You Might Be Washing Your Underwear Totally Wrong

Whether you know it or not, there is much to consider where our unmentionables are concerned. Proper fit and safe material are both important things to be aware of when it's time to restock. There is, however, another serious concern regarding your undies that you may have not considered before: washing.

It may seem that how you launder your panties is a no-brainer, especially if you are diligent about washing them after each use, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. According to Well+Good, it can be bad news for your vaginal and anal health when underwear is not washed properly.

As the day progresses, your underwear accumulates a variety of excretions, including vaginal discharge, urine, and feces (especially when wearing a thong). Well+Good shares that the moist area, along with the collection of fluids in your panties, can harbor bacteria, yeast, and fungi, which isn't necessarily eliminated with regular washing.

Wash your underwear to kill bacteria

A study published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal in 2019 suggests that some bacteria are not killed off in a regular wash cycle. With all the accumulated substances in your panties or your boxers, it's critical for your derriere's health to launder them with hot water. Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona, told Readers Digest that a hot cycle of 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the best way to eliminate harmful bacteria. He goes on to say that a cold wash cycle is "designed to get clothing clean but not eliminate microorganisms."

Dr. Gerba also mentions that using a detergent with bleach can help with sanitizing if you choose a cold water wash over a hot one. Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Lucky Sekhon told Well+Good that you can iron your underwear after washing and drying for extra assurance that bacteria have been eliminated.

It's also wise to consider the kind of detergent used when washing your underwear, as The Healthy reports that harsh fragrances and other chemicals can cause unwanted reactions. "Some women are more sensitive than others but on the whole, scented tampons and strong detergents can cause itching and irritation or even a burning feeling," Dr. Jennifer Wider, women's health expert, told The Healthy. Stick with hypoallergenic or "free and clear" labeled detergents, especially if you have sensitive skin.