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How often should you change your pyjamas?

a woman’s nightwear drawer.
While the majority of people will change the clothes they wear each day, a recent survey published in House Beautiful found that most of the UK population wear their pyjamas on multiple consecutive nights. This raises an interesting question - just how often should you change and wash your nightwear, and how many pairs of pyjamas do you need to never be left short.   

No matter whether you favour a pair of classic button down PJs, or you are more or a tee and shorts person, in this blog, we look at answering all of these questions and more as we take a deep dive into nightwear rotation.  

How often should you wash pyjamas?

According to experts, including fashion marketing guru and influencer Harpa Gretarsdóttir, you should be washing your nightwear after three to four nights of wearing it. If, however, you shower before bed, this can be extended to seven nights, but this should be the absolute maximum.   

This is because, as we sleep our body sweats, excreats oils and sheds dead skin cells. When wearing PJs, these bacteria-causing substances can be absorbed into the fabrics. When these are left over a period of days, they can become dangerous to your health by possibly causing infections, increasing your risk of acne and other skin conditions, and even potentially leading to cystitis.   

While three to four nights is typically an appropriate length of time to wear the same pair of PJs without washing them, if you know you are prone to oily skin or suffer from night sweats, you may need to wash your nightwear even more frequently. It’s also worth noting that many people  wear their pyjamas as a form of loungewear, not just for sleeping. If this is the case, and you wear PJs around the home for a number of hours prior to bed, you may have to wash them more frequently too.

How to wash pyjamas

As with all forms of clothing, it’s important to read the care instructions provided on your pyjama labels before washing them. Nightwear is often made from delicate fabric, such as silk or linen, meaning placing them in an incorrect washing cycle can lead to them being damaged or ruined. Below, we have outlined washing instructions for a number of common types of pyjamas.  

Different types of pyjamas

Silky pyjamas - these delicate garments require a sensitive wash in order to prevent colour fading. Silk can also be damaged by hot or even warm temperatures. For this reason, only machine wash silk PJs if the label allows, and only ever use a ‘delicates’, low temperature setting and a slow spin cycle.   

Cotton/flannel pyjamas - this type of nightwear should never be washed at anything over 40 degrees. Temperatures higher than this can shrink cotton and see colours fade or run.   

Fleece/thermal pyjamas - just as with silk nightwear, washing fleece pyjamas can be tricky. These thermal winter PJs should only ever be washed on a cool, gentle cycle. In many cases, it may be safer to simply wash fleece nightwear using a standard rinse and spin cycle with a small amount of detergent. This will help to keep the fleece’s fibres soft and fuzzy. Hot washes, on the other hand, are likely to damage the fleece linings of these types of PJs.    

Linen pyjamas - again, while it’s important to read the care label to ensure they can be machine washed at all, as a rule, linen PJs should only be washed on low temperature cycles with a mild detergent. Linen will naturally become more absorbent and softer after each low temperature wash. However, if washed at a high temperature, it’s natural fibers can be irreparably damaged. 

How many pairs of pyjamas should you own?

Based on the advice provided above, and assuming your household does one or two loads of laundry a week, you should ideally own three or four pairs of pyjamas (if you want to wear PJs each night). Naturally, this is simply a guide, and you may wish to have more than this in order to have separate nightwear options for both winter and summer, for example.   

This estimation also assumes that you only ever wear PJs in bed, rather than slips, loungewear or other forms of nightwear. If this is the case, you may not need as many pairs of pyjamas. As long as you wash your nightwear at a frequency of every three to four days, and still have enough bedtime clothing options, it’s really down to you how many different styles of PJs you want in your wardrobe.

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