Doing laundry is something routine and everyday. It is possible that in most homes a washing machine is put on almost daily. But, how often do we wash the different clothes? And the inside? Is it the right one? Although it would seem obvious that proper hygiene habits should make us wash and change our underwear every day, not everyone does it.
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Several surveys confirm a difference between men and women when it comes to changing underwear. By most of these indicators, some men don't pay much attention to their underwear. The data from different surveys are similar: in one, one in five men does not change his underwear every day; in another British, men usually change it every two or three days.
Another survey conducted by an American underwear brand revealed that 13% of the people surveyed had worn their underwear for an entire week without changing it. Not changing clothes every day, can it be a problem? To what extent is it better not to do it? The answer is that it depends: on the person, their level of activity, the propensity to sweat and the intimate hygiene they maintain. All these factors are decisive.
Underwear is in direct contact with our skin and, above all, with certain intimate parts of the body. Therefore, it absorbs bacteria that, although most are not harmful, some can become so over time. Humidity and a warm environment favor the formation and multiplication of bacteria.
By clinging to clothing such as briefs or panties for more than two days, we are allowing everything from E. coli to the fungus Candida albicans, responsible for genital candidiasis, to accumulate. This could lead to urinary tract infections, rashes, and even allergies.
Although, as a general rule, these bacteria will not harm us because they belong to us, it is possible that inadequate hygiene and the non-elimination of these microorganisms entail some inconveniences, such as garments smelling bad after wearing them for a long time.
It's risky? No, it is not. For Philip M. Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs, this amount of bacteria, what is known as the natural flora of each person, is totally normal and helps fight potentially harmful external bacteria. However, it should be noted that any clothing that comes into contact with the groin area should be washed after each use.
Because in this area there is a higher concentration of bacteria and a much more welcoming environment for these microorganisms, thanks to the warm and humid conditions. In addition, more friction occurs when we move, which would increase the risk of pathogens being deposited on the skin. The main problem is whether during these days we have done some type of physical activity, we have sweated more than normal or if we have exceeded the days.
When your body temperature starts to rise after you exercise, your sweat glands release sweat onto your skin so it can evaporate and cool you down. But first, the sweat mixes with the bacteria that live naturally on the skin, and because these bacteria feed on moisture (among other things), this causes them to multiply.
In these cases, abundant microorganisms can develop and an unpleasant odor can be produced. The correct and most hygienic thing would be, therefore, to wash clothes between each use, especially sports clothes. Bras, on the other hand, do not need to be washed every day. These are more delicate garments that two or three times a week is enough.
What about the socks? Something similar happens with this garment than with underpants and panties because wearing them for days at a time can cause problems such as the development of athlete's foot, which can spread to other parts of the body.
How often to renew underwear
Another detail of the surveys: in 46% of people, underwear lasts a year or more, while 38% admit that they do not remember the last time they bought new underwear. We tend to buy new clothes when the ones we have are very worn.
But renewing the underwear drawer is also important because, over time, microbes can remain in the clothes that are not eliminated (washing clothes, if not done well, does not eliminate all bacteria).
How to wash underwear
Therefore, it is just as important to change your underwear every day as it is to wash it well. An investigation by experts from the University of Arizona on germs in washing machines blames underwear, which they describe as "the main culprit due to the presence of fecal matter and the different types of bacteria it can carry."
According to the study, an underwear washer can contain a significant amount of E.coli in the wash water that can spread to the next load of laundry. And it is that fecal matter can carry several different germs, including the hepatitis A virus, norovirus, rotavirus, Salmonella and E.coli.
To avoid this, garments such as socks, panties or underpants should be washed at a temperature of around 60ºC, which is what eliminates possible fungi and bacteria that do not disappear at cold or lower temperatures.
For other more delicate garments, such as lingerie, which do not withstand such high temperatures well, a disinfectant for laundry and liquid detergent can be used. It is important not to mix this type of clothing with other items such as kitchen towels.
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