Many-a-times, one can determine when they need to wash their garments by simply having a look at them or smelling them. But let’s be honest, how long do you wear your jeans before washing them? Should you wash them every week or every month? Things were so much easier when we were young kids because our parents used to take care of all the washing. Growing up come with a lot of responsibilities and we have to adjust to the time.
How Often Should We Wash Our Clothes? – Scientifically Explained
Some reasons for getting dirty are so obvious because of all the external activities we do that may result in a stain here or there. But other dirt comes from a much nastier source, which is you! As humans, we are constantly shedding skin cells and oozing skin oils as we secrete sweat in everything we are wearing. Factually, it is proven that humans shed 500 million skin cells and a liter of sweat every day.
It is certainly not attractive when you see dark spots when you observe how it has changed from being clean. But on its own, sweat has no smell. The problem starts when the bacteria living on the skin gets involved by feasting on the sweat and skin cells and break down the proteins into smelly by-products.
For example, Staphylococcus Epidermis bacteria which live on your skin break down amino acids in your sweat into stinky Isovaleric acid. It’s the same acid that pops up in strong cheese and badly made beer. However, it’s apocrine sweat that really makes us stinky. Apocrine sweat glands are found in the genital areas, breasts, armpits, and even the eyelids. They mature at puberty and make a fatty sort of sweat. When this is broken down by bacteria, it really stinks!
Unfortunately, it’s not just the smelly products of the bacteria that we should be probably washing off our clothes, there are also bacteria and other harmful substances living on them that spread infection. For example, in 2006 an outbreak of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) in an American college football team was traced back to the team’s habit of sharing towels.
How Can Washing Make Your Clothes Clean?
Modern laundry detergents are a mixture of various chemical cleaning tricks from biological enzymes that digest away stains to optical brightness that absorb UV, and reflect back blue light which makes your white cloth look even whiter.
At the heart of any detergent is the power of surfactants which makes stains soluble in water. A surfactant molecule essentially has two ends. A hydrophilic (water-loving part) and hydrophobic (which rather binds to fats). The hydrophobic part wants to be anywhere else but in the water, so it sticks out into the air.
When you wash your dirty t-shirt in detergent, the surfactant’s hydrophobic part binds to the dirt and grease on your top, then the hydrophilic part binds to the water and pulls that grime away from your now clean t-shirt.
So, now that we know how our clothes get dirty and how washing gets rid of that. So when should we be washing our clothes? The million-dollar question should be when should one utilize the dry cleaners? When not to go to the dry cleaner, and also what to look for in a quality dry cleaner so that you can protect your wardrobe investment.