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Underwear Care: How to Keep Your Underwear Looking New and Fresh


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Underwear care is super-easy when you know what to do and what to avoid doing.

Check out the video below to see how I care for all my socks, T-shirts, undershirts, and boxer shorts.

Undergarments are in direct contact with your body all day, picking up oils, dead skin cells, odours, and—yes—stains. I always wash all my underwear, such as socks, T-shirts, undershirts, and boxer shorts, after one day’s wear.

Frequent laundering of underwear is essential for good hygiene and comfort, and for keeping your underwear looking new and fresh.

But here’s the thing:

You want to get the washing done as easily as possible.

Here’s my tips on how to get the best results in the minimum time when laundering your underwear.

Underwear Laundering Basics

Warm water is better at removing oils, stains, and odours trapped in fabric, so wash all your underwear in a regular warm wash.

A warm wash is gentler on colours and elastic fibres than a hot wash is while being more effective than a cold wash is.

Hot wash > 60 C or 130 F
Warm wash = 40 C or 105 F
Cold wash < 30 C or 80 F

underwear care warm wash setting

Separate laundry into two different loads: whites and dark colours.

Underwear Care separate colours

This is a good idea for two reasons.

First, separating your wash prevents colour bleeding, which is when the dyes from darker garments stain your white or light-coloured clothes.

Second, separating colours lets you use different detergents for whites and colours.

Underwear Care white and dark detergent

You can also use oxygen-based bleach for white clothes, which isn’t smart to use on coloured clothes.

Underwear Care oxygen bleach

White Underwear Care

Here’s how to do your white wash.

Step 1: Machine Setting

Set the machine to 40 C, or 105 F.

Step 2: Choosing Detergent

Use a detergent formulated for white clothes, which usually contains bleach and whitening or brightening agents.

Step 3: Getting Rid of Stains

Since underwear stains easily—including the armpits of T-shirts—use extra oxygen-based bleach. This effectively treats stains while being more environmentally friendly than chlorine bleach.

Step 4: No Fabric Softener

Never use fabric softener, as it’s known to ruin stretch fabrics and can cause yellowing over time.

Coloured and Dark Underwear Care

Here’s how to handle your dark wash.

Step 1: Machine Setting

Set the machine to 40 C, or 105 F.

Step 2: Choosing Detergent

Use a regular detergent or one specifically formulated to prevent fading of colours.

Step 3: No Fabric Softener or Bleach on Dark Clothes

It’s important to note that you should use neither bleach nor fabric softener when washing dark clothes.

Tips on Drying Your Underwear

Instead of using a tumble dryer, which can both shrink your clothes and ruin stretch fibres, let clothes drip-dry on a clothes rack.

Before hanging T-shirts and socks to dry, give each item a quick shake to get rid of most wrinkles.

You can also offset the shrinkage caused in the wash by giving T-shirts, undershirts, and socks a light pull lengthwise.

Underwear Care stretching clothes


So those are my tips for underwear care. I simply separate my things into two loads: one white and one coloured.

I wash both loads on a warm 40 C, or 105 F, cycle.

I use detergent for white clothes, plus bleach for white underwear. I use colour detergent only for coloured underwear.

If you’re only going to use one type of detergent for every load, be sure the product is for coloured clothes. Using a detergent for whites on darker clothes will pull the colour out of the garments.

I never use fabric softener, and I prefer to drip-dry my underwear instead of tumble-drying it.

I also give my T-shirts, undershirts, and socks a light pull to reverse the shrinkage caused during washing.

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