You don’t have to wash everything you own after only one use. The less you wash your clothes, the longer they’ll last.
More than a quarter of men and seven per cent of women wear underwear for two days before giving them for a wash, according to a Kelkoo survey. Those used pants contain microbes that can cause a range of diseases such as urinary tract infections, blood infections, pneumonia, as well as thrush and E-coli, the Mirror has reported.
Because of that, most sources do recommend washing your underwear after every use. This also means you need to have plenty of those (handy to have a Gay Pack subscription we say) and don’t forget to replace them every year.
But there’s a correct and an incorrect way to washing your underwear in the washing machine. Careless washing will wear out your underwear’s elasticity, colour, and durability.
Different kinds of underwear require different kinds of washing cycles, but here is a general outline of steps to follow, regardless of your underwear’s fabric.
- Read the garment care tag, which will indicate how your underwear should be washed. If your underwear has no garment care tag, sort your underwear according the categories listed in the second half of this article, and follow our specific suggestions for those categories. Some delicate underwear should only be washed by hand, and this will be indicated on the garment care tags.
- When it’s time to load the washing machine, turn your underwear inside out.
- Make sure you have the right kind of items in the same load as your underwear. You don’t want to include heavily soiled outerwear, rough fabrics like jeans, or garments with many studs and zippers. These can all damage your underwear during the cycle.
- Set the machine to the correct cycle and water temperature setting. Follow the garment care tag instructions.
- Choose a mild detergent that will be gentle on fabrics and skin, like Neutral 0%, and add the correct dose of laundry detergent according to the detergent instructions.
- When the cycle is finished, remove your washed clothes immediately to prevent any mildew growth or smell.
- Air-drying your underwear will greatly increase the longevity of your under-duds. High heat breaks down fabrics, and in some cases, downright destroys them—the elastic doesn’t even stand a chance. Hang-dry and, if necessary, throw them in for just a few minutes to get that just-out-of-the-dryer feel. You’ll save on electricity, too.
To make this a bit more complicated, there are a few things you need to consider materials-wise when you wash underwear. Luckily we got a handy guide:
Cotton Underwear — Separate into dark colours and white/light colours, and wash separately. Machine wash warm (not hot), and ideally hang dry. If you must, tumble dry at a low heat. Otherwise, hang dry in the shade.
Stretch Cotton Underwear — Follow the same suggestions for 100% cotton, but machine wash in cool to warm water.
Microfibre and Other Synthetic Fabrics — Any synthetic fabrics made of nylon, polyamide, and spandex are stretchy and quick-drying, but can melt in the heat. Wash in cold to warm water, on a basic cycle (or permanent press). Do not tumble-dry. Only air-dry in the shade.
Delicates: Lingerie, Sheer, or Mesh Undergarments — Again, you may be better off hand washing these items, especially anything silk or particularly lacy or frilly. If the garment care tags say it’s ok, machine wash only on the most delicate cycle. Zip up in a protective bag, and wash these in cold to warm water. Dry flat.
And finally… Manicure your briefs
Snip loose threads on your older underwear and use a fabric shaver to them will reduce pilling—a.k.a. annoying fuzz balls—and keep your shorts looking better, longer. Since underwear isn’t the cheapest necessity, this is something you can do and blame on the fiscal crisis, for sure.