For starters: "How often you wash your pajamas depends on a few things,” Boyd says. Her list includes “the time of year and how much you perspire while you sleep, how closely your pajamas are to your skin, and the fabric composition.” She recommends washing your pajamas every one to two wears during the warmer months, or, if you're a "hot" sleeper, due to how much you sweat.
If you tend to run cold, she says you should be okay washing them every three to four wears—with a few exceptions. "Some synthetic fabrics like polyester tend to absorb and trap sweat, bacteria, and body oils, so they may be more prone to odors than natural materials like silk,” Boyd says. “If they are odorous or feel damp, throw them in the wash.”
Don't wear underwear with your pajamas? In that case, Boyd recommends washing them after every wear to prevent bacteria from building up. Also take into consideration how long you’re spending your pjs. "If you’re wearing them all day long, then also wear them to bed, we’d recommend washing after each wear," she says.
From a skin-care perspective, Dr. Gohara says you should at least wash your pajamas once a week to get rid of dead skin cells, oil, and sweat. "If left on, they actually can be irritants to the skin," she says. Again, the type of fabric comes into play. "I think cotton, satin, and silk are all comparable in their absorptive and sweat-wicking ability,” Dr. Gohara says. “Flannel jammies may make you sweat a bit more, and thus may require twice a week washing.”
Something you can do to increase the time between washes is showering before bed, adds Boyd, as can using a fabric deodorizer like The Laundress Fabric Fresh Classic ($16). When it's time to throw your jammies in the wash, she recommends washing everyday durable fabrics like cotton, polyester, and synthetic with warm water, and other fabrics like silk, cashmere, and wool with cold water on a delicate cycle.
And if you're still not sure about whether it's time to do some laundry, you can always rely on the time-honored sniff and scan test: "If your pajamas smell funny or have mysterious stains, throw them in the wash!" says Boyd.
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