Your mom might have told you to always wear clean underwear in case you got into an accident, but what exactly do you consider to be clean? If you are in the ranks of nearly half of all Americans, wearing your undies for two or more days is perfectly acceptable, according to a survey by premium underwear brand Tommy John.
That’s not the only surprising finding from the study.
Are We Wearing Too Much Dirty Laundry?
The survey, which ran from July 12 to July 14, 2019, had no fewer than 1,000 responses. Tommy John asked participants two simple questions:
1. How old is the oldest piece of underwear you own?
2. What’s the longest you’ve gone without changing your underwear?
According to the results, 45% of Americans say they’ve worn their underwear two days or more. And 46% have owned the same pair of underwear for a year or longer.
The survey also found:
- Thirty-eight percent of those who responded didn’t know how long they’d owned their oldest undies. Another one-fifth had held on to their tighty-whities for more than four years.
- While just over half of people reportedly swap their skivvies on a daily basis, more than 13% have kept the same pair of underwear on for longer than one week.
- Men are 2.5 times likelier to wear their underwear for a week than women are (20% for men, 8% for women).
- Those in the 25-34 age range are prone to wearing the same pair the longest.
- Only 16% of respondents can say all their underwear is less than a year old.
“America could use an underwear overhaul,” the Tommy John blog noted about the results.
How Often Should You Change Your Underwear?
If you have been sweaty or experience issues such as frequent yeast infections, slipping into a fresh pair of undies at least once a day is imperative. However, some medical experts state that wearing the same undergarments for two days is generally safe.
“If you wash a load of just underwear, there will be about 100 million E. coli in the wash water,” Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona told ABC News, “and they can be transmitted to the next load of laundry.”
However, water that’s between 140 and 150 degrees can kill bacteria. Bleach or a color-safe detergent with peroxide are highly effective as well. Even UV rays can help in the sanitation process, so consider hanging your unmentionables out to dry.
As for replacing them, these experts say, there’s no reason to toss underwear as long as they’re falling down or full of holes. But if you find yourself running low before laundry day, go ahead and treat yourself to some new undies.
Better safe than sorry!