6 Ways to Make Laundry Eco-Friendlier

Last Update: September 28, 2022

Do you feel weird re-wearing a bra once, twice…maybe three times? Not to worry—you’re totally good. No need to feel shame about tucking your bras back into the drawer until the next load of laundry.

Certain things just don’t need to be washed as often as you think—but there are a few things that you might not be washing quite enough. On laundry day, you’re often being pulled in two different directions: You want to save water (and washer space), but you also don’t want to spend the next week swathed in germs or smelling less than fresh.

Some things are obvious. Definitely wash your underwear, socks, and shirts after each wear. But some items might be a little more confusing. Here’s some help:


Go ahead and stretch it to a fourth wear if you’d like, but experts don’t advise sporting the same bra all week. Dirt and oils from your skin can build up, especially on the underwire portions of a bra, so wash after three to four wears.


It seems kind of natural to wash towels every week. But washing every three to four uses is recommended to help keep them from developing a mildewy smell. (This is especially true if you live in a humid climate.)


People should wash their pillow cases once a week because they can carry dirt, oils, and bacteria that can cause acne. But many people don’t even think about washing the actual pillows, which can develop fungus and attract dust mites. Throw them in the washer every three to six months. Don’t fear washing feather or down pillows, either—it’s safe.

Bed Sheets

If you wash your sheets every week, you’re in pretty good shape. But if your pets are sleeping with you, it’s better to lather them up at least twice a week. Pets are super cute, but they do track dirt and bacteria everywhere they go.


Denim can take a beating, so it’s cool to wash your jeans every after four to five wearings. Some people never wash them at all—they put them in the freezer to kill the bacteria instead. Try it—throw your jeans into freezer overnight, once a month.


Who washes their purse? Most people don’t, but you should do it every week. Every time you lay your bag down on a surface, it accumulates germs like E. coli and even fecal matter. Gross, right? If you’ve got a leather bag, no problem—just wipe it down with disinfectant wipes.

Bonus Tip! Try this natural homemade citrus-mint laundry detergent.

1/2 cup washing soda (you can make baking soda into washing soda by baking it on a cooking pan at 400 degrees for 30 minutes)
1/2 cup borax
1 bar of castile soap (peppermint), grated
1/4 cup baking soda
15 drops of essential oil (orange)

With gloves, combine all ingredients into a covered container. Shake to mix. This creates a dry powder detergent. Use 3 tablespoons per load.

Illustration by Karley Koenig

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Dana Poblete

Dana's love for all creatures under the sun (bugs, too) drives her in her advocacy for ethical eating, environmental sustainability, and cruelty-free living. A natural born islander, she surfs when she can, and writes, always.

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