Health

Here's What Happens When You Don't Wash Your Clothes

April 13th 2016

By:
Taylor Bell

Washing our clothes is a necessity, but most of us probably don't make a laundry trip as often as we should. And while we may be comfortable slipping into some unwashed jeans from three months ago, this habit is a lot more harmful than you think.

1. Bacteria build-up that causes you to smell like cheese

This is actually what causes your clothes to smell really bad. According to a video from Brit Lab, the human body sheds 500 skin cells and one liter of sweat each day. But sweat isn't the thing that causes your clothes to smell; the bacteria living on your skin does. Bacteria breaks down the proteins in your skin to produce a "smelly byproduct," the video stated. Specifically, Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria break down amino acids in your sweat and turns it into isovaleric acid, which is the same acid that is found in cheese and poorly made beer.

2. Accumulation of body oils

Our bodies naturally secrete oil to help our bodies as its most organic form of moisturizer. But when you skip out on doing laundry for a while these oils pile up in your unwashed clothing. The excess oil on your dirty clothes gets reabsorbed into your skin and can cause acne.

Acne occurs when oil and dead skins cells find a way into your skin cells and block your pores. This can happen when "dirty sheets and dirty clothes can transfer dirt and bacteria into the hair follicle, causing it to clog and become infected," according to Dermascope.

3. Itchy Skin

According to an article in Bustle, unclean clothes lead to itchy skin. This happens mostly because of the oils and dander that get trapped in your clothing that remain on your unwashed clothes. This is especially true when it comes to unwashed underwear. The bacteria in your dirty intimates makes contact with your private parts and can cause you to itch.

Although it may be tempting, perhaps it's not the best idea to wear the same underwear twice without a good wash — even if it is an emergency.

Even though laundry is a must, it's actually kind of a luxury.

Although the cost of laundry varies based on location, personal access to a washer and drier and the amount loads you accumulate per week, washing clothes can be a special burden for those who are financially unstable. For that reason, charitable organizations have been popping up across the nation to help people afford the high cost of laundry.

For example, Laundry Love is an outreach program that helps raise money to pay for detergent, dryer sheets and coins for people to use in laundry machines, NPR reported.

Then there's the Laundry Project, which hands out laundry vouchers to poor families in Indiana.

Churches have also formed ministries dedicated to helping those in need to cut back on laundry expenses. The Belmont Church in Charlottesville Virginia opened a full laundry station for their low-income residents to use.