How to Choose the Most Sustainable Underwear

Naman Bajaj
March 6, 2024

Good or bad, underwear can truly make (or ruin) your day. The next time you restock your underwear drawer, choose a pair that’s good for your bum and the planet. Here’s a guide that can make this easier for you:

How to maintain the underwear you already have

If you find underwear that fits you well, you'll probably want to extend its lifespan. This not only saves you money and time spent on buying new pairs but also reduces landfill waste.

To maintain your underwear's elasticity and color, wash it in cold water using a gentle cycle. Choose to air-dry your underwear, as the high heat from the dryer can damage the elastic and cause shrinkage. If you can't air dry, use your dryer on a no-heat setting. Avoid ironing them, as heat can damage the elasticity and distort their shape.

After drying, neatly roll and store your underwear. Overcrowding them in a drawer can lead to unnecessary stretching. To minimize wear and tear, regularly rotate between different pairs.

When your underwear is worn out, consider recycling them responsibly. Most donation centers, thrift stores, and consignment shops don't accept donated used underwear due to hygiene concerns. Although brands like Subset have underwear recycling programs, few brands currently do this.

What to look for when buying a new pair of sustainable underwear

When buying a new pair of underwear, look into what you have been using till now and how well they have stood the test of washing and wear and tear.

Opt for the ones that have reinforced stitching, strong elastics, and high-quality fabrics. They are more likely to withstand frequent wear and washing. Avoid underwear with loose stitching or loose threads.

Consider the intended use of the underwear when making your choice. Cotton is a good go-to for everyday softness and comfort. But you may want to choose synthetic underwear for workouts, hiking, backpacking, or camping, as cotton underwear absorbs moisture but doesn't dry as quickly.

Try on underwear before buying, if possible. You can do this by wearing an existing pair of underwear underneath.

Choosing a sustainable underwear brand

Greenwashing claims like eco-friendly and green can incentivize people, making it difficult to avoid them. To avoid that, you can check for the certifications that the brand has.

Brands like Mighty Good Basics and PACT commit to ethical manufacturing by maintaining an environmentally conscious production process and are Fair Trade certified as well.

Others like Woron and A-dam use GOTS certified organic cotton and are limiting the amount of chemicals, water, and wastewater used in production.

Another good measure is to check for the materials used by brands. Brands like Boody and HARA are using materials like organic bamboo and naturally-dyed colors to be more planet-friendly.


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Commons team hiking
Naman Bajaj
March 6, 2024


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