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How often should you really wash that? A laundry guide

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

How often should you wash your clothes and sheets? We have the answer

The only thing more crushing than a hamper full of laundry is the guilt of procrastinating, only to realize you have no clean underwear before heading to work.

I'm speaking hypothetically, of course. But in case you're as confused about laundry day as I am, consider this your one-stop laundry guide, courtesy of RepairClinic laundry expert Chris Zeisler.

"It's important to follow the garments' labeled care instructions," stated Zeisler, "but in case you need more guidance, there are certainly general rules you should follow."

Tops and blouses

"Anything that comes in contact with your underarms and other perspiration zones is best washed after every wearing," said Zeisler. This, of course, made me feel very sad. Want to extend time between washes? He added that you can wash every other wear if you always put on a cami or undershirt.

How often should you wash your clothes and sheets? We have the answer

Slacks and jeans

Can I get an "amen" on this next tip? "You can wear jeans four or five times between washing, and dress slacks only need washing every two or three wears," Zeisler said. Always turn your jeans inside out before washing to slow their fading, and line dry your dress slacks to prevent wear and tear.

How often should you wash your clothes and sheets? We have the answer

Suits and blazers

"Most business suits are dry clean only, so you'll need to take them in every three wears," Zeisler said. Hey, as long as it's not my responsibility, that's OK with me. "You may need to spot clean on the collar, sleeves and elbows," he added.

How often should you wash your clothes and sheets? We have the answer

Formal wear

I'm the sweatiest formal dress wearer of all time, so I wasn't surprised when Zeisler said that women need to dry clean their formal wear after every dance party. And what good is a party if it's not a dance party? If you're more of a dinner party kind of gal, he said that you can put off washing until every third wear.

How often should you wash your clothes and sheets? We have the answer

Bed linens

Here's where it starts getting real. "You need to wash your bed sheets weekly, and more often if you curl up with pets," he said. Or children, I'll add. "It's also a good idea to wash your bed skirts every three weeks, since dust and debris builds up around the base of the bed."

How often should you wash your clothes and sheets? We have the answer

Baby blankets and stuffed animals

Stuffed animals and blankies get a pass if they're seldom used, but a favorite stuffed bear needs extra attention. "It's best to wash every few weeks if it's toted around all hours of the day," said Zeisler. "Note that fabric toys are spot-clean only, so they probably won't even survive a gentle-cycle wash." He suggested using a sink filled with cold water to remove loose dirt before scrubbing the toy with an old toothbrush and a dye-free detergent like Green Works Laundry Detergent Free & Clear. Wash with cold water and let air dry.

Undergarments

Wash every wear, duh. But that's just my own tip from personal experience.

This post was sponsored by Green Works.

More about cleaning

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The busy mom's guide to eliminate tough kid messes
How to fake a clean house like a pro

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