A Guide to Washing Men's Clothes

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Guys are notorious for letting laundry slide and giving clothes the sniff test before wearing. Knowing when and how to wash clothes varies from garment to garment. Some items can be worn several times; others need washing after every wear.

With a little guidance, you can reduce the amount of laundry you do, keep your clothes looking their best and stay inoffensive to others.

  • 01 of 10

    When to Wash Underwear, T-shirts, and Socks

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    Any garment that is worn directly next to your skin—underwear, undershirts, socks—should be washed after every wearing! No sniffing, no turning inside out—wash them! This same rule applies to bath towels.

    Use hot water to completely kill any bacteria and dry at high heat or in the sun. If you have athlete's foot, take extra precautions to prevent it from spreading to other fabrics that might be worn next to sensitive spots.

    This same rule applies to bath towels!

  • 02 of 10

    When to Wash Men's Shirts

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    Most shirts should be washed after one or two wearings because collar and cuff areas come in direct contact with body oils and soil. It is particularly important to frequently wash white shirts because yellow underarm stains can appear due to a reaction of your antiperspirant and body soil.

    If you wear an undershirt, don't perspire heavily and don't spill anything, you can often get two wearings from a dress shirt. Remember to hang the shirt after wearing to prevent more wrinkles.

    Follow the care label directions for water temperature when washing and always pretreat stains. If you want your shirts to look like they were done by a professional laundry, follow these ironing tips.

    For casual or knit pullover shirts, wash after every wearing.

  • 03 of 10

    When to Clean Neckties

    Close-up of a shirt hanging on a coat-hanger
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    Everyone knows when you need to clean your neckties. The ketchup or grease stains shouts it out. The key is knowing how to clean the tie and remove the stains.

    One tip for better-looking ties, always remove all the knots after each wearing and hang or roll the tie to allow the fabric to relax. Those expensive ties will last much, much longer.

  • 04 of 10

    When to Wash Dress or Casual Slacks

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    If you work in an air-conditioned office and don't spill, you can get two or three wearings out of work or dress slacks. Be sure to hang them up after each wearing and let them rest for 24 hours. This will allow fibers to relax and wrinkles to fall out

    You may need to do touch-up pressing or place the garments in a dryer outfitted with a steam cycle or in a regular dryer with a damp, clean towel to help remove wrinkles.

    Skipping repeated washings will help your clothes last longer and prevent fading. Another way to make your work clothing last longer is to change as soon as possible after work into "play clothes."

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    When to Wash Jeans

    Men's jeans
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    Denim is sturdy and great at hiding stains. But jeans still should be washed after every four to five wearings even if they look clean. If you have stretch jeans, you'll probably want to wash them more often to prevent sagging and bagging, especially at the knees.

    You should wash jeans and all dark colored clothes inside out to prevent fading and fraying. Using cold water will help them keep their color. 

  • 06 of 10

    When to Clean Sweaters

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    If you wear a shirt or t-shirt under your sweater, you can usually get six or more wearings before a sweater needs to be washed or dry-cleaned. Follow the care instructions and hand wash if it is recommended, or use the gentle cycle in the washer or take it to a dry cleaner.

    Of course, if you are a heavy sweater yourself (you sweat a bunch), you'll need to wash it more often. If you wear it next to your body, one or two wearings is about all you can expect.

    Check necklines, cuffs, and elbows each time after wearing to be sure they are still clean.

  • 07 of 10

    When to Clean Suits or Blazers

    A man in a suit
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    Suit coats or blazers can usually be worn five or six times before they need dry cleaning unless they have a visible stain. Again, be sure to give them breathing time between wearings—at least one day. Hang the jacket, and the fabric will relax, and wrinkles begin to fall out. You may also need to use a fabric freshener to whisk away light odors.

    Be sure to check key contact areas often—collars, sleeves, elbows—to be sure they are clean.

    If you have a suit, be sure to dry clean the jacket and slacks together each time. This will prevent uneven fading.

  • 08 of 10

    When to Wash Work Out Gear

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    Your workout gear should be washed after every wearing to get rid of bacteria that cause odor. You can also transfer the bacteria that cause athlete's foot to other garments unless you wash them properly. Follow care labels because performance fabrics will last longer if handled correctly and treat any stains like the forgotten fish oil capsule left in a pocket.

    If your work-out includes swimming or other water sports, follow these tips to clean swimsuits, wetsuits and rash guards.

    Don't forget to clean your gym bag or tote and your exercise or yoga mat

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    When to Clean Coats and Jackets

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    Casual jackets can usually be worn five or six times before they need cleaning, either washing or dry cleaning—unless they have a readily visible stain. Again, be sure to give them breathing time between wearings. 

    The cleaning of a jacket or coat depends on the fabric. Follow these guidelines for nine different coat fabrics—wool, leather, suede, down, etc. to care for your garment.

  • 10 of 10

    When to Wash Sleepwear

    A man in pajamas
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    Did you know you sweat at night? We all do. We also shed thousands of skin cells. So, wash your pajamas or sleepwear after two or three wearings. If you shower right before bed, you might be able to go a bit longer.

    Don't forget; those sheets need washing too—at least once per week.