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How Often Should You Buy New Underwear?

Underwear etiquette rarely gets discussed over happy hour or in the cubicle on Monday morning. 

You may ask your coworker how meeting the in-laws went, or you may ask your friends about their latest love interests over drinks. But when you’re wondering how often you should buy new underwear, an internet search will likely be your go-to. 

How Often Should You Buy New Underwear?

An overhead view of an open drawer of perfectly folded underwear as well as fuzzy white slippers

Most experts recommend buying new underwear as often as every 6 to 12 months, however, there’s really no definitive answer as there are many factors to consider when determining your current underwear’s lifespan.

You may need to do a deep dive into your panty pile to uncover the truth, but once you’ve read the information below, you’ll know where you stand with your underwear quality, how many salvageable pairs remain, what type of underwear to buy, and how to take care of the pairs you purchase.

Signs Your Underwear is Past its Expiration Date

A hand holding up an old pair of underwear representing the signs you should look for when deciding how often you should buy new underwear

It’s not always easy to tell when your underwear is ready to retire. Unlike food with a clearly printed expiration date, that favorite pair of undies you own with the stretched-out waistband and the small holes have a way of feeling “still good” for one more month—and then another, and another. 

There are, however, some surefire ways to know when to pull the plug on your panties once and for all.


When you’re seeing holes in your underwear, it’s time to say goodbye. Holes can be frustrating because they may pop up six months after wearing a pair of underwear or within two weeks of purchase. Holes can happen from heavy wear, improper washing, or from low-quality fabric.


Similar to holes, tears in your underwear won’t give you a solid answer for the question, “how often should you buy new underwear?” Tears in underwear can happen unpredictably, but if your current underwear has tears from your pants, the wash, or flimsy fabric, it’s definitely time for an underwear upgrade.


When your underwear is stained, it’s a no-brainer that you need new ones. Keeping a pair of designated period panties is one thing, but stained underwear is an automatic, first-class ticket to the trash can. It may surprise you how much better some fresh pairs of drawers will make you feel!


Stretched-out underwear may be the easiest of these out-of-date characteristics to get away with. They’re only a little loose, and they’re still comfortable, right? Well, the best is yet to come. 

Your old stretched-out underwear is like sleeping on a metal spring mattress. New, fitted underwear is like sleeping on a luxury memory foam mattress.

What to Do With Old Underwear

A trash can, a needle with thread, a recycle sign, a teddy bear, and a hand cleaning with a rag all representing things to do with old underwear

Once you’ve accepted that some of your old underwear need replacement, you may wonder what to do with those old pairs that need to go. For health reasons, you can’t donate used underwear, but you have other options.

Throw Them Away

The easiest thing to do is throw your old underwear away. By sending old pairs to the trash, you can make room for new underwear. When your underwear is stained, has holes and tears, or is stretched out, there’s not much you can do but say sayonara. 

Make Rags

If you have trouble wasting your old clothing, you can throw away only the well-worn and stained pairs of underwear and recycle the ones that simply don’t deserve real estate on your bum. Old underwear can work well as cleaning rags!

Use Them as Stuffing

If you’re crafty and enjoy knitting or sewing pillows or stuffed animals, then you can use your old underwear as stuffing for your creations. This is a great way to recycle your clothing because the quality of the fabric used as stuffing won’t matter.

Patch Clothing

You can also salvage pieces of your old underwear and use the lesser-worn pieces as patches for other clothing. When your jeans or shirts have holes in them, simply sew on a patch of undies and your clothing will look good as new. You can enhance your clothing by adding uniquely patterned patches.


If your old underwear is made of natural fiber, then you can compost them! Natural fibers include cotton, wool, silk, and linen. Remove the elastic waistband of your underwear before composting.

How Many Times Can You Wear Underwear Before Washing It?

A man wearing blue jeans throwing a pile of underwear into a white wicker laundry basket in front of a white brick wall

You should only wear your underwear once before washing it. It may seem cumbersome to wash underwear every time you wear it, but doing so will keep you healthy and fresh. 

Washing underwear won’t seem like such a hassle when you have several pairs to spare. You can throw the pairs you’ve worn in the laundry basket and pick one day of the week to wash them all at once.

How to Find Good Quality Underwear

A black pair of Tommy John men’s underwear representing the best fabric and features of good quality underwear

Finding high quality underwear styles shouldn’t be like searching for buried treasure. When you know what to look for, you can find underwear for men or women that fit you well and are made of long-lasting material. You get what you pay for, so cheap underwear may get you more pairs, but those pairs may not be of good quality.


Good quality underwear should also be durable. Buying underwear that rips and tears easily likely means your underwear will wear out sooner. Even minor design details like the gusset in women's panties should be well made and durable.

When purchasing underwear, you shouldn’t settle on a pair that feels scratchy, rides up, or simply doesn’t fit. Our underwear size chart can ensure you look and feel good in a snug pair of skivvies. 

Fabric Quality and Durability

Good quality underwear should also be durable. Buying underwear that rips and tears easily likely means your underwear will wear out sooner. 

At Tommy John, we use comfortable and high-quality fabric when making underwear. All of our underwear is made out of machine-washable antimicrobial, quick-drying mesh and soft, non-pilling micro modal rayon that provides 360 degree-stretch.

How to Make Your Underwear Last Longer

A person’s arm pushing a pile of laundry into a modern and sleek looking washing machine

Once you’ve spoiled yourself by purchasing some new underwear, you should know how to take care of these good-quality garments. The best way to make your underwear last is to treat it well. 

Hand Wash

Hand washing your underwear can prevent wear and tear brought on by frequent wash cycles. You can wash a handful of your worn underwear in the sink by adding a drop of laundry detergent to cold water. Once complete, hang to air dry. 

Machine Wash on Delicate

If you don’t have time to hand wash your underwear every week, you can machine wash your underwear. Throw your underwear in a netted garment bag for protection, add detergent, and wash on the delicate cycle. Once complete, tumble dry on low.  

Bonus Tip: All Tommy John underwear is machine-washable, which makes for a no-fuss clean!

Underwear FAQs

A white couple sitting on the edge of a white bed with the man wearing white boxers and a white T-shirt as well as a women wearing black underwear and a black bra

How Many Pairs of Underwear Should I Have? 

There’s no minimum requirement for how many pairs of underwear you should own, but you should definitely have at least one pair for each day of the week so that you don’t have to do laundry each day. 

It’s also beneficial to have two pairs of underwear for each day so that you have a backup pair and a pair to switch into for the night or morning after a shower or a workout if necessary. 

If there’s any piece of clothing in your closet that you should have in excess, it’s underwear. 

How Much Should Underwear Cost?

The cost of underwear will vary depending on how well-made the underwear is. When you find underwear that seems durable, long-lasting, and comfortable, they may cost $20-40, but that one pair is worth three or four of the less expensive pairs. 

What Happens if You Don’t Change Underwear?

Not changing your underwear every day can have undesirable consequences for your health and your knickers. By changing into a fresh pair each day, you’ll avoid a trip to the doctor and prevent stretching, tears, and holes. 

So what’s the verdict? How often should you buy new underwear? It’s not as much about how often, but for what reason. Buy new underwear when your current underwear is ready to hit the road, when you need more quality pairs of underwear, or when you just feel like trying something new. Owning too many briefs is a good problem to have!