Be honest - how often do you wash your clothes?
Sure, some things in your wardrobe probably only see the light of day 1 time before they get tossed back into the cycle, but what about your bras, jeans and pajamas?
In this article, we’ll focus specifically on bras, because they’re something us women inevitably wear daily (unless you’re channeling your inner Gloria Steinem, in which case - you go, girl!)
You Wait How Long?
According to this article on Simone Digital, most women wait about a week before washing their bras. Unfortunately, our weird rationalizations that allow us to go as long as possible without doing laundry may be working against us. The truth is that because our unmentionables sit closer to our bodies the longest, they should be washed most often. In fact, it’s inadvisable to wear the same bra more than 3 - 5 times in a row, according to this Buzzfeed article.
What’s the Worse That’ll Happen?
Unfortunately, a few things! Whether it’s skin irritation or unpleasant scents, we hope this list of 5 gross things that can happen if you don’t wash your bra often enough will persuade you to toss your bra (in the washing machine, we mean!)
1. Nasty microbes can accumulate on your bra.
Bacteria, dirt, sweat, yeast and fungi can collect on the delicate fabric of your bras. The longer you refrain from washing your undergarments, the longer they have to aggregate and breed. In general, these things aren’t particular dangerous when they come into contact with our skin, but put them all in one place (especially when that place can easily get damp and isn’t exposed to the air), and they can transform into something more nefarious.
2. Your bra will start to smell — and that smell may rub off onto your other clothes.
Who hasn’t thought that a spritz of your favorite body spray or perfume can erase the signs of the past days’ craziness? But ya know that lingering smell in a gym locker room you’ve become immune to over time? Yeah. That can become your bra. And that faint smell could potentially rub off onto your outer clothes.
3. Your bra might become stained.
Deodorant is bae, until it sits on your undergarments for several days in a row. Those yellowish-beigh sweat discolorations on your lacy bras also become a gathering ground for dirt and oil. Get thee to a blanchisserie!
4. You could get an acne breakout or a rash.
When you have a moist environment of skin sitting on skin, it promotes a growth of yeast under the breast. The problem gets worse for us sporty-spice girls, and those who wear sports bras and exercise often. Sweaty undergarments are the most common cause of body acne, anyway. With form fitting, high surface area sports bras, the grime, bacteria and sweat is held in close contact with our bodies for a long time. The friction also contributes to unsightly acne along the rib cage, back and underboob area. The takeaway here is that even if you feel like you have some more leeway with your T-shirt bras, sports bras should definitely get tossed into the wash after every visit to the gym.
5. Chafing ahead!
According to Dr. Robin Travers, dry skin plus sweaty undergarments are the perfect storm for chafed nipples. And ain’t nobody got time for that!
So What Can We Do?
Here are some simple solutions to help you avoid the 5 pitfalls of the list above.
1. Set a Calendar Reminder
Keep a bra that’s designated for laundry day, and wear it while you sash your others for the week. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
2. Use Delicates Laundry Bags
A lot of us are afraid to risk the wear and tear to our undergarments, especially since they tend to be so much more expensive and delicate than our other clothing. While we’d all love to hand wash our bras and panties and lie them out to dry in a meadow, we’ve got to get real. Having a mesh wash bag lets you effectively clean your underwear while protecting them from the potentially harmful wash cycle, especially if you use a machine with an agitator. More more rips, tears or stretching. Plus, you don’t have to untangle your bra straps from your other clothes.
Whether it’s a certain fit that flatters your figure, or a color that complements your complexion, most of us know how to shop for clothing that helps us look and feel our best. And of course there are special items in your wardrobe that hold a special sentimental value — baby’s first pajamas, the sweater your mom bought you for your birthday, the special gifts from your boyfriend or husband.
But what many people aren’t aware of is how to keep their clothes looking as good as new over time. A little bit of special care and attention can keep your favorites looking like new longer. You’ll not only make sure that you look and feel your best, but you will also save money in the long run since your clothes will last longer.
Caring for your washable garments at home goes beyond keeping that red sock out of your load of whites. Your mother may have taught you how to sort colors and load the washer, but today we’re sharing a laundry list (no pun intended!) of tips that you might not have heard before. So before you empty your hamper next time, check out these five tips to keep your clothing looking fresh and feeling soft.
Tip #1: Button, zip & tie.
Before you throw your clothes in the washer, take a moment to make sure that all of your buttons are buttoned, and all your zippers are zipped. It is an extra step, but it will mean that your garments are less likely to snag one another in the wash. And isn’t it worth it to keep your favorite sweater in pristine condition and snag-free? To make unloading easier, loosely tie all drawstrings and sashes to prevent tangling and stretching.
