Bottom Line: How ofter do you need to wash your stuff

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:47 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - Think you do a lot of laundry? You’re not alone: Believe it or not, the average family does about 300 loads of laundry per year. That’s about 5 loads every week! One way to cut back - don’t wash your clothes as often.

How long can we really go before we need to wash everyday items? Search the web and that’s up for debate. Consumer Reports says don’t throw in the towel just yet - its laundry experts are here to help!

With three growing boys at home, it’s no surprise that Erica Dickman-Wilkes has mountains of laundry.

“I do laundry every single day. Every single day!” said Erica Dickman-Wilkes.

Stains, sweat, dirt - and clothes that don’t pass the sniff test are automatically thrown in the wash, but how often does Erica really need to wash sheets, towels and comforters?

“I do comforters every single week,” said Dickman-Wilkes.

Not necessary, says Consumer Reports - unless your pet sleeps on the bed, every 3 weeks will do the job, but don’t go too much longer.

Things we can’t see can accumulate - like dust mites, bacteria, and dead skin cells that can trigger allergies and skin irritation.

Sheets are another matter - wash them every 5 to 7 days – sooner if you or someone is sick.

Fear of a dank, moldy towel has Erica washing hers after every use.

“Don’t throw it on the floor. Hang it up. If you allow it to dry in between, you won’t have to wash it as often. We generally suggest 3 to 5 days,” said Rich Handel, Consumer Reports.

Undergarments, t-shirts, socks, and especially gym clothes - should be washed after each use.

“Don’t bunch them up in a bag and leave them there. It’ll become a science experiment,” said Handel.

What about khakis and dress shirts? Unless stained or sweaty, or you don’t wear undergarments, save yourself the trouble and wash them after three wears.

Jeans? Even longer! To get the most out of your detergent, use those tested by Consumer Reports - Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release, Tide Oxi, and Persil Pro Clean Stain Fighter earn top spots.

Don’t overdo it - more is not necessarily better.

Also don’t forget - how you sort your laundry is key - Consumer Reports recommends washing heavily soiled items separately from lightly soiled ones.

Treat stains before you throw them in the wash, and of course separate whites from colors.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

@consumerreports CR test engineer Rich Handel says it's time to free yourself from the grips of fabric softener 🙌. Learn more at #laundrytok #cleantok #5thingsiwouldneverdo ♬ original sound - Consumer Reports

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