You have likely heard a wide range of opinions on this question, but what do the experts say? How often should men buy new underwear, really?
For women, the topic of when to buy and replace intimate garments is often discussed, dissected, and analyzed. In fact, if you Google “how often should men replace underwear?” – most top results actually talk about women.
Surely, we aren’t oblivious to hygiene regarding our base layers. After all, I wrote this article, and you’re here to read it. So we do care. But is there a one-size-fits-all type of answer for this scenario?
Unfortunately, no. For example, someone doing manual and sweat-inducing work will go through their undergarments quicker than someone who sits at a desk all day.
HOWEVER, there’s a generally agreed-upon set of guidelines concerning the frequency for men to replace their old underwear and buy new ones.
How often should men buy new underwear?
Generally speaking, men should buy new underwear every one to two years when the pair becomes unusable. According to urologists, underwear is considered usable if it is:
- properly clean and devoid of bacteria,
- regularly washed with skin-friendly soaps or detergents
- fits you correctly without elastic issues and
- doesn’t show signs of wear, tear, or fabric degradation.
There is a common misconception that underwear lasts only six to twelve months. Some high-quality and luxury underwear could last several years when handled properly.
Some experts on TikTok might claim everyone should adhere to the six-to-twelve-month replacement schedule. However, many specialists and doctors believe the claim to be unfounded.
What happens if you don't buy new underwear?
Underwear might not be the first thing on your list of things to invest in, but for numerous reasons, it should be.
Many men believe buying new underwear is unnecessary or not worth their time. Others are still wearing pairs from their college days.
Refreshing your underwear collection isn’t just keeping up with the latest trends or avoiding social embarrassment. The fundamental reason is to ensure hygiene, comfort, and personal well-being.
Comfortable, well-fitting underwear boosts your confidence, leading to more successful endeavors.
Now, there are three main reasons why this is important.
First, health and hygiene. You risk your health and potentially your partner's by continuing to wear old underwear.
Over time, even regularly washed underwear can accumulate ingrained sweat and other residues that irritate the skin. This doesn't mean you will definitely get a rash or an infection, but the risk is there.
If you properly wash and take care of your old underwear while simultaneously taking care of your personal hygiene, you likely have nothing to worry about. However, just because you can wear something doesn't always mean you should.
The second concern is comfort. Old pairs lose shape, elasticity, and “charm” in a few years. The general wear and tear aren't just aesthetic issues – they often lead to discomfort. Having to adjust your underwear during an important meeting or date might not leave the best impression.
The third concern is subjective but important nonetheless: personal style.
Underwear might be hidden most of the time (focus on “most”), but knowing you're wearing something fresh, stylish, and comfortable can boost your confidence. Starting your day with the right underwear gives you a jump to a more successful day.
So, while there's no concrete "discard by" date for your underwear, keeping them fresh, clean, and in good shape is beneficial. The takeaway? Don't wait for a special occasion to refresh that drawer.
How do you know if you need new underwear?
Ever held up a pair of your briefs or trunks to the light, squinting as you try to determine its remaining lifespan? It's not just about age. There are several telltale signs that we often miss or blatantly ignore.
- Elasticity Loss and Sagging
If your “favorite” pair starts to slip away along with clothes or sags in places it never used to, it's asking to be tossed out. The waistband should hug you just right, not hang loosely like it's afraid of commitment.
- Fading Colors and Fabric Degradation
For some, color fading might not be a deal-breaker, but it is time to buy a new pair if that deep black looks like a washed-out grey.
Moreover, if the material feels noticeably thinner or becomes see-through in places, you know it's time.
- Persistent Stains or Odors
If a stubborn smell or stain refuses to budge after washing, that’s a red flag. Cleanliness is paramount, and persistent odors can indicate bacteria buildup – which is unhealthy.
- Holes or Tears
This one might seem obvious. Still, you'd be surprised how many are guilty of holding onto a pair of underwear with a few holes for some sentimental reason.
A tiny tear might seem harmless now, but it can quickly escalate, leading to unexpected and potentially embarrassing situations.
As a general thumb rule, if your underwear still checks the usable boxes – proper fit, no signs of excessive wear, and they're still comfortable – they're probably good to go. However, it is time to invest in new pairs if they show any of the above signs.
