Have you ever looked into the abyss of your underwear drawer and wondered if they all have predetermined lifespans? Or maybe you spent an entire lazy Sunday in your drawers watching old Garfield episodes and you’re wondering when to change into a new pair. Like any occasional wardrobe upgrade, you may be wondering when the proper time is to upgrade your undies to new ones and get rid of the older pairs. If underwear questions have been rattling around your brain lately, then you’ve come to the right place.
This blog is all about the unwritten rules of knickers baybee.
A Brief (pun intended) History of Underwear
Underwear has been around since 100 AD when ancient Roman women wore undergarments named “subligaculum” which looked pretty much like a big diaper. The underwear we know now was popularized in the 1950s, taking the old, baggy shorts named “panties” from the ‘30s and turning them into the form fitting “bikini briefs” popular today. Thongs and g-strings were popularized in the 1980s and the underwear industry has not slowed down since.
How Often Should You Change Your Undies?
The general consensus is that you should change your underwear at least once a day to avoid bacterial growth and potential infection. However, if you workout or sweat profusely, you should change into a new pair every time after activity. It is also suggested that you should change into a new pair of underwear after showering to reduce trapping any unnecessary moisture.
The reason to avoid trapping moisture is because it can breed bacteria as well as yeast, which can lead to some uncomfortable infections. Moisture plus body temperature plus having your bootyhole exist in the same realm as your other sensitive parts, has the potential to become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria which loves warm, moist environments. Bacteria already exists in fecal matter which can be trapped in the fibers of your underwear and become the mother to many loving bacteria children. This can lead to skin irritation and itchiness as well.
Every 6-9 Months?!
Okay, now that I’ve explained some of the intricacies of fecal matter to ya’ll, let’s talk about the influencers who were telling people to throw out all their underwear every 6-9 months awhile back. The reason behind this is because of the misconception that microscopic fecal matter stays in the fabric’s fibers, thus accumulating more and more poop every wear and increasing risk of infection.
While scientists have found that there are trace amounts of fecal matter in clean undies, it is not enough to warrant burning your entire underwear drawer. Any harmful bacteria in those trace amounts can be eliminated by proper washing which entails using hot water and soap.
What if you don’t change your underwear?
If you don’t change your underwear, fecal matter, moisture, sweat, and urine molecules can accumulate and lead to itchiness, skin irritation and of course infection. All of these elements, as I’m sure you can imagine, can contribute to a pretty gnarly stench as well. So please, change your underwear regularly!
So when should you get new underwear?
You should ditch the old skivvies for some new ones when they are worn down, have irreparable holes, or become too tight. This is because underwear that’s too tight can create a seal and retain moisture which, as we’ve said, is a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria growth.
Buying New Underwear
When buying new underwear, you should look for pairs that fit snugly, but are not too tight. This means they are comfortable enough to not restrict your movement or leave those angry red marks from too-tight elastic. You can also be sure you have the proper size, by measuring yourself and choosing the size that closest fits your measurements. If you’re between sizes, be sure to size up rather than down.
The fabric should be breathable like cotton, bamboo, or hemp since moisture is basically enemy number one here. As far as the ideal number of pairs goes, the number floating around the internet is about 14 to 21 pairs, or 2 - 3 weeks worth. But, this number totally depends on your lifestyle and activity since so many different types of underwear styles exist for almost every situation or event.
That being said, you may have heard that thongs and g-strings are horrible for you, but this is only true if they are too tight or cause chafing which can be painful! As I’ve said above, excess moisture is terrible for your downstairs, so fabrics and styles that trap moisture will only cause you grief in the future. If you choose to wear more form-fitting styles, just be sure they fit correctly.
Upcycling Old Underwear
If you want, you can wash your old, worn underwear in super hot water and upcycle them into rags or cut them up into small strips to use as stuffing for pillows and other projects. Although this might be a bit awkward to explain if you gift the pillows to anyone, it’s a great way to make use of the old fabric rather than just throwing it away!
Underwear is a staple to most people’s wardrobes, but many don’t know the importance of wearing the proper size or changing them frequently. I thank you for joining me in this Magic School Bus episode of “Your Chones and You.” Now go change your underwear!