Day 58: Use clothes more than once before washing them


Washing laundry in a creek, in Ivory Coast. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Use clothes more than once to gain an ecological, sensible and economic habit! Here in my home, I’ll only wash clothes if I’m sure are dirty. That way, I have less to wash and fold, and I use less water and laundry detergent which is good for my wallet AND for the environment. By washing less, I’m polluting less, using less energy, and using less products that contain palm oilless products that contain palm oil. All together, this is a win-win situation for everyone.

Generally speaking, it is not necessary to wash every single item of clothing whenever they are used. This rule doesn’t apply to intimate clothing obviously – but consider your winter coats and jackets. You don’t wash them very often, if at all,  do you?  The same principle applies to outer layers that we wear. The more a layer is on the outside, the less direct contact it has with skin and sweat, and the less dirty it gets (unless you have a tomato sauce problem like I do).

These are some outer layers that don’t need to be washed every time:

Jackets, coats



-Hats, scarves, gloves

Other layers of clothing that don’t need to be washed every day really depends on the way you use them. If you’re having trouble visualizing whether something needs washing or not, think of it as a formula where your need to wash it is directly related to how much you used it. Or, smell it. These layers could include:

Jeans, pants

-Shirts that you use for little time or for low energy activities

Usually if I decide to reuse clothes before washing them, it means I’ll wear it within the same day or week – and in no case this means wearing “smelly clothes”. It just means giving clothes that haven’t really gotten “used” the first time a chance to be “used” the second time, saving time, detergent, and our environment.

Everybody has eco-habits that work out better than others (this one can turn into a disaster if you use this as an excuse to pile mountains of semi-used clothes on top of a chair or your floor!). What works out best for you?




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