How To: Wash Your Clothes Less (& Still Smell Great)

Written by Aurora Hinz, Edited by 


We all wash our clothes way too often. esa already has discussed how this is contributing to microplastic pollution, but did you know it's also is ruining your clothes? By washing our clothes less we can save the planet and our wardrobes! Here are easy steps you can take to make sure we’re minimizing our laundry’s footprint while smelling fresh.

1. Start By Dedorizing Smelly Spaces!


Leave coffee grounds or an open box of baking soda in your dresser to help eliminate any odors that might have clung to your clothing. Many people already know that doing this in refrigerators can help deodorize things, but not everyone knows how well this translates into your wardrobe!

While coffee grounds actually absorb the odors haunting your small spaces, baking soda actually neutralizes all odors because of its unique chemical composition.You can get the best results by using larger containers with large openings for all those pesky stinks to be taken care of sooner rather than later.

For a more no-fuss approach, try leaving your closet doors or drawers open for a full 24 hours. Extra ventilation helps your clothing breathe and also neutralizes odors if you don't happen to have baking soda or coffee grounds on hand.  

You can try this trick without even going to the store!


Try Freezing It!

Freezing your clothing can eliminate bacteria that cause bad smelling odors. This works especially well for denim. If you’re washing your jeans too often, they’ll start to smell like mildew. Washing your clothing has not been proven to decrease that amount of bacteria in your clothing - unlike some people may assume.

Stick your clothes in some kind of bag before putting them right in the freezer. To take your green footprint a step further you could even re-use one of the plastic bags you might’ve gotten from your last errand. (Although we hope you’ve read easy ways to avoid plastic consumption).

This method also works to reduce shedding from sweaters, help fix runs you might get in your stockings or tights and is a great way to put off taking your clothes to the dry cleaners for another week.  If you don’t have space in your freezer, leaving them out in the sun with all that fresh air would have a similar effect!

Mix Magic Potions

(just kidding...kind of)

By mixing vodka or rubbing alcohol with water in a spray bottle, you have the power to create a little deodorizing potion of your very own! Your mixture should be about 30% water and 70% vodka to make sure you’ll get the proper ratio. This dilution of alcohol will act as an antibacterial fighter and deodorize your clothes if you are in need of a quick fix.

You could also try spraying problem spots with rose water. This will help deodorize your clothing and leave a non-toxic, truly all natural, perfumed scent. If you don’t have pets or children, adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the spray is another safe, non-toxic way to eliminate bad odors and leave you feeling confident and fresh.

Vodka and rubbing alcohol can all be found at your local supermarket. Check out Amazon for rose water and essential oils if they’re not readily available in your area.

    By doing these simple things we can continue to try and close the plastic loop, as well as conserve water and energy! Washing your clothes less means paying less on your bills every month, spending less replacing worn out clothing, and results in less plastic pollution - simply by skipping a wash. If you have other ways you get away with washing your clothes less and still smelling great comment below or tweet us @esa_newyork!