How to make your underwear last longer?
There’s no denying that good-quality underwear can be a bit of an investment. However, premium briefs can be more cost-effective if they last longer and keep you from having to replace pieces that continually fall apart.
Once you commit and buy high-quality pieces, giving them proper care will ensure they last longer, helping to keep your overall cost down.
Here are some ways to ensure they go the distance:
- Choose the right material that aligns with your usage. Ideally, the fabric should be breathable and moisture-wicking for optimal comfort. We have handpicked our collection of underwear to give you options for every occasion while looking good and feeling even better.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Those little tags inside your underwear aren’t just for show. Manufacturers know their products best. So, listen to the label if it says 'hand wash only,' 'wash in cold water,' or “wash inside out on delicate cycles.’ Here’s our care guide for your reference.
- Use a skin-friendly and gentle detergent. These products will clean your underwear without wreaking havoc on the fabric or potentially irritating your skin.
- Focus on quality over quantity. It’s tempting to buy in bulk from a big box store or Amazon, but cheaper fabrics deteriorate quicker, and poorly made pieces are less comfortable and fall apart quicker. Investing in fewer, high-quality pairs is usually a smarter long-term choice.
Tips on Washing Your Underwear Properly:
- Try to hand wash your delicates with cold water, or use the delicate cycle whenever you can. It’s advisable to sparingly use hot water.
- Some modern dryers have low heat or delicate options if you do not have the time or space to let them air dry.
- Otherwise, it’s typically best to not use a dryer since the high heat can damage the elasticity and overall lifespan.
How many pairs of underwear should I have?
I am often asked how extensive my collection is among our customers' emails. Or what is a normal amount of underwear for men to own?
Ideally, men should have 14 to 20 pairs of daily wear underwear, allowing the luxury of doing laundry every other week. A general rule is to have a fresh pair each day and some backups. The total number goes to 25 pairs for the entire collection, including special pairs (luxury, sportswear, etc.).
Here's a breakdown:
- Daily Wear: About 14 pairs. You get a clean pair every day for 2 weeks.
- Active/Sport: Depending on your activity, an additional 3-5 pairs made of moisture-wicking material can be useful.
- Special Occasions: 2-3 pairs reserved for specific events or clothing items.
- Travel: If you travel frequently, an extra 4-5 pairs ensure you have something for extended trips or in case of emergencies.
Of course, the total number (25) can also increase depending on your lifestyle, travel frequency, and special wardrobe items.
Pro Advice: Don’t go below 14 daily wear pieces unless you do weekly laundry. Repeating underwear could lead to hygiene issues.
Even then, fewer pairs will mean more frequent washing, leading to more wear and tear. Maintaining a good stock saves time and can be cost-efficient in the long run.
What to do with your old underwear?
Now that you have decided to buy a new pair of underwear, what should you do with the old ones? It may seem like an impertinent task, but I have been baffled by some of the suggestions I have heard in the post.
Generally, you shouldn’t give away your old underwear to someone else like we do with a regular set of clothes. While there is a niche market for used underwear, studies have found it unhygienic. Instead, we recommend donating them to organizations that recycle textiles.
Some brands even collect old pairs for proper disposal or recycling.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the lifespan of underwear?
Generally, the lifespan of a pair varies based on its quality, material, and how often it's worn. On average, underwear can last anywhere from six months to a few years, depending on how well you care for them. However, it's best to replace them when they show signs of wear, such as loss of elasticity or fabric degradation.
- Do expensive underwear last longer?
While premium underwear often uses higher-quality materials and manufacturing processes, which can lead to increased durability, the overall lifespan is still influenced by care, usage, and washing frequency. That said, investing in quality can often result in a longer-lasting pair.
- Is it OK to wear the same underwear for a week?
Wearing the same pair of underwear for a week is not recommended. It can accumulate sweat, bacteria, and odors, potentially resulting in skin irritations or infections. It's best to change your underwear daily for optimal hygiene.
- How many times can you wear underwear without washing?
Ideally, a pair of underwear should be washed after each wear. Even if they seem clean, underwear can harbor bacteria and moisture, so it helps maintain good hygiene by washing them regularly.