If you’re reading this, it may be time to wash your drawers.
A frankly horrifying study conducted by the clothing brand Tommy John finds that nearly half of all Americans don’t change their underwear every day. Forty-five percent of respondents told the company that they commonly wear the same pair two or more (!!) days in a row.
If you haven’t lost your lunch yet, more than one in 10 (13 percent) claimed they sometimes keep their undergarments on for a whole week without putting them through the rinse cycle.
The findings showed that dudes were the biggest offenders when it came to flouting the norms of sartorial hygiene: Men were 2.5 times more likely than women to say they wear the same pair of underwear for seven whole days without putting it through the rinse cycle. The study doesn’t appear to have polled nonbinary folks or other individuals who identify as neither male nor female.
Tommy John took the occasion to issue a reminder to please — for the love of all things good and holy — clean up down there. The company cited a 2017 study from the magazine Good Housekeeping which found that “clean underwear can contain up to 10,000 living bacteria, even after being washed.”
“Over time, underwear accumulates various types of problematic microorganisms and fungal germs that can increase your susceptibility to certain illnesses, like yeast infections and urinary tract infections, among others,” the brand said.
Not washing your underwear can also cause skin issues and acne outbreaks, but in extreme cases, the issue can be life-threatening. Two years ago, Vice magazine reported that recycling one’s undergarments can result in staph infections, which can “get dangerous if not treated properly.”
“In rare incidents, staph can be deadly if it's ignored, although it's usually cleared up with antibiotics,” the publication claimed.
Luckily, Tommy John provided some helpful guidance for everyone who doesn’t want to take an outside chance on maybe possibly dying of a staph infection just because they didn’t go to the laundromat. (Note: If you don’t have the extra change, start hang drying your clothes.) The brand advises to wash your underwear separately from other clothing items and “tumble dry… on low heat for 30 minutes.”
In addition, underwear wearers (which is basically everyone, I hope?) shouldn’t mix their undergarments with those of their significant others, people who are sick, or anyone who has a bacterial infection.
You can read the entire survey here. After you finish doing so, put in a fresh load. For everyone’s sake.