Underwear isn’t rocket science: You find a pair you like, you fork over a few bucks, and you wear ‘em for the next couple years.
Except your skivvies require a little more care than you give them. Here are five—yes, five—underwear mistakes you’re making, and the fix for each.
1. YOU RE-WEAR THEM BEFORE WASHING
Hey, here’s a fun stat: The average pair of dirty underwear contains between one-tenth and one full gram of feces, according to Philip Tierno, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology at New York University and author of The Secret Life of Germs.
Wash your underwear after each use on high heat, 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. YOU DRY THEM WRONG
The heat from your dryer takes the stretch out of elastic, leaving your underwear loose and baggy. Dry with a cool or delicate cycle instead of high heat to go easy on the fabric.
3. YOU BUY THE WRONG COLOR
Any kind of white clothing shows stains easily, including underwear. Opt for darker colors like navy, gray, and black; they take longer to fade, and you won’t have to replace them as frequently.
4. YOU BUY TIGHTY WHITIES
They’re outdated. If you like the comfort of the fit, try a cotton blend boxer brief instead; it’s just as cozy and much more flattering.
5. YOU BUY THE WRONG FABRIC
Before you buy another 6-pack of briefs, check the materials label. Regular cotton underwear is light and breathable—good for casual, day-to-day wear.
Steer clear of spandex, which traps sweat instead of wicking it. This can lead to infections and less-than-pleasant smells.