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How Often Do People Really Clean Their Underwear?

underwear on washing line scaled

Recently, Showers to you revealed that 31% of people exercise in the same gym-gear for up to four sessions before they consider swapping it for a clean, fresh kit.

This led OnBuy’s Men’s Underwear Department to wonder, how often do people re-wear their dirty unmentionables before giving them a sufficient clean?

They surveyed 2,790 men and women to reveal the world’s clothing hygiene habits once and for all. 

How often do people clean their underwear?

OnBuy’s Men’s Underwear Department began with asking ‘How many times do you wear underwear before washing it?’ where they discovered just 64% of males and 68% of females wear their underwear once before washing. Surprisingly, 1 in 20 men re-wear their underwear more than five times before cleaning them, alongside 7% of women. 

Additionally, a huge 22% of males and 18% of females who re-wear their unmentionables twice before giving it a wash!

Of those who don’t wash their underwear after each wear, 76% of men and 69% of women turn them inside out for a cleaner feel, with 24% of males and 31% of females choosing to continue on the same side. 

OnBuy also found that most repeat wearers have a particular method of sorting dirty clothing. 25% of men and 20% of women decide to re-wear items if they don’t smell dirty, with a further 29% of men and 30% of women doing so if they’re not visibly dirty.

Interestingly, more women than men borrow underwear from others! 6 in 10 (61%) women admit to this, in comparison to almost 1 in 2 men (48%). According to the study, 39% of women have borrowed underwear from their partner, whereas just 14% of men have borrowed from theirs. 

After informing respondents that unwashed underwear can lead to increased odour and sweat, 12% of men and 10% of women remain unbothered. Following this, OnBuy explained that unwashed underwear can also lead to increased infections and discharge, where 6% of men and 3% of women were still not concerned!

OnBuy uncovered that just 40% of men and 55% of women replace their underwear after one year of use; with 47% of men and 66% of women keeping their unmentionables for two to three years. Interestingly, 13% of men and 4% of women keep hold of their old underwear for more than three years in a bid to get their money’s worth!

What about other items?

With the previous results in mind, OnBuy’s Men’s Underwear Department were keen to discover how other clothing compares.

They found that 23% of men and 17% of women wear socks more than once before giving them a wash. With 1 in 100 men choosing to wear socks for more than five days before cleaning them, significantly less people choose to re-wear underwear (1 in 20) than socks.

Interestingly, 82% of men and 75% of women wear their work outfits more than once before washing. 

Although it is advised otherwise, 7% of women wash their bra after each wear. It is commonly suggested to wash your bra after two wears, which just 12% of women do. The majority (76%) of women do so every three to five wears, with just 1% washing after eight or more days.

Showers to you recently conducted a study of 2,000 people and found that more than 2 in 5 (43%) will wait hours before they even think about peeling off their sports socks to shower. They also found that 31% were found to exercise in the exact same outfit for up to four sweaty sessions before swapping them out!

Ivan Ivanov from EOT Cleaning provided their opinion on our hygiene habits:

“To upkeep personal hygiene, the majority of items in your wardrobe should be washed after each wear; especially if exercise, strenuous activity or hot weather was involved. 

Although, there are some exceptions for this rule. For example, Levi’s suggest that jeans should be washed after every 10 wears and women are encouraged to hold back on bra washing until it’s been worn two or three times (depending on your activity levels). 

After discovering that 1 in 5 wear their underwear more than once before washing, we realise that the process can be confusing if unsure how to do so effectively. So, here are EOT Cleaning’s top underwear cleaning tips:

  1. Always check the item of clothing’s care label just in case the item cannot be machine washed – this is usually the case with more delicate or intricate items. Despite this, washing underwear in the machine produces great results the majority of the time.
  2. For a simple wash, add the correct amount of washing detergent for your washing load and, for a more effective clean, add antibacterial laundry sanitiser if it’s available.
  3. Antibacterial detergent kills a larger number of bacteria left behind on the underwear.
  4. When washing to kill bacteria and to provide a hygienic finish, it is important to choose the correct temperature as this is key to killing off germs. The best temperature to effectively sanitise is anywhere between 40-60 degrees. However, some antibacterial laundry sanitisers can disinfect on a lower temperature, so make sure to read the instructions.