Even though they’re probably the most commonly used item of clothing in your wardrobe, there’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding the topic of washing and cleaning your underwear. How often should you wash your underwear? Should you put your underwear in the washing machine? Should you air dry your underwear? We’ve dived deep into the internet to help you understand how to care for your underwear so they stay cleaner and last longer. Take a look at this underwear washing guide.
How do I Wash My Underwear?
It’s not a great idea to throw your delicate underwear (boxer briefs, boxers, briefs – you name it) along with all your other clothes. Premium underwear is usually made from delicate material to allow for enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking, which is very different from a rugged hoodie that can last a brutal wash and dry cycle.
Instead, we recommend a cold-water-wash or a hand-dry-wash for your undies. Let’s start with the cold wash to help you better understand why it’s usually the recommended method to clean and wash your underwear.
Why you Should Cold Wash your Underwear
- Cold water is fine for most clothes that you can put in the washing machine. It can remove stains from clothing and offers a similar level of cleanliness as washing in hot water. Granted, washing in hot water can be a better way to “sanitize”, but cold-washing should do the trick for cleaning your underwear.
- Delicate fabrics like silk, bamboo, Tencel and MicroModal do best in cold water. Hot water is just too harsh for these fabrics that are designed to be light on your nether regions. This is doubly true for darker fabrics like your blacks, dark greens, blues and so on. You’ll find that if you wash dark, delicate underwear in hot water, you might (a) lose some stretchiness, (b) lose some color or (c) the underwear won’t last as long, especially if you wash them often.
- Not every type of stain responds well to warmer water. For example, blood and sweat can set deeper into fabric in hot water. Your private areas tend to get a little sweaty, and maybe even a little bloody (we have no idea what you get up to), so cold water is the better option for stain removal from underwear.
- Cold washing underwear can reduce the risk of fading, wrinkling or damaging your underwear, meaning they’ll look better, last longer and you won’t have to keep investing in some brand spankin’ new undies every month.
- Lastly, cold washing your underwear might reduce your energy costs! About 75 - 90 percent of energy in washing machines goes to warming up the water, so switching to colder water can lower your gas or electric bill.
Why you Should Hand Wash your Underwear
It goes without saying that the washing machine is a pretty harsh environment. As clothes tumbles around in the washing machine, they rub together and the friction helps to clean away dirt and grime. But it’s possibly that your underwear and clothes may get some microscopic tears while tumbling around the drum. While you may not be able to see the microtears, they’ll build up over time until a visible tear or loose seam starts to develop.
Hand washing also uses less water than a big ol’ washing machine. Along with lowering your hydro costs, hand washing underwear is definitely lighter on the environment, meaning you can save your undies, your wallet and the environment all at once. Nice.
Obviously, hand washing is more tedious and time-consuming than cold washing your underwear. If you have the time and patience, we definitely suggest hand washing. Otherwise, cold washing underwear is the way to go.
Bottom line, don’t just chuck your underwear into the washing machine and wash them with hot water. It’ll bump up your energy costs, destroy your underwear and ultimately cost you more when you have to go buy some new pairs. Now as an underwear company, it may seem counterintuitive that we’re telling you how you can buy less underwear, but you deserve this information to preserve the life of your undies.
How do I Dry my Underwear?
Just like washing your underwear, there’s a few options to drying your underwear. Should you put your underwear in the dryer? Should you air dry your underwear? Should you put them in the microwave (don’t do this. Seriously).
Should I Put my Underwear in the Dryer?
If you ask anyone in the underwear business, they’ll tell you that the dryer is murder. It’ll cause some fading, loss of elasticity and heat damage that’ll drastically reduce the life of your underwear. But if you’re busy and want to get it done quickly, you can always throw them into the dryer on low heat. We call this “Tumble Dry Low”, which is ideal for some delicate fabrics. By keeping the heat low, you’ll reduce fading and heat damage.
