· Am I green or gross? ·
My question is that how you wash the clothing you wear differently everyday. My mother wanted to have all the things clean everyday. So she washed almost all the clothes, I mean shirts, dress, and, for my brother’s case, dark denim jeans. I am feeling guilty when I do not wash shirts and pants after one time wearing. My mother even did not allow once worn clothes back to closet before they freshly washed.
I wash things for my six year old daughter everyday. It is understandable for younger kids [who] mess their clothes several times a day, and I know some of the stains go off just after they get in to the fabrics
When you change everyday, how do you wash them?
Me? I am a little bit of my mother-kind of person so it was not a big deal for me to wash the clothes washable in washing machine, and hand wash is OK with me. What about the dry clean only materials? My big concern is about the dry clean only summer clothing. How do you cope with that? Or am I too particular?
Grace from South Korea
I’ve actually been asked this question a few times, and I’ve answered it via comments. I have always been a bit hesitant to publish my answer as an actual blog entry because *gasp* I think I have some things I’ve never, ever washed.
I think you’ll agree that modern society is a bit obsessed with cleanliness. We’re terrified of germs, grease, and odor. I certainly don’t advocate a return to the days of monthly baths and pomanders, but we could probably chill out a little on the use of detergents.
When I was a child, I tossed my clothes into the dirty hamper every night and they probably needed the washing. Kids are messy. They spill food, play in the dirt, and have assorted accidents. But when was the last time you came home from the office with grass-stained knees and ketchup down your front?
Not only is daily laundering usually unnecessary, but it’s hard on your clothes. Detergents and heat stress fibers and fade dye. Dry-cleaning chemicals are notoriously harsh (and toxic). After multiple washings, even following care directions on the label, I’ve found that most items fade, pill, shrink or lose shape.
Finally, the process of cleaning clothes consumes a huge amount of resources. Traditional washing machines use gallons of water (the average is 55!) If you use warm or hot water, your water heater gets in on the action. I once (foolishly) watched the electric meter spin round and round while the dryer was running. One must also consider the contents, packaging, and transportation of laundry detergent and additives.
Call me green or call me gross, these are my guidelines on cleaning clothes:
Wash after every wearing: socks, tights, underwear, workout clothes, and anything stinky, sweaty, or soiled.
Wash after every few wearings: jeans, shorts, tees, tanks, and casual dresses. Many of these items are made from fibers that stretch from wearing, so I find that a wash and then finish in a hot dryer are necessary to restore them to their original shape.
Sniff test the rest: suit separates, dress pants, skirts, non-casual dresses, sweaters, blazers, blouses, and vests (i.e. most of the things one wears to an office). Since we’re all so hygiene obsessed, we’re usually clean when we put our clothes on and they don’t get soiled over the course of the day. Unless you had a stressful, pitted-out kind of day at work, the deodorant you applied in the morning prevented any body odor from stinking up your clothing. Give your duds a quick sniff when you change out of them. If they don’t smell bad, hang them in a location with good air circulation for a day or two before returning to the closet. I drape my things over a carved wooden screen.
And I never ever leave them in a big pile where my cats can sleep on them.
Items worn as second layers, away from the body, can usually go the longest without cleaning. Eventually, even the cleanest body soils garments worn next to the skin, but it doesn’t usually happen in one wearing. In my wardrobe, things that are truly dirty are washed at home or sent to the cleaners.
Limiting the cleaning of clothes to the soiled and the stinky is budget and earth friendly. Your items will look newer, longer. If you’re sure to give your items an airing between wearings, you will not smell bad. (I smell quite nice, actually.)
What’s your laundry philosophy?
This post is was originally published 9/3/2009 at http://whatiwore2day.blogspot.com/2009/09/mail-bag-laundry-day.html