There are a few homes I know where someone in the house sits on the sofa for upwards of six hours per day, in the same seat, watching television. I sit in this very chair for eight hours per day sometimes. Neither the sofas nor this chair gets washed. The point I wish to make is that I don’t find it necessary to wash clothes often; my skin comes into contact with furnishings around my house, these furnishings are not considered to be dirty, so they don’t get washed, yet conversely my clothes would be considered dirty by some people’s standards.
I have many items of clothing I have never washed. I have some jeans I bought a year ago I have never washed. I think I’ve worn them upwards of 600 hours – at least 70 days of wear. All I do is air them once in a while. The reason I don’t wash them is not because I am lazy or am trying to save the planet; it’s because washing them would destroy the style and they would begin to fade.
I have a velvet jacket I wear out clubbing sometimes so I know it has got sweaty before. I have never washed it in 10 years; it is from the 1940′s. I expect it has never been washed in its life, and if it were to be washed it would fall apart.
None of my coats have ever been washed, and they come into contact with unsavoury germs whenever I sit down on a bus or tube.
It is my opinion that washing machines plus detergents destroy clothes. Most clothes bought from Topshop or H&M only have three washes in them before the cotton goes bobbley and the fast-fashion becomes unwearable. Before I buy something I always look at the label to see what it’s made of; I won’t buy clothes made of fabrics that disintegrate.
I have a lot of good quality clothes I’ve had for more than ten years. My clothes seem to last a ridiculously long time in comparison to other people’s. I rarely wear out anything, and will repair clothes that get tears in them. While I think a few factors are at play, I think the main reason is that I don’t wash my clothes very often and only use washing machines infrequently. Plus, if it is an item of clothing I particularly like, it never goes in the machine, it gets handwashed.
Let me give you an example of how washing machines destroy clothes. I have some jeans that are light green in colour which I hand washed earlier this week. The thing I hate most about handwashing clothes is rinsing them out, and while washing the jeans I had a brain wave. I decided to put them in the machine just for a rinse. Well, I put them into rinse and then I had to go and teach. When I came back for them I realised to my horror that someone else had put their stuff in with my jeans and had washed them. (Surely everyone knows that you check the washer for socks etc before you put your own stuff in!)
This truly was horror for me because they were *never* going to be actually washed in a washing machine. Especially with mixed colours and towels and also quite fearfully at 40% or higher (the enzymes in my body work fine at 37.5% why do we insane people think we must out-do nature?). One of my washing machine fears is centred on the conviction that 40 degree washes and higher are the ultimate clothes’ destroyers…
Now, the jeans were also quite possibly washed with fabric softener because they have changed unrecognisably. They have gone from a very tight fit to a slack fit, and it is as is they have lost all of their elasticity.
It’s just another lesson learned; if you really care about it never put anything in a washing machine, especially if you live in a shared house.
If it smells dunk it in a bucket and leave it there with some soap for a day. Then hang it outside if you can. If something needs to be freshened up a bit just hang it outside or by a window for a couple of days. If it is a vintage piece, never wash it, just hang it outside until the must smell dissipates. This is all that needs to be done. Don’t let them brainwash you to wash your stuff; think of your sweaty and grubby ancestors who did well without.
Don’t believe that you need to wash things after you have worn them for a couple of hours. If you wash it you will destroy it. If you find that your clothes are always getting holes in and they wear out quickly, you can blame your washing machine and strong detergents for that.