How to Wash Underwear to Kill Bacteria & Prevent Infection?

There are many clothes that we can use more than once after washing. But when it comes to underwear, you can’t use it again without washing it once. This is because underwear has to be worn on a part of our body where it is constantly exposed to harmful bacteria and viruses.

And long-term exposure to these harmful bacteria and viruses can lead to yeast infections and even urinary tract infections. But with a little effort and a good wash of underwear, you can easily avoid the terrible problems you want.

Because the way we usually wash underwear is not suitable for completely destroying bacteria. And research has shown that just under-washed underwear can contain a lot of bacteria right now. And in this part of the article, we will tell you how to keep your underwear clean and free from bacteria.

What Kind of Bacteria Can Be Found in Unwashed Underwear?

Unwashed underwear can house numerous types of bacteria. These include E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida species. These bacteria and yeasts, while often harmless in small amounts, can cause health problems when their populations grow unchecked due to insufficient or improper washing.

Elements to Kill Bacteria from Underwear

Use Underwear Soap

Underwear wash soap is very effective in removing germs and stains from underwear. It is completely different from regular soap and is most effective for removing stains, but there is an alternative to soap if your underwear or clothing is infected with too many germs. Anyway, if you are looking for the best laundry soap then laundry soap bar and stain-remover and Zote laundry soap bar stain-remover will be the best solution for you.

Use Underwear Sanitizer

First of all, let me remind you that detergents and sanitizers are not the same. Detergents are usually the most effective for removing stains from underwear or clothes and sanitizers are most effective in killing germs in clothing. Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive is the best sanitizer for you to remove or kill bacteria from your underwear.

This sanitizer can kill 99% of germs on your clothes and remove odors. This sanitizer is also the best for washing and disinfecting all types of clothes, underwear, and towels. Also using this sanitizer you can wash underwear or clothes nicely in both cold and hot water and also wash in all standard washing machines.

Use Bleach

We put Bleach last because it cleans the dress but it spoils the quality of the dress. Bleach is very effective in removing stains from clothes or destroying germs, but if not used properly, bleach can stain clothes and make the skin glow. So be sure to use the right amount of bleach and hand gloves to kill germs from the clothes when washing.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Properly Wash Your Underwear

How To Hand Wash Underwear To Kill Bacteria

Underwear requires special care during washing to ensure bacteria are thoroughly killed and the fabric isn’t damaged. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it right:

Pre-treatment Steps

Before tossing your underwear into the washing machine, check for any visible dirt or stains. Spot cleaning or using a mild stain remover can help in effectively eliminating these stains. Pre-treatment is crucial as it loosens up the stain or dirt, making it easier for the washing process to clean it completely.

Choosing the Right Detergent

The Role of Detergent in Bacteria Elimination 

The detergent you choose plays a significant role in killing bacteria. Detergents contain surfactants that dislodge bacteria from the fabric, allowing the water to flush them away. They also break down the lipid layer of some bacteria, leading to cell death.

Selecting a Suitable Detergent 

Opt for a gentle, hypoallergenic detergent that’s effective in killing bacteria. Sensitive skin can react to harsh detergents, and some could even damage the delicate fabric of your underwear. Remember, the goal is to eliminate bacteria, not to damage your underwear or skin.

Optimal Washing Temperature

Heat’s Role in Killing Bacteria 

Heat is one of the most effective ways to kill bacteria. High temperatures can denature bacterial proteins, disrupting their function and leading to cell death.

Choosing the Right Temperature 

While hot water is very effective in killing bacteria, it can damage some fabrics. Generally, a warm wash (around 40-60°C) is recommended to balance between killing bacteria and preserving the fabric. Always check the washing instructions on the underwear label.

The Importance of Rinsing

Why Rinsing is Essential 

Rinsing helps to remove the dislodged bacteria and residual detergent from the underwear. If left behind, these detergent residues can irritate your skin and cause discomfort.

Effective Rinsing Techniques 

Ensure your washing machine’s rinse cycle is functioning well. If hand washing, rinse the underwear until the water runs clear to be sure all detergent has been removed.

Correct Drying Methods

Drying and Bacteria Prevention 

Proper drying is just as important as washing for preventing bacterial growth. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, so any leftover dampness can be a potential breeding ground.

Effective Underwear Drying Techniques 

Air-drying underwear in the sun is an excellent way to kill any remaining bacteria as sunlight has natural disinfectant properties. If using a dryer, opt for a medium to high setting to ensure underwear is dried thoroughly.

How To Wash Underwear To Kill Yeast?

About 75% of women suffer from yeast infection at least once in their life and in some cases it happens more than once. And most of the time these yeast infections are caused by bacterial or fungal underwear. Another great way to stay away from yeast infections is to wear yeast infection preventable underwear.

Yeast-infected underwear must be washed separately, meaning it cannot be washed with any other underwear or clothing. If you want to wash in the machine, you can use hot water, it is effective in killing germs.

Soak the underwear for a while in water mixed with antiseptic sanitizer, bleach, or vinegar. However, if soaked for a long time, it can ruin the color. Then rub the underwear, wash it for a while and let it dry.

