Today I realised something uncomfortable: I am grubby. I wash my pyjamas (joggers and an old T-shirt) every couple of weeks at best, and that’s only when I notice they’re a bit past it. Apparently this isn’t good enough.
The great pyjama washing debate began on Mumsnet – as most of these things do – when one user asked if it was “unreasonable” to wash her PJs every day. Daily pyjama washers on the thread faced criticisms of using too much water or having too much time on their hands but many others agreed with the strict timetable. “I wash my night wear after every wear,” wrote DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen, “I care about the environment and I also have plenty to do thank you.”
As a fortnightly PJ washer, I struggle to relate to the militant organisation it would take to do a daily wash, and it seems team Pool are right there with me. This morning, I sent an email to the whole team, promising anonymity and asking how often they washed their pyjamas. While I may be on the more mucky end of the scale, very few of us think an everyday wash is necessary:
“Oh yes I know not often enough. Sometimes wear them for a week! Make the kids change theirs every two nights or more often...”
“Every couple of weeks? Unless I've sweated excessively.”
As a fortnightly PJ washer, I struggle to relate to the militant organisation it would take to do a daily wash
“Oh god. Um. Once every four/five days or so? For bottoms anyway, tops I'm not bothered. DO NOT SHAME ME.”
“One and a half to two weeks…? But in my defence I don't wear them every night.”
“Every second day, sometimes every day. Is that normal? I shower at night and often in the morning too because I like being clean.”
“Once every two weeks... or when I remember to put them in the washing machine.“
“Not regularly enough….I have lots of pairs on rotation at any one time though if that makes it any less disgusting.“
“I tend to use under my pillow as de facto PJ storage – meaning my pyjamas are on a rolling system where whichever ones I pull out that night are the ones that get worn. It also means they are out of sight, out of mind when it comes to washing them... until I wash my bed sheets, uncover the rumpled piles of PJ tops and trousers, and do a guilt wash by chucking them all in together.”
And it seems we’re right on the money. Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene told the Guardian that a wash-a-week is good enough. But she did also warn, “The dirtier your pyjamas get, the more likely it is that things will be transferred from your bowel to your urinary tract, for example. You can’t say there’s no risk, but the risk is relatively low.” Not a nice thought.
Daily pyjama washes might seem excessive to me, but I’m a single 23-year-old. I have a bed all to myself. Maybe when that changes, my PJ washing habits will change too. For now though, I’m happy in my week old pyjamas, just as happy as those who like a clean pair every day. If you don’t shame me, I won’t shame you.