How many days can you re-wear your clothes?

These are my new-this-season merino wool socks. They have several brothers and sisters that I also bought because my feet are always cold and they were on sale WITH a coupon.

This was on day 5 or 6 of wearing them 😱.

Are you shocked? Grossed out? Wondering how they smell? 😷

Somewhere along the way I had read that merino wool has natural antimicrobial properties (because of lanolin) and are breathable so you can re-wear them over and over before washing them. So I decided to give it a try. So far, it seems to be true.

Look up merino wool socks on Amazon. Lots of testimonials. I’ve heard this elsewhere about wool clothing in general and we actually gave this a try when our girls were babies. We bought wool diaper covers to go over their cloth diapers at night. After lanolizing them, they could re-wear them several times unless they got “solids” 💩 on them or developed an odor. Then you’d wash them with wool wash. They worked amazingly well and kept the girl dry overnight! You can also re-wear wool clothing such as pants or sweaters without need of washing. then most of them can be either hand washed sand hung dry or in the case of my socks, just thrown in with the rest of the laundry to the washer and dryer. Saves water and energy if you also hang them to dry.

Back to the socks. How many days did I re-wear them? Well I kind of lost count. It was more than 5 and up to 7?8? I’m not sure but what I do know is that even after that many wearings, they had zero odor other than just smelling faintly like a wool sock. Amazing. I finally broke down and washed them because I forgot to take them off before walking around the house and they acted like a swiffer for pug hair 🙁   .

A couple of things to know: I showered daily and these only went on newly washed feet. I wore them inside my boots and took them off when I took off the boots and aired them overnight (except for the swiffering incident.) These are LL Bean merino wool socks that are 77% merino wool. I have other wool socks that don’t fare nearly as well and that I only wear twice without washing so it seems that quality counts here. Last of all, I do not have funky foot fungus. If I did, I wouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t either because they may be antimicrobial (maybe they are just bacteriostatic)  but re-wearing any type of socks when you have foot funk isn’t a good idea.  Just sayin’.

The ability to re-wear wool items, as I mentioned, really extends to any quality wool item that is mostly or all wool. I have several cardigans that are wool that I rarely wash. Same with cashmere. But what about other fabrics and pieces of clothing?

I have read that you can re-wear merino wool underwear if you need to. Maybe if you are camping or something? I don’t know about that one. Ew. But I would totally re-wear a merino wool bra several times.

What about cotton items? How often do you wear your jeans without washing them? I will testify to rarely washing my jeans and other than the tighter fitting ones stretching out a bit, I have never had an issue. Leggings? Twice tops. UNLESS you could find merino wool leggings that didn’t stretch out. This might be feasible more with a pair of wool tights but please don’t wear tights as pants. Please? I do keep meaning to try a pair though.

Shirts? This one is tricky. This is my rule of thumb: If a top has direct contact with armpits all day it is a bad idea to re-wear it. I have tried. Believe me, it is usually a failure. If, however, it is a tank, camisole or loose fitting top without direct armpit contact I can re-wear them at least twice.  Obviously if you spill dinner on yourself or they smell like tacos (especially if it isn’t after taco Tuesday), don’t re-wear them.

My all time favorite combination, which is also my almost daily go-to combination, is a tank or camisole with a cardigan. You can almost wear this indefinitely if you rotate and air out and you wear natural fabrics like wool and cotton. I really want to try a black merino wool tank. I might never have to wash it.

Pants?  The bulk of my “pants” are leggings that need to be hung to dry so I try to re-wear them twice. The heavier fabrics can sometimes get a third wearing. The rest of my pants are black pants of various fabrics. I re-wear and hang in-between uses to air out. Usually 3-4 times. sometimes 3-4 days in a row. No one notices. Really. (except my husband who actually paid attention and noted that I was wearing the same outfit to church on Sunday that I had worn the day before. Hey, I showered. ) This is even easier to pull off when most of your pants are the same color. Black rocks.

I guess the only remaining question is why on earth would someone who has the means to wash their clothes on a regular basis, in their own home no less, choose to re-wear clothes so much?

  1. sheer laziness. I hate doing laundry. I usually forget I’ve run a load and have to do it twice when I remember 3 days later. Today for instance…
  2. Saves energy. Less water usage. Less electricity and gas to run washer and dryer. See #1.
  3. I like to challenge the status quo. And I don’t like to smell like detergent.
  4. Saves money. time = money. Also see #2.
  5. Unless you are a movie star, NO ONE NOTICES when you re-wear clothing. Unless maybe if you are a teacher of little kids who notice everything you don’t want them to notice. Then you might need to get creative so they don’t ask awkward questions.
  6. I don’t particularly care if other people care if I re-wear clothes. You want to obsessively wash your clothes after every wearing and waste water and money? Be my guest to go be your big bad wasteful self and I will go on re-wearing my clothes. (feel guilty reading that? good. that’s how I feel every week at church when my pastor points out some sin. its me he’s talking about.  it’s awesome. you should come.) *note: if you work in a healthcare or daycare setting and get bodily fluids on yourself every day then, by all means, wash your clothes after every wearing. Actually, please do. Thank you.
  7. I am intrigued by people who are seriously hard core no waste people who do things like only fill up a mason jar of trash in a year. Say What?!? I am baffled. But I did take this book out of the library to learn more. Have I mentioned that LIBRARIES ROCK?!?

So there you have it. All my “dirty” secrets. If you happen to hug me on a day that I am experiencing an “experimental failure”, I’m sorry (my apologies to my husband today). I was doing it for you. 😉

Love ya!


*links in article may be affiliate links which means making purchases through them might (haven’t yet but might) mean I get a dime or two but this doesn’t increase your cost. By all means, shop around and get the best deals possible.<<br

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