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So there you are, holding a pair of pants in your hand, you know it hasn’t been washed recently and yet it must be worn today. IT MUST!

So what do you do? What… do you…do?

(It’s a serious damn question!)

I’m going to answer that question for you, not just for pants but for just about everything. But that answer is only going to be my opinion, one born of good facts, research and practical application, but its still just that. An opinion. Clothes don’t usually tell you on a label when they need washing. Reason being is everyone gets dirty differently.

I can tell you what I know and what works for me. I’m an average desk job employee who takes the stairs at least twice a day and walks to and from my train station. Nothing hard. I’m not laying in bed all day nor am I wrangling gators. Or Noodling.

So if my general lifestyle is similar to yours cool, if not, my advice many not work for you. If you noodle… god save you because I can’t.

(This, right here, this is the only kind of noodling I can watch. And it has so little to do with the fish.) 

So let’s get to it.

Shirts– So this presumes of course that you are wearing an undershirt of some kind. If you don’t, you really should get in the habit of doing that. It prevents sweat and odor from getting at your good clothes and it allows you to layer color into your outfits. That being said, you can wear a shirt at least three times before it’s going to need a wash. If this is something you don’t want wrinkling then you’ll need to have that taken care of but as long as this isn’t in direct contact with your skin you can get by without a wash for a while.

Pants– Too much washing has a tendency to fade pants, especially notable in bright colored vibrant pants. I’m a big fan of colored chinos and corduroys. If they were washed after every where it would seriously dull the colors, fray the bottoms and generally just ruin the pair. You can get by with washings after every two to three wears no problem. Keep in mind that you may need to iron if wrinkles are an issue or if you ended up doing some heavy physical activity. But Jeans are a little different…

Jeans– Denim is so much better at covering up any dirt. Wrinkles aren’t really a problem for jeans either. Jeans, in my opinion, can go at least four wears without a wash. More typically.

Blazers and Suit Jackets– Don’t ever wash these yourself. Please, trust me. You paid a lot for them, pay a little more to take care of them. All in all, these have little contact with your skin. The only odors they’ll pick up are ones that might be around you like cigarette smoke, food smells. That sort of thing. You can go seven or more wears before these need washing. My tailor also cleans suits and jackets. I bring by dress wear to her specifically. It’s her business to know how to take care of these kind of garments. Dress clothes are worth going out of your way to the best cleaner you can find.

Undershirts and Underwear– No excuses, no options. After every wear they get a wash. The entire garment is in contact with your skin. One of the primary purposes for underwear is providing a barrier between sweat and your clothes. So if they’re doing their job then you definitely need to wash them.

Basically, if you keep in mind two factors you’ll be able to keep your clothes lasting as long as possible. The more physical activity you do in the clothes and the more contact an item has with your skin the more frequently it needs to be washed.

But that’s just my approach to clothing maintenance. I’d love to hear yours.