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How Often Should You Do Your Laundry?

Are you doing too much laundry? Possibly—and you’ll save more than just your time. Overwashing clothes is an often overlooked sustainability issue, but garment care is actually the reason an item creates a large carbon footprint over its lifecycle. In fact, a Levi’s study found that for its signature 501 jeans, the consumer care phase (i.e. washing and drying) resulted in 10 % carbon footprint per person, and 10% of total water consumption.

“Changing our household laundry habits is one of them,” Levi’s vice president and head of global product innovation Paul Dillinger told Vogue.” It’s also a very simple solution: we just ask people not to do their laundry. ”

But how often should we actually do laundry? Levi’s advises customers to wash their jeans after every 10 wear “On average, Chinese consumers wash their jeans after wearing them four times. In the UK and France, the average number of wears between washes dropped to 2.5. In the US, the wear/wash ratio is about 2.3,” continues Dillinger. Moving from washing jeans every 2.5 wears to washing every 10 10% reduction in carbon footprint.

It’s not just our jeans that we overwash, though.” Wool clothing is probably the most common overwashed,” says Dr. Kyle Grant, CEO of eco-friendly laundry company and dry cleaning alternative Oxwash. “Wool has some unique properties that contribute to its ability to resist dirt and odors – Spot clean, dry and/or steam iron to restore shape. Oxwash recommends washing wool sweaters every fifth wear, while some knitwear experts say we can actually wash sweaters at the end of each season.

Bras are often over-washed too— — Grant recommends washing your hands every two to three wears. At the same time, wash dresses every one to three wears, shirts every one to two wears, and T-shirts after every wear. “Some fibers, such as Cotton, should be washed with a stronger detergent and a higher temperature to allow the soil to release, [although] most of us rarely soil our clothes enough to require a higher temperature,” Grant continued.




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