If you are like most people, you have a closet full of shirts, and you probably wash each one after every use. That is probably the best thing to do in most cases.
If a shirt is visibly dirty, you certainly want to wash it right away. However, if it looks and smells clean, there are some cases in which you may be able to wear a shirt more than once.
How do you wear the shirt?
Do you wear a shirt against your body, or do you have another shirt under it? If you wear a button-up shirt over an undershirt, you certainly don’t need to wash it right away. You can probably wear it in that same fashion 2 or 3 times before washing it because it will not directly absorb sweat.
What kind of activities do you engage in when you wear it?
If you wear a nightshirt to bed, you can wear it more than one time because you are stationary when you are asleep and will not work up much of a sweat. If you put on a certain shirt for a couple of hours to go to a job interview, you can wear it again without washing it.
If you were working out in the shirt, even for just an hour, you should not wear that shirt again until you wash it. We have two different kinds of sweat: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine is the saltwater sweat that you get on your brow on a hot day. It does not really smell bad.
Apocrine is an oily sweat that originates in your groin area and your armpits. This kind of sweat is made up of fatty compounds and oils. When you exercise, you secrete more apocrine sweat than you normally would.
Each person’s skin has a microbiome, which is a combination of bacteria and fungi that lives on your skin. They eat the fatty compounds in apocrine sweat. The leftover molecules are what cause a person to smell.
What is the shirt made of?
The kind of material that a t-shirt is made from can determine how often you should wash it. Studies have shown that most people think polyester smells worse after one wash than something that is made with cotton. However, there is no evidence to suggest that polyester shirts contain more bacteria than cotton shirts do. Polyester simply retains the smell more than cotton.
How do you clean the shirt?
If you have a clothes dryer with a steam setting, you may be able to toss a shirt into the dryer to freshen it instead of washing it every once in a while.
Cleaning your white shirts with bleach and your colored shirts with color-safe bleach may make them stay cleaner for a bit longer. Some people use scent beads to freshen their laundry, and the scent often lasts through a couple of wearing of a shirt. You can also try adding vinegar or baking soda to a load of laundry to freshen it.
When you have dry clean only items in your closet, you may be hesitant to clean them very often because of the cost. According to Weston Cleaners, dry cleaners will use special chemicals to get your clothes as bright as possible. If you are having a problem with a smell not coming out of an article of clothing, dry cleaners have chemicals to remove odor.
If an odor is a problem with a particular shirt that you have, remember to tell the dry cleaner about it when you bring your clothes in. That way, they can use the proper chemicals to get your shirt clean as soon as possible.
You paid good money for your clothes, and they are a reflection of your style. Knowing when to clean them can be essential to their longevity.