How To Wash Underwear To Prevent Infection

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Washing Your Underwear

Even with the best intentions, we can sometimes make mistakes that hinder our efforts to maintain underwear hygiene. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Overloading the Washing Machine 

When the washing machine is overloaded, there isn’t enough room for the clothes to move, and the detergent can’t distribute evenly. This leads to inadequate washing and bacteria removal. Always adhere to the recommended load size.

Using Excessive Detergent 

Too much detergent creates a lot of suds which can trap dirt and bacteria, preventing them from getting rinsed away. Follow the recommended detergent amount for each wash.

Insufficient Rinsing 

If underwear is not rinsed properly, detergent residues can irritate the skin and provide a substance for bacteria to feed on. Make sure your underwear is rinsed thoroughly.

Not Drying Properly 

As discussed, dampness is a hotbed for bacterial growth. Always ensure that your underwear is completely dry before storing it away.

Do All Bacteria Get Killed in the Washing Machine?

Most bacteria get killed during a proper washing process; however, some resistant strains can survive, especially if the water temperature isn’t high enough or the underwear isn’t dried completely. It’s essential to follow the right washing and drying methods as outlined in this article to ensure the most thorough elimination of bacteria possible.

The Role of Underwear Material in Bacteria Growth

Different materials have different propensities for bacterial growth. Understanding this can help you make informed decisions when choosing your underwear.

Cotton Underwear

Cotton is breathable and wicks away moisture, keeping the skin dry and less prone to bacterial growth. However, cotton can still harbor bacteria if not washed properly.

Synthetic Underwear 

Materials like polyester and nylon may retain moisture, creating a conducive environment for bacteria. However, these materials can withstand high-temperature washing, which can effectively kill bacteria.

Silk Underwear 

While silk has natural antimicrobial properties, it requires delicate handling. High heat can damage silk, making it difficult to kill bacteria via high-temperature washing.

The Importance of Regular Underwear Replacement

When to Replace Underwear 

Even with proper washing, underwear should be replaced regularly. Over time, fabric can become worn and thin, reducing its ability to prevent bacterial growth. A good rule of thumb is to replace underwear every 6-12 months.

Link Between Old Underwear and Increased Bacteria 

Older underwear can contain more microscopic fecal matter, which can lead to higher bacterial counts. Even minute amounts can lead to increased bacterial growth over time, despite regular washing.

How Can Good Washing Practices Prevent Infection?

Proper washing practices play a vital role in preventing infections. By eliminating the bacteria that cause these infections, you greatly reduce your risk of developing them.

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) 

Bacteria like E.coli, commonly found in the gut, can cause UTIs. Proper washing can remove these bacteria from your underwear, reducing the risk of UTIs.

Prevention of Yeast Infections 

Candida, a type of yeast, can lead to yeast infections when allowed to multiply unchecked. Good washing practices prevent this by keeping Candida counts in control.

Prevention of Skin Irritations and Infections 

Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of skin infections. Regular and thorough washing of your underwear can remove this bacterium, preventing potential skin problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should you wash underwear separately?

 A: Underwear should always be washed separately, and if the underwear is bacterially infected then it is a must. Underwear contains more germs than other clothes, so underwear must be washed separately.

Q: What temperature to wash underwear and socks?

 A: Coldwater (60° – 80° F) is the best laundry temperature to wash underwear and socks.

Q: What temperature should underwear be washed at to kill bacteria?

 A: Warm water should usually be used to kill bacteria in underwear, usually the water temperature should be 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Q: Should underwear be washed in hot water?

 A: Light warm water is perfect for washing underwear, but if your underwear is contaminated, it must be washed at a high temperature.

Q: What temperature should underwear be washed at to kill bacteria?

A: Clothes or underwear should be washed at least 140 F to kill germs, viruses, or bacteria from clothing or underwear. Then place in the dryer for 45 minutes.

Q: Does detergent kill bacteria?

A: Of course detergent can kill bacteria, to kill clothes viruses, bacteria, or germs you need to wash the clothes at least 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) with detergent.

Q: Does bleach kill bacteria?

A: Of course, bleach can kill bacteria, but if you want to use bleach to kill bacteria in clothes, use a certain amount.


Good personal hygiene extends beyond regular bathing and hand washing; it also involves appropriate care and maintenance of our clothing, particularly underwear. Washing underwear properly and regularly, choosing suitable underwear materials, and replacing underwear regularly are critical steps in preventing bacterial growth and potential infections.

Bacteria are part of our natural flora, but certain types, when allowed to multiply, can cause infections. As highlighted, maintaining good underwear hygiene is one way of ensuring these bacteria do not cross the threshold from harmless to harmful.

Lastly, remember that prevention is always better than cure. By adhering to the guidelines in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that you’re not only maintaining personal hygiene but also actively contributing to your overall health and wellbeing.

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I view underwear through a dual lens: as a psychologist and as someone who values fashion deeply. I've seen firsthand the profound impact the right (or wrong) underwear can have on one's self-perception and confidence. My mission here is to help everyone find that perfect pair that aligns with their emotions, comfort, and style.

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