ready to relax. 
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Admit it: You’ve gone a little too long without washing some of your everyday, go-to clothes (think jeans, bras, and t-shirts). You're not alone. But, um, how long exactly is too long? Here’s how to tell how often you should wash every item of clothing, all in one easy-to-follow chart from our book, The Real Simple Guide to Real Life: Adulthood Made Easy. Our advice: Pin this chart 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.

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.

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. To keep your clothing looking their best, wash them regularly and follow these laundry tips for longer-lasting clothing.

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