How To Organize Half Dirty Clothing

What’s the best way to deal with clothes that aren’t really dirty yet? It’s a common question; everyone seems to have their own strategy for handling this half-dirty clothing. Let’s explore some of the most effective methods for extending the wear of our lightly worn clothes.

 So, what is the correct way to store lightly worn clothes?  

  • Back in the closet on the hanger? 
  • Straight into the Laundry basket? 
  • Or should we be putting them somewhere else to wear again soon? 

Let’s find out what other people are doing with their slightly dirty clothing! 

Mom of two Cheryl said:  

If the clothes were only worn for the evening, I’ll either hang them back up or wash them. The chances of wearing them again soon are slim. 

Jan from Ireland said:  

“The amount you sweat depends on your age and activity level. As you get older, physical activity tends to decrease, and sweating may also begin to reduce.

Jane from Austin said: 

“All my clothes are on white hangers. I keep 6 pink non-slip hangers at the near end of the rod for sweaters and jeans that I have worn once but do not need laundering yet. 

I thought this was a great idea to distinguish clean clothes from half dirty clothing in your closet. 

Rachel from Cheadle wrote:  

After wearing my clothes, I hang them up on the left side of my closet, separated by spare hangers. This way, my worn-but-not-dirty clothes are on the left, with clean clothes on the right. The hangers create a space between them, keeping them organized and ready to wear.”  

Andrea from New Jersey said: 

To prevent any contamination of clean clothes in the closet, I utilize hooks or a small rack in the bedroom or bathroom. Contaminants such as sweat, pollen, and scents are kept at bay! I usually try to re-wear half-worn clothes within a few days, and if it’s not feasible, I launder them so they’re fresh and ready to wear again.

Theresa from New York said: 

“I have these neat little plastic rings for keeping track of stitches while knitting. One day, I had the idea to slip one over the coat hanger hook once I was done wearing something. This way, I can tell when I’ve already worn an item a few times before washing it unless it gets sweaty or has a spill. It’s become a handy way of telling what needs cleaning before packing seasonal clothes away.”

Jackie said: 

“In Europe, they practice wearing clothes multiple times before washing. This doesn’t mean they’re left uncleaned. Instead, small stains are spot washed, and the clothes are carefully stored back in the closet. This saves water and prolongs the life of the clothes while keeping them neat and tidy.

Mandy from Lincs said: 

“In Germany, it’s customary to air out half-dirty clothes by hanging them on the porch.”

Jean from Atlanta said: 

“My mom had a clever way of freshening up clothes. She’d hang her worn garments outside in the sun and wind. I decided to adopt this method and bought an outdoor clothesline. After just half an hour of hanging clothes on it, they come back in with an incredibly fresh aroma! It’s a simple but effective trick that I’m glad to have learned.”

Danielle from West Virginia said: 

“I hang them on the rod in the bathroom for a few hours to let them air out.” 

Amanda from Scotland told us:  

 “If the clothes are cleanish, I hang on hooks in my closet or fold them and place them in a basket.” 

Tracey from Harrow on the Hill said: 

“I put them back in the wardrobe or drawer.  I buy plastic hangers in a specific color for this purpose. I keep them in one specific place in my wardrobe, so I know they have already been worn and will need to be washed after the next wear”. 

Rob from Cardiff suggested: 

“If you are short on space, turn them inside out and hang them back in the wardrobe.” 

Lisa from Edinburgh said:  

“I have a wear-again hook which is just a large command hook behind the door or on the side of the wardrobe.” 

John from Chesterfield said: 

“After wearing, air your half-worn clothes on a hanger for 24 hours before returning to the closet. The issue for me was knowing how many times they have been worn, so I started doing the inside-out trick. I spray it with the Febreze fabric spray and hang it inside out so the spray can dry.” 

Linda from Cape Town told us: 

“I clip a clothespin on them and put them back in my closet. It is quite easy to spot the items with a clothespin. So, I try to wear those items first.” 

