TL;DR you should replace your underwear every year. But if your underwear has holes, permanent stains, or a worn-out waistband, it’s time to swap them out ASAP.
In the summer of 2023, someone posted on r/NoStupidQuestions asking how often you’re supposed to replace your underwear. “Growing up, it was always whenever we grew out of them, now that we're adults we have no idea how often to buy new ones.”
The seemingly straightforward question triggered a barrage of nearly 2,600 comments from people with vastly different ideas about hygiene and personal finance. One lady suggested getting new underwear every month, while another admitted to owning the same pair of underwear for nearly two decades, which is absolutely disgusting no matter how you spin it.
So what’s the deal? Can you snag a 24-pack of boxers on your next Costco run and call it a decade? Or do your privates deserve a fresh pair every month?
As with all important questions, the answer is “it depends.”
How Often Should You Replace Underwear?
Despite what your favorite TikToker might have told you, there’s no magic rule for how often you should replace your underwear. But you came here for advice, so here it is: Try to replace your underwear once a year—that goes for chicks and dudes alike.
An annual underwear swap is like an insurance policy against skid marks, wear and tear, and worn-out fabric. Your underwear is the foundation of every outfit—the first thing you put on before work and the last thing you take off before making love. Don’t subject your sensitive sides to a sad piece of tattered cotton.
For context, replacing your underwear every year is our minimum recommendation. But if you see any of these warning signs, swap out your skivvies ASAP.
- Permanent stains from poop, pee, blood, or other bodily fluids
- A loose elastic band that doesn’t “snap” like it used to
- Busted seams around your crotch or leg openings
- Nasty odors that don’t go away after washing them
- Holes, rips, or tears
- Faded colors or dull, dingy whites
What’s the Point of Replacing Your Underwear?
We know what you’re thinking: An underwear company telling you to restock every year is like a mechanic telling you to go in for maintenance every month. But here are three no-BS reasons to replace your underwear more often than you probably do now:
1. It’s Sanitary
Your underwear puts up with so much shit every day—literally and figuratively. A study in the Journal of Infection actually found traces of poop on the average pair of "clean" underwear. Not to mention the butt sweat and other bodily fluids floating around down there.
Imagine walking around in your own excrement every day.
3. It’s Comfortable
Between walking around, working out, and weekly washing, underwear is prone to wear, tear, and fading. Maybe you put on a few pounds and stretched the waistband, or maybe your partner bit a hole in your underwear on date night. Either way, wearing new underwear gives you the comfort and confidence you deserve.
It’s kind of like new car smell. Is it essential? Not really. Is it amazing? F*ck yeah.
2. It’s Stylish
Wearing the same style of underwear for years (or decades) in a row is boring AF. Sure, you can count on one hand the number of people who see your underwear—maybe more if you’re in a certain line of business.
What Type of Underwear Lasts the Longest?
Not all underwear is created equal. Just like some people last longer in bed, some underwear fabrics last longer than others—and micromodal takes the crown.
Micromodal fibers are super fine and have a longer staple length compared to cotton fibers. This makes them stronger and more resistant to friction and pilling. Micromodal is also stretchier, so it can hold its shape even after washing them over and over.
Lastly, micromodal holds color better than cotton, so your prints and patterns will still be high-def even after washing them with hot water.
How to Maximize the Lifespan of Your Underwear
Here are 4 idiot-proof tips to make your underwear last longer:
- Rotate Your Collection: Only wear a pair of underwear once a week, max
- Wash with Cool Water: Hot water can break down fibers
- Skip the Dryer: Heat from your dryer can nuke the elastic waistband and make it less stretchy
- Avoid Bleach and Fabric Softener: Bleach can weaken fibers, and fabric softener leaves a residue that makes underwear less breathable.
How Many Pairs of Underwear Should You Own?
Any respectable adult should own 14 pairs of underwear. That might seem excessive, but that ensures you’ll always have a clean pair ready to rock, no matter what your laundry schedule looks like.
You never know when you’ll need to pack up and hit the road, so it’s smart to have plenty of underwear to last you a while. Or maybe you shart yourself. Or maybe your dog eats a pair. You get the point—better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your privates.
Put Your Undies on Autopilot
Maybe you’re hanging onto your old underwear for nostalgia’s sake. Or maybe you’re just stingy as hell. Either way, it’s time to grow up and start replacing your underwear at least once a year.
We hate buying underwear at stores as much as you do. It’s embarrassing, the selection sucks, and who knows how many grubby hands have been all over ‘em. That’s why we started the Culprit Quarterly Score. Every 3 months, we’ll send 3 pairs of soft, sexy undies straight to your door. Oh, and did we mention they’re 25% off?
These aren’t your granny’s panties—they’re exclusive, members-only prints. We’ll send a preview before your Score ships so you can see what’s coming. Spoiler: they’re going to be epic.