How Often Should You Buy New Underwear?

How often should you buy new underwear? A man and woman stand outside, leaning against a railing and smiling at one another.

Alright folks, it’s time for a panty purge. If all the underwear in your possession is over a few months old, you may be due for a little undie refresh. How often should you buy new underwear? Well, the answer depends a lot on your individual lifestyle and preferences.

Most of us have an old pair of underwear or two that is very much past its prime but it still does the job so we keep it. If it’s been around for more than a year or two, it’s probably time for a fresh pair.

After all, you want your booty clad in something crisp and new in case you get an invite to an underwear party on national underwear day (ahem, or any other invite that involves stripping down to your skivvies).

So let’s get down to all the dirty details of replacing your underwear, including what to do with the pairs you’re ready to get rid of!


A woman in green underwear and a green bralette sitting on a bed beside many decorative pillows.

Before you ask how often should you buy new underwear, the first question you’ll want to ask is how many pairs of underwear should I own? The general answer is between 20 and 25 pairs. If you have a lot more than that, you should probably sift through for any pairs that are fraying or breaking and pairs that you haven’t touched in several months.

If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and your underwear drawer is a little bare, well then you’ve got a little panty shopping spree to look forward to!

The general idea is to buy underwear once a year, but this isn’t necessarily a one size fits all concept. If you have enough pairs of undies that are still in good condition, there isn’t always a need to buy more pairs. That being said, it’s good to know when your underwear is ready for retirement so let’s talk about how long should you keep underwear.


Infographic listing the common signs your undies are ready to be thrown away, such as stains, smell, and holes.
  • It has unwashable stains. When dealing with fabric that touches the nether zone, stains are sometimes inevitable and when they prove too persistent, it’s time to let the panties go. If frequent period stains are your problem, you might want to learn how to get blood out of underwear before you start getting rid of all your undies.
  • It stinks. Along with stains often come smells that you just can't get rid of. If you’re prone to a sweaty vagina (or genital sweat in general), you might find yourself needing to replace your undies more frequently.
  • It has holes and/or tears. Holding on to your ripped underwear is not an uncommon occurrence (be it for reasons of convenience, sentimentality, affordability, etc.). I recommend trying to mend holes or rips as soon as they appear if you want to stretch the life of your dying undies. 
  • It’s droopy and overstretched. Who wants a saggy butt? If your underwear no longer holds its shape and droops around your crotch and booty then it has probably been doing its job for too long. Limp elastic and faded colors are other signs that the underwear is starting to give up.
  • You don’t wear them. Many of us have a few pairs of panties we thought would work for us but they just don’t. There’s no reason for them to be taking up space in your life, especially not when it’s possible to donate clean, unworn pairs to those in need.


A topless woman stands in a desert full of wind turbines, wearing a pair of black underwear and holding a cowboy hat over her chest.

With around 92 million tons of textile waste already being produced each year, the one thing we don’t want to do with our old panties is to throw them in the trash. When asking how often should you replace your underwear, you should also be asking what should I do with the underwear I’m replacing. Here are a few sustainable solutions:


This one applies mostly to new, unworn underwear (because nobody wants to wear your old, grungy panties). There are many organizations out there that will take the clean and crisp underwear you aren’t making use of and distribute it to those who need it. Planet Aid is one such organization that accepts clothing of all kinds, including intimates. Their only stipulation is that everything has to be clean.


If you have a bunch of tattered and worn underwear, you definitely can’t donate it, but you also don’t have to condemn it to a landfill. There are several textile recycling programs out there and even a few specifically for underwear.


Get a little funky and creative with it! If your old undies are clean and unstained, you can use them to make accessories like a scrunchie! For underwear in more questionable conditions, try doing a little craft project like sewing clothes for a doll or stuffed animal. If your old underwear is made out of 100% natural fabrics, you can even cut it into scraps and use them for composting!


A person reclining on a blue blanket in green boy shorts, a black bra, and an unbuttoned white shirt.

Underwear shopping is not the most exciting thing so it can be quite easy to slip into a pattern of keeping your underwear for a little bit too long. While one expert claims that you should replace your underwear once a year, there isn’t a clear consensus on whether keeping your underwear for longer than that is particularly harmful to your health. This means that there isn’t a clear time frame for how often to replace underwear.

Simply wearing a pair of underwear that you’ve held on to for several years isn’t much of a health risk so long as the underwear is clean and in good condition. However, here are a couple of issues that you could encounter from keeping your underwear for too long:

  • Yeast Infections: Yeast infections and other bacterial infections could occur, especially if the underwear is made out of synthetic fabrics. Over time, if the fit is no longer correct, the underwear might start to seal in moisture which makes you susceptible to infections.
  • Skin Irritation: This is another issue that is more likely to occur with synthetic fabrics and especially when it comes to lingerie as it tends to be made with stiffer materials. If the seams are frayed or peeling, they may start to irritate your hips and thighs.


An infographic of a pair of black boxers on a green background, detailing four ways to make your underwear last longer.

Of course, the most sustainable and budget-friendly approach is knowing how to make your underwear serve you as long as it can. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Wear hemp underwear. Synthetic fabrics are the main culprit behind underwear fit issues. The solution? Hemp underwear, of course! Not only is it soft, breathable, and antibacterial, but it’s also the strongest and most durable natural fabric!
  • Hand wash and air dry. Learning how to hand wash underwear can be a game changer when it comes to caring for your undies. It is a much gentler process and air drying your underwear in the sun can also help kill any lingering bacteria.
  • Change your underwear daily. Wear a clean pair of underwear every day, please! I’ll admit I’ve stretched my undies for two days before and it never feels cute. Sometimes you have to do it but be sure to get those undies washed asap so that they don’t end up harboring any nasty bacteria.
  • Fix it yourself. Undies can be delicate garments but it’s important not to give up on them at the first sign of damage. Try treating stains at least twice before you deem them unwashable and mend any holes or tears as soon as they appear so that the rips don’t get bigger or multiply. 


A tattooed woman in black boy shorts and a black bralette leans against a black balcony railing with a cup in her hand.

Well, now that we’ve dug into all the details of how often to replace underwear, I’m going to flip the script back to you. What is your personal answer to how often should you replace underwear? Do you wait until you have no more functional pairs left or do you make a habit of updating your intimates drawer yearly? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

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