Sue from Boston said: 

“I spray them with a little Febreze, place a clothespin on them, and rehang them in the wardrobe.” 

Jill from Dallas said

“I have a drawer in the closet where I have things that can be worn again.” 

Toyah from Middlesbrough said: 

 “I have a little shelf in my closet just for putting half worn clothes on.”  

Sarah from Luton said: 

“I spray with Febreze then I toss them in the dryer to refresh.” 

Lynn from Newcastle said: 

“If it’s trousers or jeans, tumble them with a damp face cloth and a bounce sheet, then hang them back up. I Wash them 2-3 times a year. Tops are a little different because of stains or sweat. So I wash them more regularly or spot clean.” 

Teddy from LA told us: 

“I tend to put them on a chair in the bedroom. I Fold my pyjamas and put them under my pillow. I wear the same clothes every day until it’s time to wash them.”  

Denise from Stockport said: 

“I have a hook in the bathroom for my gown and robe. So if I am going to re-wear today’s clothes, I put them on the hook when I put my gown on.” 

Elizabeth from Bolton said: 

When placing clothes in the wardrobe, it’s best to keep the clean ones separate from any that have been worn before. Even if they can be worn again, the stale smell that can come from hanging them alongside clean clothes is something you’ll want to avoid. So, it’s better to keep them apart and maintain that fresh scent in your wardrobe.

Karen from Potomac told us: 

“If I feel I can wear them again they go back in the closet. Clothes have one of three places to be:  

  • Put away  
  • Being worn  
  • In the laundry basket.  

Anywhere else, they are clutter

Jude from Texas said: 

“I have a laundry basket in my closet for pjs and lightly worn clothes.” 

Claire from New York said: 

“I switched to a personal uniform style of dress and drastically reduced my wardrobe, so I now have less laundry. It also makes it easier to wear the same clothes each day.” 

Christine from Utah told us: 

“I wear it until it needs to be washed. That is usually about 8 hours of wear over three or four days”. 

Lisa from Kent says: 

My friend hangs them back up in the wardrobe and puts a bread tie on the hanger, so she knows she has worn them once, then washes them the next time! 

 Many people nowadays tend to put their half-worn clothes straight into the laundry, particularly after the pandemic.  

There’s a common belief that clothes worn for more than an hour outside require washing again, but is that really necessary?

Bob told us: 

“Since COVID, I don’t even think twice. I wash everything after each wear.” 

Sally from Bristol said: 

“I put them in the washer on a light wash or light soil setting.” 

Judy from Rugby said: 

 “I never put dirty clothes back in the closet. Putting half-worn clothes back in the closet causes a stale odor.” 

Carol from Sunderland told us: 

“I never spray my clothes with anything – if they need to smell better, then they need to go through the washing machine!” 

Find out how germs and bacteria can be spread by clothes in this article

Other popular ways to deal with half dirty clothing  

Wow, there are some great ideas there to chew over.  

  This is where I stand on organizing “half-dirty” clothing. I believe that clothes worn for a short while can collect dust, dirt, sweat, and skin cells I don’t want in my freshly laundered closet. So, I prefer not to return half dirty clothing to the closet.

 I reserve a special drawer at the bottom of my chest of drawers solely for half-worn clothing—no clean garments allowed!

  I consider clothes “half-worn” if I’ve had them on for less than three hours. It’s important to note that underwear, bras, vests, socks, and tights should be washed after every use.

To prolong the life of my clothes, I have a simple routine. Any outfit that I’ve worn for half a day, I’ll wear it again the next day. And even if it falls short of that criteria, a quick 15-minute wash and dry does the trick! That way, everything is neatly organized in my closet, ready for repeated wear.

After airing by the window, I neatly fold my pyjamas, tuck them under my pillow while I shower, and let the bed air out.

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Let us know how you organize your half-worn clothes! 

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