Tip #2: Use a mesh laundry bag.
Place your lingerie, hosiery and other delicate items into a sturdy, reusable but porous nylon delicates washing bag. This will prevent wear and tear, and reduce tangling, especially with bra straps. And no more bra hooks getting caught on your sweaters! As an added bonus, it can keep track of easily misplaced items like socks. When choosing a delicates bag, pick one that lets you tuck the zipper into a protective strap (see Tip #1!). We like these bags from Vita for Home.
Tip #3: Turn it inside out.
Protect the most important part of your garment by turning your clothes inside out before washing them. This is especially helpful to prevent dark pants and denim from the fading that can happen when fabrics rub up against each other in the wash. It’s also great for machine washable items that include beading, screen-printing, or other embellishments.
Tip #4: Don’t use fabric softener on moisture-wicking or stain-resistant workout gear.
The fabric softener will coat the specialized fibers and reduce their effectiveness.
Tip #5: Find out how often you actually have to wash your clothes.
Over washing can put undue stress and wear on your favorite items. Plus repeated exposure to harsh detergents unnecessarily can fade once vibrant colors, and degrade fabric quality. Check out the handy chart below to find out how long you can go between washes — it could be few loads of laundry for you!
As our society becomes more health and environmentally conscious, we are realizing that simple actions or preferences can have harmful, unintended side effects. Usually we accept and ignore these blatant truths due to comfort or “that’s just the way it’s always been done.” But sometimes, the universe smiles down on us and we do not have to sacrifice safety for comfort and can find a simple and delightful fusion of the two concepts. Dryer balls do exactly that for the laundry room.
The fresh scent of laundry fresh of out the dryer is a tough one to resist! It’s especially hard to say not to the allure of “Mountain Fresh” scents that gives you a throwback feeling to Little House on the Prairie, with laundry drying on the line in a lily strewn meadow. But is worth the health of your loved ones? The ugly truth to that comforting smell is that dryer sheets are laced with chemicals, many of them artificial, that can be more harmful than you think.
The Toxic Nature of Dryer Sheets
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) , the following are ingredients that are used in fabric softener products. As you’re reading, ask yourself, “Would I want these near my baby’s skin?”
- Benzyl Acetate: has been linked to pancreatic cancer
- Ethanol: found on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list; linked to central nervous system (CNS) disorders
- Benzyl Alcohol: can irritate the upper respiratory tract
- Limonene: a known carcinogen
- Linalool: a known narcotic that may also be linked to CNS disorders
- Camphor: may cause CNS disorders
- Pentane: a chemical which is toxic to internal organs, especially when inhaled.
Liquid fabric softeners aren’t much better since many contain formaldehyde.
Ditch Your Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are potentially harmful for most people, and especially irritating for chemically sensitive skin. Imagine introducing those chemicals next to your newborn’s delicate skin! A number of the chemicals mentioned above may also trigger asthma attacks. And dryer sheets do double damage by introducing harmful chemicals in 2 ways. First, the chemicals are transferred from the sheets to your laundry. When your clothes run against you skin all day and night, those chemicals have the chance to get absorbed into the skin. Second, the fragrance from the sheets is released from your clothes all day, meaning that you also breath in those chemicals through your airway. Since a number of chemicals in dryer sheets can do respiratory harm, this is especially dangerous.
What’s the Alternative?
No one wants static clinger, stiff as a board, unscented laundry for their household, which is partly why fabric sheets are so popular in the first place! Thankfully, no one has to sacrifice the luxury of soft, beautiful smelling and fluffy freshly dried laundry in order to keep their family safe and healthy.
Dryer Balls: The Safe, Family-Friendly Way to Do Laundry
Wool dryer balls achieve the same results as dryer sheets, just without the harmful toxins. Toss 4 - 6 dryer balls into your dryer (using more balls for bigger loads). The balls bounce around in the dryer, working to separate your clothes. This allows more hot air to circulate through your garments, meaning your clothes dry more evenly. As they tumble, the balls fluff up your laundry to help reduce wrinkles, and bounce against your clothes to make them softer. This is especially great for towels and baby clothes!
As an added bonus, wool felted balls can also absorb the moisture coming off of your clothes, helping to further reduce drying time.
All of this is done without harmful toxins, or a layer of chemicals on your loved ones’ clothes.
Vita’s Dryer Balls are available on Amazon in a cute, convenient drawstring, non-toxic cotton bag, which makes it perfect for gifting or storing in your laundry room between uses. Every purchase you make helps women in Nepal make a sustainable living. Learn more here. No sacrifices with dryer balls either - just add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice before popping them in the dryer! Get yours here.