1 in 4 Men Only Wash Their Underwear This Much, Survey Says

A quarter of men are getting a startling number of wears from one pair, survey finds.

After the year that we've all been through, it's understandable that a few of us may have let our standards slip a little. But while we may be reconsidering sweatpants as workwear and calculating how sustainable takeout seven days a week really is, for some of us, the problems are even more deep-seated: A recent survey on hygiene found that a full quarter of men admitted to only washing their underwear after every five washes.

The 2020 survey was conducted by U.K. furniture company Hammonds, and assessed the laundry habits of 2,000 people in the country. Firstly, the good news: 80 percent of respondents washed their underwear after a single use. But among those who were less attentive, it seems that men are the worst offenders: While 25 percent of men wash their underwear after every five washes, 13 percent of women could say the same. Even worse, 10 percent of men say they clean their underwear after every 10 washes, compared to just 3 percent of women.

The key thing to know about "dirty" clothes is that though your garments might look like they're fine for another day's use, there are germs brewing that you can't see. Scientists at Procter & Gamble advise that 70 percent of the soiling on your clothes is invisible from dead skin cells, bodily oils, and sweat. The experts at Healthline point out that 83 percent of "clean" underwear contains up to 10,000 bacteria. Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, has calculated that "if you wash a load of just underwear, there will be about 100 million E. coli in the wash water, and they can be transmitted to the next load of laundry."

So the important takeaway here is that we should be washing, or at least changing, our items of clothing more often than it seems we do—otherwise we're harboring a lot of germs with us all day, every day.

If you need more motivation to start doing the wash more, the Hammonds survey also asked respondents which household and clothing items they washed the least. Read on to see the top 12 things people only wash once a year… and prepare to be disturbed!

12
Hoodies

Portrait of a disgusted young bearded man wearing hoodie
Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 13 percent

11
Hats

closeup of man holding black baseball hat
Taradee / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 14 percent

10
Trousers

Selective focus image of dirty trousers on the floor
Amri Sueb / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 14 percent

9
Jumpers

Portrait of young woman pulling her sweater over head and smelling it
Cookie Studio / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 15 percent

8
Suits

a man button up blazer getting ready
iStock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 17 percent

7
Jeans

Jeans in washing machine
Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 18 percent

6
Gloves

Closeup of person clapping winter gloves together as snow falls from them
Mitja Mithans / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 25 percent

5
Scarves

Closeup of woman holding woolen scarf with hands over nose
Rido / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 28 percent

4
Bedsheets

blue bedsheets in washer
Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 30 percent

3
Cushion covers

colorful pillow covers
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 33 percent

2
Blankets

Luxury Blanket scarves stacked up
iStock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 36 percent

1
Coats

Colorful coats, jackets, and hoodies hanging in closet
inchic / Shutterstock

Percentage of people who wash it once a year: 38 percent

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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