You Only Need To Wash Your Jackets A Few Times A Year. Here's Why

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Washing your jackets can be a pain, to say the least. They can be too poofy to fit into your washing machine. And, when you do somehow manage to stuff them in the washer, they take up valuable space that could otherwise be occupied by essential everyday wear. Jackets can also often be too heavy to carry to your local laundromat. Overall, it's not a fun experience that you look forward to.

If this has become somewhat of a daily struggle for you, we've got some great news: You don't need to wash them nearly as often as you think. Overwashing your jackets, or any clothes for that matter, can actually do more harm than good. The harsh spinning from your washing machine and chemical laundry detergents can wear out your fabrics and make them lose their softness and beautiful finish.

Instead of subjecting your jackets or any other delicate clothing to daily washes and spins in the dryer, Harper's Bazaar recommends putting them on a hanger and leaving them out to dry. Then, you can simply place them in your wardrobe for your next chilly day. This, of course, doesn't mean you should never wash your coats and jackets. They get a lot of use, especially in the colder months, which naturally causes them to become dirty and sweaty. But how often should you really be washing your jackets? 

How often do you need to wash woolen jackets?

Wool is a delicate material that is considered to be rather hard to care for, so naturally, you shouldn't wash it as frequently as a more durable material. If you frequently wear wool for lengthy periods of time, you have to wash it a bit more often to keep things comfortable. Speaking to Reader's Digest, Jennifer Ahoni, Tide's principal scientist, said: "If you do not have visible stains or noticeable odors on your wool sweaters, I would recommend washing every two to three wears." 

If you're an infrequent wearer, you should wash your woolen wear twice a year — at the start of winter, and again towards the end, per Classic Cleaners. Washing your woolen winterwear in this fashion gets it nice and fluffy at the start of the year and helps keep it in good shape for the following year, too. However, if you've been paying for dry cleaning, you should know that it's not essential. In fact, it can actually damage your woolen wear. 

In an interview with The New York Times, Martin Greenfield, the owner of a custom tailor shop confirmed: "We find the dry cleaning fluid to be very caustic on fine wools, so we try to avoid it as much as possible." Some woolen coats and jackets can even be hand-washed or thrown in the machine at home, so always ensure you read the care label on your woolen wear to check the manufacturer's recommendations first. 

Leather and suede jackets require intensive care

Leather and suede are durable materials that require special care during washes to ensure they retain their look and feel. Leather not only requires cleaning but conditioning, too. The frequency depends on how often you wear your favorite leather jacket. If you want your leather to look just as great as it did when you first got it, you should have the jacket professionally cleaned and conditioned around once a year, according to Mahi Leathers

Leather is a premium material that should never be chucked in a washing machine because the detergents and spinning will strip it of its natural oils, dry it out, and potentially even cause cracking. But if you've made this mistake, don't stress! You can replenish the natural oils of your leather jacket. However, putting it in the washing machine will irrevocably alter its condition regardless. Suede, on the other hand, is a similarly sturdy material more likely to stain than leather. 

You'll likely have to give your suede to a laundry service for intensive cleaning in case of a big or hard-to-remove stain. Since leather and suede are two sides of the same coin, suede calls for a similar approach when it comes to washing. Oliver Sweeney recommends having your suede jackets cleaned at least once a year, depending on usage. Just like leather, suede should also never go in the washing machine. Dry cleaning is your best bet for keeping a suede jacket in tip-top condition. 

Consider the durability before washing the jacket

Rain jackets and other waterproof jackets are highly durable against dirt and stains, but they're not invincible to their environments. Likewise, these jackets also require regular washing to maintain the durability of the waterproofing. Infrequent users should wash theirs once or twice a year, whereas daily wearers should clean them every month. The only exception to this rule is if your jacket is visibly filthy after a prolonged outdoorsy activity. In that case, you should wash it ASAP. 

Speaking to Popular Science, the founder of Boulder Mountain Gear Repair, Ron Simonds, warned: "Detergent soaps are the nemesis of your waterproof fabrics." So steer clear of them when cleaning your rainwear. Down or puffer jackets are another outdoor staple that can handle plenty of use. If you wear your puffer jacket frequently, you might have to wash it at least once a month, whereas sporadic users can do so just once or twice a year, according to Nike

Soft and fluffy fleece jackets can't take quite as much as rainwear or puffer jackets, though. You should wash them once a week if you've already worn them a few times, according to The Spruce. Otherwise, bi-weekly should do it. It's also important to be careful when handling a fleece jacket. For the best results, you should use a gentle cycle with a delicate laundry detergent. Most fleece jackets can be machine or hand-washed, so you should read the manufacturer's label to determine the best option.