How Often Should I Change My Underwear?

How often should I change my underwear? What do the experts say about it?

The age old question... 

This is a very important topic for vagina-owners and unfortunately, helpful and accurate answers get muddled between opinions and personal experience. It's tough to know what's best for YOU when everyone has varying lifestyles and different memories of "health class." SO, we flagged a few of our favorite helpful articles and interviews with OBGYNs about changing your underwear, and super-summarized the 411 below:

So then, when do I need to change my underwear?

Plain and Simple: Change your underwear when they are wet. 

Depending on your lifestyle, the number of necessary swap-outs will go up and down, but the bottom line is this: sitting in wet underwear can lead to a list of issues you just don't want to roll the dice on; including but not limited to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, skin irritations, UTI's, etc. Wet underwear is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, and changing your underwear will help you avoid these nightmares all together. Daily vaginal discharge, sweat, urine leaks, and menstruation are all causes of wet underwear and it's good to be mindful of when these leaks occur! Tight clothing and hair removal habits can up the ante under wet circumstances, so always take that into account too. (Open hair follicles are little entrances for bacteria to walk right into and tight pants will just sandwich it all into place.) Changing out of your wet swimsuit as soon as you can is also recommended!

But wait - what if I've got my leaks covered, don't have a lot of discharge, and don't sweat that much?

In this case, the expert advice is to at least change into a fresh pair every morning, and if you wear undies to bed, put on a a fresh pair at night. And rock on!

Can't I just wear panty liners every day and just change them when they get wet?

Well, yes you can, BUT it's a very unsustainable habit and daily liner use can lead to vulva irritation, as well as increase chances for bacteria growth. Pads and liners are not compostable, nor recyclable and 12+ billion of them end up in US landfills every year. WOAh. (We've got a whole blog post dedicated to sustainability coming up!)

And one more question... discharge, sweat, periods, and pee leaks are all super normal human things - why does underwear changing need to be so complicated?

Great question! IT DOESN'T. Our society doesn't really accommodate the need to change your undies, unless you have lots of space and time to do it. And we've noticed that when a need isn't normalized, it makes those with that need feel like a lonely weirdo. That's the gist of why we're here: to tell you it's super normal to want or need to change your undies, and to give you an underwear option that makes it simple and sustainable. 

Swtch underwear has super pliable, flat, and smooth "velcro"-like fasteners integrated into each side of the underwear so that you can remove and replace your undies without having to strip off your shoes and pants first. (AKA quickly and easily!) Since active people rank highest with the need to swap throughout the day, we designed our sustainable underwear to have moisture-wicking materials, a sporty fit, and foam-roller friendly fasteners.

Our side-fastening underwear is also inherently adaptive underwear, meaning they are super helpful for folks with disabilities, or for those in physical recovery. Our customers who are wheelchair-users find that the fasteners are easy to use and the underwear stays comfortable all day. We will talk more about adaptive underwear and adaptive clothing in a blog post coming soon!

Still need more info? Check out these articles below:

'I'm a Gyno, and Here Are 3 Sure-Fire Signs That It's Time To Change Your Underwear' by Zoe Weiner

How Bad Is It To Sit In Your Sweaty Underwear After Working Out by Korin Miller

How Often Should You Change Your Underwear Anyway? by Molly Longman