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This Is How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Underwear

Turns out, the answer depends on who you ask.

Deciding how often to change your underwear isn't exactly something that comes up in conversation—which could be why people report such vastly different approaches. While most people change their skivvies every day, one recent hygiene survey found that 13 percent of Americans have worn the same pair for over a week at a time (spoiler: this is not the correct answer). And while it's a bit of a taboo topic, there are important health implications for getting it right: after all, your sensitive nether regions are at stake. So how often should you change your underwear? Turns out, the answer depends on who you ask. Read on for a range of expert perspectives, and for more on this hygiene habit, check out What Happens When You Don't Change Your Underwear.

Every Day


underwear drawer

The general rule of thumb for how often you change your underwear is once per day. Michael Reitano, MD, recently told Bustle that changing your undies daily helps you avoid a buildup of bacteria, sweat, and moisture, all of which can lead to infection or skin irritation in your more sensitive regions. And when you're ready to start fresh with a few new pairs, check out The Best Underwear for Your Body Type.

Every Other Day


 dirty socks on the floor

If you ask the American people, every other day is perfectly fine, thank you very much. According to Today, 45 percent of 2,000 people polled admitted that this was their average rate of change. But is this method healthy? Philip M. Tierno, Ph.D., clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University, told Today that changing your underwear every other day probably won't cause any harm. "Generally speaking, it's not going to hurt you as much as your hygiene may hurt your reputation," he said.

Whenever You Shower


Feet in shower, closeup of floor and drain.

According to Tierno, all people have naturally-occurring microorganisms in and on their bodies called a microbial flora, which over time can cause odors in clothes we've worn too long. Fortunately, these microbes are generally beneficial to us, their hosts, and don't cause any issues unless you really go too long between washing. "Since they are your bacteria, unless you have a break in the skin or another conduit of entry into the body they won't do you harm," Tierno said. For this reason, you can use external cues to tell you when it's time to switch your undies. If you need a shower or if your garments start to smell at all, it's definitely time for a swap. And for more hygiene tips, This Is How Often You Should Really Be Showering, Doctors Say.

Twice Per Day


laundry basket with dark background

If you work out or do other strenuous activity during the day, it makes sense to change your underwear more frequently. Board-certified ob-gyn Pari Ghodsi, MD, recently told Glamour, "You should ideally change as soon as possible after working out in tight fitting clothing." Women in particular can experience Intertrigo, an abundance of yeast in their groin area that can result in a rash. This is typically caused by moisture and friction, and can be made worse if you wear the same sweaty underwear after your work out.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more