What Do You Do With Half-Dirty Clothes?

posted by Andrea | 06/20/2012

Recently, I’ve received quite a few questions about what I do with half-dirty clothes – you know, the shirt you wear for part of the day and although it isn’t really “dirty”, it’s also not clean enough to put back in the closet.

I chuckle to myself whenever I read these emails and questions because this has been a topic Dave and I have debated ever since we were married :)

My theory has always been, if it’s dirty, it goes in the wash. If it’s not dirty, I’ll simply wear it again the next day or put it back in my closet. If I don’t feel good about putting it back in the closet {or wearing it again} then I know it’s probably dirty enough for the hamper.

Dave, on the other hand, has an elaborate system that involves several piles and an entire shelf in our closet devoted to stacks of “half dirty clothes”. Every time I do the laundry, I ask him if any of his half-dirty clothes need to be washed. He almost always responds, “not yet”.

However, sometimes his half-dirty piles and stacks get out of control — at which point I dump everything into the wash even though he insists the items don’t need to be washed. I’m not a huge fan of his half-dirty piles, but I suppose it reduces the amount of laundry I have to do each week!

So today, I’d love to know…

What do you do with your half-dirty clothes?

Are you like me and simply toss them in the wash?

Are you like Dave and stockpile them in one convenient location for a later date?

Do you hang them in the front of your closet or face the hanger the opposite direction?

Do you drape them over the laundry hamper instead of puting the items all the way inside?

Or maybe you think this is a crazy question that you’ve never thought about before!

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63 comments

  1. Laura

    06/26/2012

    I just wear the same clothes again until they actually do get dirty, which doesn’t take long since I have 2 kids 3 and under! I’ll just drape them across the top of the hamper or over a ledge in my bathroom to remind myself that those are the clothes I’m wearing tomorrow.

    As for my husband, I usually end up putting his clothes away since he leaves them in a heap by his dresser all. the. time. Then I use the smell/sight test to determine if it goes in the hamper or not. If it’s clean enough, it goes back in the drawer or closet. If it really was dirty, that’s his problem. :)

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    Dana Reply:

    So glad I’m not the only one with those routines.

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  2. Sommer

    06/27/2012

    I have a preference for fresh, clean clothes, but I usually wear them again if I didn’t do anything strenuous enough to sweat and especially if they’ve been worn for a short time. I put a shirt/dress/skirt on a hanger separate from the other clothes and wear them the next day or a few days after. Jeans or pants are always worn at least 2 days before washing if they aren’t dirty. It saves water and detergent and helps my clothes to last longer, and helps control the amount of laundry. With the kids’ clothes, they almost exclusively go in the washer because they get genuinely dirty, unless a shirt was worn for 10 minutes then taken off to change into play clothes or because they changed their mind about what they wanted to wear :) My husband’s clothes are always washed after first wear except for pants, which he lays on the floor (irritating) to be worn the next day then tosses in the hamper (sometimes). Ha!

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  3. Shana

    08/05/2012

    I have a peg on the wall that I hang my half dirty clothes until I need to put them in the hamper. Since my daughter and hubby do their own laundry, I don’t know (or care!) what they do with theirs!!

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  4. Angel

    08/06/2012

    Really? Since I am a widow, and live alone…kids are all grown and on their own, dealing with the dirty clothes on the floor, hahaha! So, I rehang in a seperate closet if 1/2 dirty. (interesting term). I am also a chronic asthmatic, so my husbands clothes never did hang in my closet, you know, one never knows where he has been (climbing around on his buddy’s 54 Chevy). I would never think of sharing my closet with another human being. Well, that’s my take on the whole subject…keep your clothes clean and neat and tidy.

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  5. Bridgett

    10/24/2012

    I have an over the door hanger, well . .2 of them with 5 notches for hanger that keeps clothes from touching and one long hook. I use one on the back of our bedroom door for 5 shirts for my husband for the week, the other is on the back of the closet door, where we hang clothes worn, but not work enough to go in the wash. They are really handy hangers and only about $3 a pop!

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  6. Kathleen

    03/27/2013

    I sometimes wear an outfit for the hour or two it takes for me to go to church or teach Sunday school. Because I can pretty much save it for the next day at work, I’ll change immediately and hang it back up. If I feel the need to freshen it up, maybe I’ll put it out on the clothesline for awhile or in the dryer on no heat/fluff with a halved dryer sheet.

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  7. Julia

    04/03/2013

    I use white hangers for my clean clothes and tan hangers for the ’1/2 dirty’ ones and just hang them back in my closet. Each of my kids has their own ‘clothes hooks’ at their level for their pajamas and clothes that can be reworn again. I usually just wash anything left hanging on their hooks on my weekly laundry day.

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  8. Ellenor's Mama

    02/18/2014

    This only seems to impact me on Sundays, but I generally leave my Sunday church clothes laying … well anywhere ….. to be reworn on Monday.

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