Clean clothes are key to our personal hygiene and look. Follow clean clothes etiquette to look neat, stay healthy, and avoid any embarrassments.

What clean clothes etiquette is

Clean clothes etiquette is the set of rules to wear clothes that are presentable and maintain appropriate personal hygiene. Such rules include:

  • How to ensure that our clothes look neat.
  • The clothing hygiene mistakes to avoid.

In public, we should respect clean clothes etiquette to preserve our health and avoid being unpleasant to others.

In the workplace, clean clothes etiquette helps us look appropriate and professional.

Clean clothes etiquette principles

Clean clothes etiquette is the foundation of any dress code rule. Dirty clothes host bacteria. They can lead to infections or diseases. They smell bad and look messy. People usually forgive a dress code infringement, while a personal hygiene failure is harder to forget.

The main principles of clean clothes etiquette are:

  • Make sure that the clothes we wear are clean.
  • Manage our look, to appear neat.
Clean clothes etiquette: how to look neat. How to look tidy. Rules to avoid germs and risks for your health.

Clean clothes etiquette rules

1) Check that your clothes are clean before wearing them

Smell your clothes before you wear them. Check risky areas, such as the armpit. If your clothes smell, do not wear them. Wash them instead. 

Check if the clothes are soiled. If they have visible stains, wash them. Even if the stains are small or hardly noticeable, do not wear them.

Similarly, do not wear worn-out clothes. You can still keep them as comfortable house clothes. However, do not wear them outside of your house or in front of other people. 

2) Change clothes every day 

Rotating our clothes gives the impression that we wear clean and fresh clothes every day. Thus, it makes us look neater. This rule is particularly crucial in the workplace, where we meet the same people every day.

Do not wear the same clothes on two consecutive days. Even if the clothes are clean and do not smell, it is best to let them rest. Try to refresh your look daily. Ideally, wait 2 or 3 days before you wear the same clothes again. 

Trousers such as jeans are an exception. Shoes such as sneakers are an exception too. However, do not wear the same pair of trousers or shoes for more than 3 consecutive days. Let them breathe.

Clean clothes etiquette. How often should you wash your clothes? How often should you change your clothes?T-shirts, tops: after 2 or 3 times.
Trousers, skirts, dresses: 2 weeks.
Sweaters and jackets: 1 month.
Shoes: 1 or 2 months.
Shirts: 1 day.
Hats and scarfs: after 1 month.
Lingerie and underwear: after 1 day.
Sportswear: after 1 time.

3) Wash your clothes often

You can reuse some clean clothes on multiple days. However, try to wash your clothes often. Limit how many times you wear a single piece of clothing before you wash it again.

  • T-shirts and tops: wear them 2 or 3 times max.
  • Trousers, skirts, and dresses: wash them every two weeks.
  • Sweaters and jackets: if you rotate them, you can wash them once every month.
  • Shoes: wash them at least every two months. 
  • Shirts: wear them for one day only, two days max. After one day, shirts wrinkle and look untidy. Avoid wearing a reused shirt to your workplace or on a formal occasion.
  • Hats and scarfs: if you rotate them, you can wash them once every month.

Wash clothes even if they look clean. Used clothes can host germs. So, even if you do not wear them several times, it is best to wash them periodically.

4) Never reuse lingerie, underwear, or sportswear

Wear lingerie, underwear, and sportswear present a higher hygiene risk. Either because we wear them on sensitive areas, or because they can get sweaty. Thus, it is best to wear them for one day at most. Then, wash them before wearing them again. Examples are underpants, boxers, socks, bras, shorts, leggings, or swimsuits. 

clean clothes etiquette mistakes

Clean clothes etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst clean clothes etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Wearing soiled or smelly clothes.
  • 7/10. Wearing worn-out clothes.
  • 7/10. Wearing the same clothes on consecutive days.


  • Risks of unclean clothes: