How Often Should You Buy New Underwear? Answered


I was shocked to find that the top result in a fast Google search for “How Often Should You Buy New Underwear” was from a men’s fashion site, which said that the “rule of thumb” was to replace your supply of underwear every six to twelve months.

But fortunately for my sanity, I continued researching and came across this , where the writer called her friend Philip M. Tierno, PhD, a professor of microbiology and pathology at the New York University School of Medicine and the author of the soon-to-be-released book First, Wear A Face Mask: A Doctor’s Guide to Reducing Risk of Infection During the Pandemic and Beyond, For help on the subject matter.

According to Tierno, there is no sanitary need to throw away your used underwear after a certain amount of time as long as you wash them after each usage.

They don’t have a date of expiry. You may retain your underwear as long as it is mechanically sound, free of holes, and clean, according to Tierno, and you wash and disinfect it regularly. “You’ll know to replace them when the elastic is worn out or torn.”

Put your drawers in the washing machine, ideally with peroxide-containing detergent, on the highest setting advised on the care label, to thoroughly clean them between uses.

Even after washing your underwear, there will probably still be some germs on the material since, according to a 2001 study from the , the typical pair of “clean” underwear has roughly one-tenth of a gramme of excrement. However, a thorough wash will eliminate the great majority of germs, and the tiny amount that remains won’t harm you, according to Dr Tierno.


How Often Should You Buy New Underwear?

You may increase the life of your underwear if you properly care for it. But generally speaking, underwear has to be changed every six to twelve months.

To prevent an excessive bacterial buildup, you may want to think about upgrading as soon as three months, depending on the extent of soiling.

Read Also: How To Get Period Blood Out of Underwear? – 2 Simple Ways

Signs You Should Replace Your Underwear

It’s crucial to remember that there is no precise science to predict how long your underwear will last, and the 6 to 12-month advice is only a guideline. Instead, if you believe it may be time to say goodbye, there are a number of signals you can watch for.

These include: These usually develop after about a year of consistent usage.

Stretch –

Over time, the elastic in your waist and around your legs will become less flexible. It’s time to switch to a new pair of underwear if you find that your current pair has lost its stretch.

Fit –

Your underwear won’t fit like a glove or be silky after the flexibility has been lost. Under your apparel, sagging underwear is neither appealing nor comfy.

Frequency of wear –

More often worn underwear is more prone to harbour germs than underwear worn exclusively on special occasions.

Although the likelihood of experiencing major health issues is minimal, it is nevertheless preferable to completely prevent infection by switching up your normal rotation often.

What Takes Place If Your Underwear Isn’t Replaced?

Over time, bacteria may build up in your underwear. Even routine washing might leave behind bacteria. Bacteria may result in:

  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • Candida infections
  • Skin sensitivity

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists did not discover a connection between underwear and infection, however.

Instead, a person’s personal cleanliness was a better indicator of their chance of contracting an illness. So long as you wash them often, wearing outdated underwear is unlikely to be harmful to your health.

How can underwear be made to last longer?

You may take action to maintain your underpants clean and extend their lifespan. Buying high-quality clothing produced from durable and eco-friendly fabrics is the first step in this process.

More quickly than materials made of organic cotton and bamboo viscose, cheap, synthetic fabrics will rip and lose their form. When you no longer need them, they’ll also take longer to break down.

The manner in which you wash your underwear also makes a significant difference in how long they last. The following measures are advised by experts to take while washing your underwear:

  • Wash your hands with cold water
  • Use a mild detergent.
  • Periodically do a hot water machine wash
  • Use a lingerie bag to protect them if you’re machine washing them.
  • Don’t dry them in the dryer; simply let them air dry.


Why Should You Avoid Wearing Old Underwear?

Although the likelihood is low, worn-out underwear might really be harmful to your health. According to Dr Sandra, if a pair of shoes no longer fits correctly, they may lock in moisture that would typically be driven away, resulting in yeast and other illnesses.

Additionally, frayed underwear seams may irritate your skin and cause cuts or abrasions, which raise the possibility of infection.

Expert Advice on How to Wash Underwear to Make It Last Longer

It’s crucial to thoroughly clean your underwear in between wearings in order to prevent any health problems and to avoid having to buy new, frayed, or worn underwear.

The care instructions are put on the label for a purpose; first, abide by them. Tems advises adding bleach to your wash cycle if you use white cotton underwear.

This will eliminate all the microorganisms, he claims. If your underwear is coloured, you may use Lysol, which efficiently destroys bacteria, in place of bleach by adding it to a hot water cycle.

Additionally, a lot of washing machines offer a germicidal cycle, so you don’t need to use a separate anti-germ product. According to Tems, “this cycle elevates the temperature far higher than you could obtain with conventional hot water.”

You should hand wash or use a delicate cycle if your underwear is made of more delicate materials, such as silk or acetate, but you may still buy things to add to guarantee a very thorough clean. Tems adds that drying, whether done in the dryer or by exposing items to the sun’s UV rays, aids in the elimination of microorganisms.



The inoculum effect, which states that it requires a certain number of organisms to create an infection, is a different phenomenon from washing machines, he claims.

According to Tierno, your machine won’t produce enough microorganisms to be a concern for you. If you want to be extra cautious, run a bleach cycle in your washing machine without any clothing once a month to make sure it isn’t accumulating any germs.

So it turns out that, contrary to popular belief, underwear does not need routine replacement due to bacterial causes as toothbrushes do.

You may use them until they start to appear worn and dirty as long as you put on a new pair every day and wash them after each usage. Additionally, it is OK to save older, more recognisable bloomers for the occasional journey down memory lane.


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