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How To Tell If Your Clothes Are Dirty

Copyright (c) 2008-2023 Buzzy Multimedia
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If you are the type of person who wears clothes, like, t-shirts for example, than this is an article for you. You may not be aware of it, but your favorite t-shirt that has a clever or funny saying emblazoned across it’s width can actually reach a level of funk that requires it to be laundered.

In case your mamma didn’t tell you, here’s how to tell if your clothes are dirty. Although there are many types of articles of clothing, we will focus mainly on the t-shirt and jeans, the mainstay of American wardrobes.

There are many levels of "dirty" when referring to clothes, and a staggering number of people are unaware of this. In fact, there are a great number of steps that lay between "Laundry Fresh" and "Burn It". In truth, there are 5 stages in all.

How to tell if you have "Laundry Fresh" clothes

Once a t-shirt has been washed with laundry soap and water in an appropriate laundering machine. Then dried by either drying machine or on a line indoors or out, is no longer wet to the touch and has not been worn since washing and drying have been completed it is considered Laundry Fresh.

It should be noted that even t-shirts hung out to dry on a clothes line in the open air where bugs can fly by and land on them, or hung on a clothes line that stretches between two buildings leaving the garment to dangle for hours over city traffic below is still considered "Laundry Fresh".

Also, there are those who are fortunate enough to have others do their laundry for them, like the rich and those living at home with their parents. In this situation any t-shirt that is found hung in closets or folded and placed in a dresser drawer is also considered "Laundry Fresh". Just because you did not do the laundry or witness the event-horizon take place does not mean that the Laundry fairies did not take care of it for you.

Now that we have clearly defined what "Laundry Fresh" means when applied to a t-shirt, we can move on. (That means you have to keep reading.)

Level One (L1)- This is the cleanest level of "dirty" that there is. If the t-shirt in this level were even slightly less dirty they would fall back into the Laundry Fresh category. Level One (or L1) is a t-shirt that has been taken from its Laundry Fresh position and has been placed on the human body. Therefore, once a t-shirt is worn or donned if you will, it is no longer Laundry Fresh and cannot return to that state of being until it has been properly re-laundered. This applies not only to t-shirts which make actual physical contact with the skin, but also to those garments that are worn outermost from the body, like button up sweaters and jackets.

L1 t-shirts can remain L1 in several ways:

  • If you only wear them inside your house and do not break a sweat in them
  • If you wear them outside long enough to pick up some absolutely important thing from the corner grocer and none of your friends, family, or business associates see you wearing that specific t-shirt on that particular day
  • If at the end of the day they the tee is not tossed in the laundry basket. If it is, the t-shirt is now considered "dirty", and cannot be worn again until properly laundered.
  • If at the end of the day you put your t-shirt over something, like a chair, and it does not lay on the floor for more than a few moments. Even if that floor is carpeted. Think of this condition as the "Kiss it up to God" clause.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Bathing suites can remain in L1 for years or until the style changes. Then it is garbage. Bathing suites can never be sold at a yard sale. It will scare people.

  • FYI: - The article of clothing know as the Tie can remain in a constant state of "Clean" until some piece of food sticks to it or a stain that cannot be hidden by a tie tack becomes clearly visible. If this occurs, the tie is now considered "garbage", as there is no way to wash a tie. This is one of those laws of nature that cannot and should not be challenged, like incest. Even if it’s a step-sister through marriage.

    FACTOID: Towels come in 2 stages of cleanliness - Laundry Fresh (in the linen closet), L1 (used to dry off a clean body), and L5 (clumps of gum are sticking to it). There are no other stages for towels.

    MOST IMPORTANT: Also to be noted, socks and underwear once worn are considered "dirty" as soon as you take them off. Putting them back on, even if you only wore them for a few minutes, is disgusting, and people will know somehow what you did and will shun you. It is a crime worse than incest.

    Level Two( L2) - These are the L1 clothes that you wore yesterday. The t-shirts are twice removed from their Laundry Fresh state. They look a little worn in and are getting to a point where they are about to be considered comfortable, and this is especially true of blue jeans (which have by the way, remarkable Leveling power).

    L2 tees are perfectly acceptable to wear all day long in the house for a second day in a row so long as you use deodorant on your body and plan not to sweat in them too heavily. They can remain in their L2 status in several ways:
  • If you plan to stay in the house all day long and plan not to sweat in them
  • If you wear them in your house and only go outside to pick up some absolutely important thing from a different store than the one you went to yesterday
  • If at the end of the day it was not tossed in the laundry basket. If it was, this t-shirt is now considered "dirty", and cannot be worn again.
  • If at the end of the day your t-shirt is sprayed with a fabric refresher and then laid over something, like a chair. The t-shirt is not allowed to touch the floor at this point.

