Should you wash socks and underwear separately?

Should you wash socks and underwear separately
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Of all the parts of the human body, the feet  has the most exposure to contaminants and diseases. The pubic region, on the other hand, is one of the most sensitive region of the human body. This puts socks and underwears at opposite end of the “security” spectrum.

So, should you wash them together or seperately?

Socks and underwear are both likely to have many bacteria. However, washing them together will cause bacteria from the socks to spread to the underwear. This will introduce harmful germs to the human reproductive region, potentially causing infections.

This is a case of security. Bacteria from the underwear is likely to cause less harm to the human feet.

In fact, for those in third world countries, it is not unusual to find excrement attached to your shoes at the end of a busy day.

But this seldom result in illness or infections of any sort. You simply brush it off.

However reverse the role and allow bacteria pickup by shoes and socks all through the day, to get to your underwear and in turn your private region,  and we’ll be discussing a different story.

Laundering does not kill all germs

Should you wash socks and underwear separately

But you might reason, “we’re talking of washing them together. Isn’t that supposed to kill all the germs on both items?”

I’m sorry, but the answer is a NO. 

Laundering have the potential to kill bacterial and microbes, but not all microbes.

Many bacteria die when exposed to water temperature of 60 degrees celsius and above. Not all do so.

And although washing with soaps help to remove microbes from cloth fabrics, it doesn’t kill them.

So there is always an open possibility that there are some surviving bacteria and other microbes on your newly washed, clean laundry.

Also talking about hot water, the temperature needed to kill bacteria in lingeries, will likely kill your underwear fabrics, first.

So most underwear are washed with cold or warm water. 

For the record, laundry water is considered warm when it is 30 degrees or below.

This temperature is not enough to kill most microbes. 

So there is a slim possibility that your lingeries are thoroughly disinfected after wash. 

If you add this to the possibility of adding further bacteria to the surviving ones still in your underwear, you know we’re dealing with a potential emergency.

The endangered specie here, is the underwear. So what we’re trying to protect is the underwear and not the socks. 

What to do if you need to wash both

As a starter, let’s point the fact that some people don’t care about washing socks and underwear separately. They wash everthing together, even soiled mechanic suit and nurse’s apron. They simply don’t care!

We’re not talking about them!

However, if you need to wash both your socks and underwear, and you don’t want to put them together in the washer, you have an option.

First, I will not advice washing just a few bras and lingeries in the washing machine by themselves. This can result in tub/drum imbalance, which, in turn, causes excessive vibrations.

But its better to wash your socks along with your other clothes.

Then wash your underwears separately, with hands if possible.

This is because, as mentioned earlier, underwear need different water temperature compared to other clothes.

In fact many persons advice against washing your underwear together with the rest of your clothes.

But you can freely wash your socks together with them.

So for hygiene sake, and to protect delicate underwear fabrics, it is better to wash them separately, and with hands when feasible.

How to wash socks with other clothes

Why Do socks Disappear In The Washing Machine

There no special techniques to use when washing socks with other clothes.

But there is a word of caution: watchout for socks swallowing washing machines.

This is discussed in another article. You can read it up here.

But the caution is to protect your socks from getting lost in the wash.

A couple techniques will help to prevent this problem:

  1. Use a laundry net
  2. Tie the socks end-to-end.

Always make it a habit to wash small garments in a laundry net. This will keep all your items together, and not lost in the pile of washed clothes.

Tying them together will make them larger and easy to find in the mix.

Also there is less chance that it will be washed down the washer’s drain.

Lets talk a little money

By the way, if you need to replace your present set of underwear and socks, I recommend a these dealers.

But this is not the purpose of this article, 

…so back to the point.


Socks and underwear are personal properties. And each person will decide how to go abou washing them.

But remembering the few cons will help you to make the right decision.

Washing your undies separately from your socks might result in a little inconvenience, but the benefits are worth every sweat dropped.

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