Optimally, you don’t really want to put them in the dryer if your primary concern is preserving the quality, fit, color and feel of your underwear.
Should I Air Dry My Underwear?
Just like hand washing, air drying your underwear is a little more time consuming. But even though air drying takes a little longer, it’s worth it. By avoiding the heat and tumbling around the dryer drum, your underwear will definitely last longer and keep its color, fit and elasticity for longer.
However, a quick google search will show you that there’s a lot of confusion around air drying your clothes and underwear inside. “How to air dry clothes in an apartment? How long for clothes to air dry inside?”
To air dry, you can either set up a clothesline or simply air dry your clothes and underwear inside by draping them over a handrail. If you live in an apartment, you probably don’t have the luxury of setting up a clothesline in your back yard or hanging them over a handrail. Instead, you can just lay them out on your couch or bed. It’ll take a little longer since the entire surface area of the underwear isn’t exposed to the air, but it’s a good alternative. Depending on which method you decide to use, it could take a couple of hours to air dry your clothes inside.
How Often Should I Wash My Underwear?
This one’s pretty simple. You should wash your underwear after each wear. This is especially true if you live an active lifestyle. But at the same time, washing your underwear too often will fade the colors, damage the fabric and loosen the waistband.
The solution? Try to have a good amount of underwear ready to be deployed.
Think about it. If you have 7 pairs of underwear that you cycle through each week, you’ll have to wash them once a week. Each week, the colors will fade, the waistband will lose it’s shape and the fabric will start to tear. After a couple of weeks, you’ll have to buy 7 more pairs, and the cycle repeats. Lets also mention the fact that by doing laundry more often, your hydro and energy costs will go up.
Now imagine a world where you have 20 or more pairs of underwear. Overall, each pair will be washed less because you have a healthy supply of undies ready to be used. Rather than washing each pair once a week, you’ll probably wash them once every few weeks when your supply starts to run low. Using this method, you preserve the life of your underwear, save on energy costs and have to buy underwear less often. In essence, stock up on good quality underwear so you save money and time in the long run. Maybe buy 8 pairs at once. Maybe buy 16. Go crazy and buy 30 – who’s stopping you?
So...How Do I Wash and Clean My Underwear?
All in all, air drying is clearly the winner when it comes to preserving the fit, feel and color of your underwear. The only positive to throwing your underwear in the dryer is that it might take less time, so if you’re gonna go that route, just make sure to tumble dry low (AKA dry them on low heat).
So there you go. There’s a complete guide to washing and cleaning your underwear. Whether you’re looking to wash your favorite pair of boxer briefs, boxers or briefs, you should always try to expose your undies to as little heat as possible. To do that, we recommend hand washing your underwear (optimally) or cold washing them in the washing machine. Hand washing might save you some money on hydro, energy and replacement underwear costs, but it takes a little longer. If you’re short on time, throw those puppies in the washing machine and wash ‘em with cold water – never hot! Hot water destroys the fabric, fades colors and ruins the elasticity of the waistband.
Next, air dry your underwear. It’s more cost effective and will preserve the life of your underwear. Unlike washing, there’s really no toss-up here. The dryer will destroy your underwear, especially at high temperatures. If you’re set on using the dryer, just make sure to keep the temperature low.
Finally, wash your underwear as often as you change them. After each wear, follow the guide in this article to make sure you wash them properly while preserving their life. They’re your undies after all – they take good care of your privates and you should take care of them. Again, if you change your underwear often, we recommend stocking up and building a healthy-sized underwear drawer. That way, each pair is washed less often and lasts longer = save some money.
But the day will come where you’ll have to get some new underwear. It’s inevitable. Lucky for you, we’re not just a bottomless well of information about undies. We also sell some damn amazing men’s boxer briefs. Check ‘em out and stock up on some incredibly comfortable, premium boxer briefs (bonus: take 10% off at checkout with the code: WASH).