How Often You Should Be Washing Your Clothes, According To Eco-Friendly Designers

The conversation around how we care for our clothes is changing.

How often do you wash your clothes?

Turns out, probably too often.

Stella McCartney, in a recent interview for The Guardian, said that "basically, in life, rule of thumb: if you don't absolutely have to clean anything, don't clean it.

"I wouldn't change my bra every day and I don't just chuck stuff into a washing machine because it's been worn. I am incredibly hygienic myself, but I'm not a fan of dry cleaning or any cleaning, really."

While some consider McCartney's comments a bit radical, her long-standing commitment to a circular economy gives her a leg to stand on. 

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The general consensus is that we're supposed to wash our clothes after each wear, but, in reality, most garments only need to be washed far less regularly than we'd think. 

Since the fashion industry is the largest polluter of clean water in the world, it's about time that we open our eyes and turn off the tap.

The same goes with personal washing, given that lengthy showers contribute hugely to water overuse.

Fellow designer Vivienne Westwood agrees.

"Normally at home, I'm not used to the habit of a shower. I just wash my bits and rush out in the morning," confessed Westwood in a promotional video for Peta

Environmental advocate Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also chimed in on Twitter.

"The clothes that we buy contain plastic, when we wash these clothes, little fibres known as microplastics are released and washed down the drain. Shorter washes and washing less often can help to reduce the number of microfibres getting into our environment."

These facts were confirmed in a 2011 paper by University College Dublin, which found that "an important source of microplastic appears to be through sewage contaminated by fibres from washing clothes."

For those interested in cutting down on micro-plastics and doing their bit, Good Housekeeping has a handy guide on how often one should wash their clothes:

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