Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shtinkykat is Stinky?

The dresscode at my workplace is business casual. But since our office is a satellite office (i.e., not home office) and we've been seriously downsized, it's now plain casual. But I've been wearing sheath dresses vs. casual separates to work. (Think Michelle Obama.)

It's not that I'm fashion conscious or I want to maintain a sense of business decorum. I'm just plain lazy. I also hate wearing separates, especially button-down shirts. (It must be residual trauma from being forced to wear the ugly Catholic school uniform my entire youth.) It's also much easier to slip on a dress after a shower and to slip it off when I come home. It's also fewer materials I need to wash.

Speaking of washing, a co-worker, who regularly dresses in jeans and casual shirts recently commented, "Your drycleaning bill must be through the roof!"

I replied, "Actually, I rarely dryclean. I wear my dresses about 2-3 times and then I handwash them in the tub."

My co-worker grimaced and said, "Ewwww. You don't wash your clothes after every wear??"

"No, why? Am I malodorous?"

"No, but it's just so unsanitary!", my co-worker exclaimed.

That got me really paranoid. Am I really unsanitary by not washing my clothes after ever wear? Am I just engaging in the extended college-ritual of wearing anything that passes the "sniff" test?

I thought carefully how and why I developed my current clothes-washing habit:

  • I'm lazy;
  • I don't have a washer-dryer in my apartment unit. I need to walk 2 flights of stairs plus an additional 50 ft (one-way) to the laundry room. Hence, I try to minimize the amount of laundry I do with the washing machine/dryer;
  • I don't think washing after every wear is necessary, especially if I'm just wearing it to the office and I'm not sweating in it;
  • Washing after every wear would "wear-out" the materials more quickly;
  • It's cheaper to handwash vs. machine wash/dryclean;
  • It's probably more environmentally friendly to handwash vs. machine wash/dryclean;
  • I use less energy by hanging my clothes to air-dry.

Have I sacrificed clean living in the name of frugality (and laziness)? How often should I be washing my work clothes without being disgusting? Now I'm concerned!


444 said...

I think if you really stunk, your co-worker would have given a knowing, "Ohhhh," instead of exclaiming in surprise. I believe that unless you sweat a lot or have some other type of unusual odor problems, clothes don't need washing after each wear.

I have more to say about this, but I thought I'd make my own blog post rather than clog up your comment stream.

DogAteMyFinances said...

When I commuted in NYC or DC, I washed my work clothes a lot more. They really do get dirty. Now I go from my house to my car to my office, so I pretty much do that same thing as you.

Still, hope you're ready for the stinky office gossip. Yay!

Shtinkykat said...

Uhhh, yeah. I wish I kept my mouth shut about the TMI. People in the office will probably look at me like Pig Pen from the Peanuts.

Ssmith28 said...

In Europe they think it is crazy Americans wash their clothes so much. They often rewear the exact same outfit during the week as well. So no-I don't think you are crazy/stinky/one step above a college student. Also you are clearly being green by conserving water. =)

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-I'm with you on the wash and wear issue, how impractical and silly to wash everything after one wear!!! I say, carry on as you are, I'm going to, LOL!

Esperanza said...

i do the SAME THING!! :)

Money Funk said...

Wow! You're all stinky people! lol!

I agree with Ssmith28... Americans are crazy for washing their clothes so much. But, the only that I don't wash as often are my jeans. I just don't get to wear them as much as I would like.

Anonymous said...

Well, as long as you wash your undies after every wearing I think you are ok! Susan

Anonymous said...

I wash shirts and underwear everytime, but not dresses, sweaters, pants, and jeans. I wash as needed or every couple washes. I'm sure you're not stinky, Shtinky.

MrsSmith said...

Don't worry for another second! You are in no way gross, stinky, or unsanitary. You are also not wasteful! Keep up the good work.

asgreen said...

Oh please, your coworker was totally over-reacting. I wear most things 3 or 4 times before washing them. Your clothes will last longer if you don't wash them as often. Plus as long as you aren't sweating in them or spilled something on them, then it is fine to wear them again.

Ian said...

Count me as an American who thinks its darn silly to wash stuff so much. Underwear, sure, one wearing. But otherwise I've got undershirts that I'll usually wear twice, with a day in between. The button or polo shirts over those will usually see 3-4 wearings before being washed. All I'm doing is getting in the car, sitting in the office, and going out to lunch. The jeans, they'll see 3-6 wearings, depending.

Overall fits nice with my (also) being lazy. I don't mind doing laundry, I've got a batch of cold water wash about once/week, all hung up to dry. The office shirts, with the selection I've got and rewearing, maybe a load of those every 5-6 weeks. Makes it nice to only iron them that often. Though line drying outside often helps with that. And yeah... nice to know I'm not destroying the clothes as much, especially by not using the dryer. The lint you clean out? Yeah... that's your clothes. ;)

Sunflowers said...

That was kind of a bitchy thing for your co-worker to say. She's probably just feeling bad that you look so much better than her. :p

I wash things when they get stinky and/or overly wrinkled... if I could get away with wearing a dress 2-3 times, I would so do it.

Shtinkykat said...

Phheewwwww.... I'm glad a lot of you folks don't think I'm dirty, and not in the Christina Aguilera way. :-D Thanks for relieving my paranoia!

Donna Freedman said...

I wrote about this very topic on Smart Spending, and if you read some of the comments you'll see that some people think I'm nuts. But come on, folks -- most of us don't get that dirty in our jobs.
Also, the words "dry clean only" mean I ain't buying it.

Miss M said...

I usually wear jeans and skirts twice but shirts and most work pants do get worn once and washed. My pet peeve is people who use towels only once before washing them, imagine all the water and soap that uses. The dog towels only get used once cause they are covered in fur afterwards, but the human towels can get used twice. If you were stinky someone would have said something, I wouldn't worry at all.