  • NOTE: - Button-up sweaters and articles of clothing of the like remain in a constant state of L2 until something happens to them to make them "dirty", like a drink spilling on them, two consecutive seasons have passed, or it has been worn all three days of a fan driven convention.

    FYI: Clothes, particularly t-shirts, may stay in this state for quite some time, but as soon as you are seen wearing these clothes by anyone who has the potential to be considered as a reliable witness in a court of law, the clothing will become "dirty" by the end of the day and will need to be placed in the laundry basket.

    Level 3 (L3) - These t-shirt are now ready to be worked in and no longer suitable for casual or everyday wear. This is the t-shirt that you've worn around the house for many days, but are now ready to sweat in, as they honestly have stayed in L2 status for about as long as they can. By this time you have been spotted in this shirt by at least one reliable witness weather you know it or not. It's pointless to put on your Laundry Fresh tee when there is no doubt some L2 clothes just laying about that are ready to advance to the next level. This is perhaps the hardest level of "dirty" to define, but with practice you'll develop a feel for it in no time.

    Examples of L3 T-shirts:

  • L2 tees that you have worn for a day that consisted of you going in and out of the house being seen by many witnesses
  • L2 tees that you have sweated in, if you were wearing ample deodorant
  • L2 tees that you were wearing while cooking something that splatters while you cooked it, like hamburgers, even if there is no physical evidence left behind
  • Tees that have been exposed to some sort of stink. "Stink" is that lingering odor that clings to clothes like bus fumes, cigarette smoke, perfumes and colognes. It's the same sort of lingering odor that makes you say "you have a cat" or "you have a baby" when you walk into someone's house.
  • Tees that people have seen you in that you will see before it is obvious that you have done your laundry
  • These t-shirts get wet for any reason

  • L3 Tees really should not be worn again until laundered. In truth, they are very near "dirty", and it is only with serious consideration and preparation that they can be worn again.

    Level 4 (L4) - These t-shirts are "dirty" and should technically not be worn. People will think things about you if you are caught see in them. You know the sort of things that will be thought, you've done it to other people. Examples of L4 clothing are

    1. Homeless give you "the nod" to acknowledge your fashion sense 2. Grunge rockers give you "the nod" to acknowledge your fashion sense 3. Your mother is officially now embarrassed to be seen with you for good reason 4. A close friend offers to "help you out" 5. Someone leaves a bar of soap on your desk at work.

    Level 5 (L5) - These t-shirts are not only "dirty" but there are clumps of unidentified matter sticking to them and/or obviously smell like dirty clothes. This is when blue jeans need to be washed. L5 t-shirts will often find themselves at the risk of being thrown away because of the layers of filth and grim that have developed on them. They are often washed in the washing machine alone, with extra soap. Twice. Sometimes these tees are never able to reach Laundry Fresh again and are sold at a yard sale.


  • Any time any article of clothing is left in the bathroom unattended
  • If a dog sleeps on it
  • Food, other than sandwich crumbs, are brushed off it
  • If you hold a baby who is still in diapers
  • If you get caught in the rain and the clothes become wet
  • If you sweat in them
  • If you sleep in them (pj's and night gowns are excluded from this rule)
  • If you spill a glass of water on them
  • If you break out with a fever or are otherwise sick in/on them
  • As soon as you buy them from a yard sale or thrift shop

  • SPECIAL NOTE: Pa Jammas, or as some folks call them PJ's do not get "dirty" when you sleep in them. This is because bed clothes were especially designed in conjunction with science driven fashion designers who meant for these clothes to be slept in. In theory and idealistically, you have showered and toweled off with an L1 towel, and then put on a clean sleeping garment. Your body is clean, your towel is clean, the sleeping garment is Laundry Fresh or at least L1, and you lay down atop L1 sheets. You are surrounded by clean, and are therefore not getting dirty. As soon as you have sex in your sleeping garments, they and the sheets are "dirty" and should be put in the laundry.

    It is my sincerest hope that this first installment of "How-to Insert Subject Matter” was helpful to you, or at the very least, someone who you can direct to this article to so that they may read, learn and grow.

    If you have an idea for a column or want to drop me a line to tell me how I saved your life because of this article, please feel free to do so.

    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Theresa Bane Vampirologist, author and Buzzy Multimedia Columnist - Wear Your Attitude Wherever You Go! Having spent a goodly amount of time among fans it occurred to her to share her thoughts on a variety of subjects that she believes may prove useful to humankind in general and fans specifically.

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