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The Dirty Truth: UK’s Washing Habits Revealed

PR Campaign

The dirty truth has been revealed – many people in the UK have bad washing habits! We’ve conducted some research, based on a survey of 2,000 people, and found that Brits are falling behind when it comes to keeping up with washing.

Almost one in three (30%) admitted to washing their bedsheets just once a year; a bad habit that can lead to dust mites and bed bugs, as well as fungal infections and skin irritation. Doctor Aragona Giuseppe, GP and Medical Advisor at Prescription Doctor claims that changing your bedsheets once a week is best for optimum cleanliness.

In addition, 36% of Brits wash blankets just once a year, and almost two in ten (18%) admitted to only washing jeans annually! People are cleaner when it comes to their towels – 40% of people wash these after each use, with 45% ensuring they are washed after five uses.

Winter garments such as scarves, gloves and hats were also rarely washed, even though gloves can very easily pick up germs, and dirt and oil can quickly get trapped in scarves and hats. They should be washed after every five to ten wears (they may need to be handwashed if they are made from delicate materials). 

Items washed just once a year or less frequently

Percentage of UK Public





Cushion covers





















Washing smalls…

When it comes to underwear, the British public is practicing better cleaning habits – 80% wash garments after every wear, but there are significant gender differences. A quarter (25%) of men admitted to washing their underwear after every five washes, compared to just 13% of women. Worryingly, one in ten men (10%) of men claimed to wash their underwear after every 10 washes, compared to just 3% of women. Doctor Giuseppe advises that all underwear (except for bras) and socks should be washed after one use.

Most women (55%) claim to wash their bra after five wears, with 17% claiming to wash it after every wear. A further 6% clean their bra after 10 wears or more. According to Persil, washing a bra after every use can actually weaken the elastic and shorten the lifespan. They recommend washing an everyday bras after three to four wears.


Washing frequency


One to two weeks


After every wear


Three to four wears


Four to ten wears


Once a season


After every use


Five to ten wears


Five to ten wears


Five to ten wears


Two to three wears


Three uses


Six to Seven wears


Dirtiest and cleanest cities…

Belfast was revealed to be the city with residents who wash their clothes the least. One in seven (14%) wash their underwear after 10+ wears or uses, one in five (19%) wash their socks after 10+ wears, and 15% claimed to wash their gym kit just once a year!  

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is the cleanest city, with one in six (17%) residents washing each of their clothing items after just one use. In addition, over half (56%) of Newcastle residents wash their t-shirt after one use, which is more often than any other UK city.

Millennials (25-34-year-olds) are the cleanest generation (17% wash clothing after one wear), while 65+ year-olds have the lowest percentage of 'one use washers’ (13%).

Doctor Giuseppe commented on the importance of keeping your clothes clean:

“Washing your clothing items and bedsheets regularly is important for overall cleanliness and ensuring your body remains clean and healthy. If you do not wash clothing items often you could be at risk of infection or just feeling and smelling unclean.

“Bedsheets and pillowcases should be washed as if they are dirty this could promote acne, spots and other skin issues due to the dirty bacteria on the sheets transferring to your skin.”

Kirsty Oakes, Head of Product and Marketing at Hammonds Furniture, said:

“We all have those items on our life laundry to-do lists that we put off, and for some people that can literally be the washing! Especially now that so many of us are working from home and can go for days without seeing people outside our own household, it can be tempting to put the washing off even more.

“However, keeping clean is now more important than ever, and that also goes for our clothes, blankets and bedsheets.

“If you’ve found yourself washing things less often than is recommended then set aside time each week to do your washing and try to always stick to it. Make the effort to wear clean, fresh clothes each day (even if you are working from home) and just remember how amazing fresh sheets feel when you climb into bed!”

Check out our sliding wardrobes or fitted wardrobes for cleaver storage solutions so you can keep your clean clothes stored correctly!


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