Gross! Half Of Gymgoers Reuse Their Sweaty Workout Underwear

MADRID, Spain — After a sweaty workout, all that dirty underwear goes right in the laundry basket, right? Right?! Apparently not, according to the results of a new survey on exercise and post-workout hygiene. It turns out that only 53 percent of respondents wash their sports underwear after each trip to the gym.

The gross findings reveal that nearly half of the 2,000 people surveyed in the United Kingdom pick up those sweaty sports bras and underpants again and put them right back on for their next workout! In fact, one in five people wear the same underwear to the gym two or three times before washing them.

Another one in nine (11%) stretch those sweat-covered undergarments for four to six trips to the gym before washing. Six percent (who may need to reconsider their life choices) admit they wear the same underwear during their workouts for seven trips or more.

The poll, commissioned by Live Football Tickets, also found that men are slightly more likely to get a few more wears out of their underwear than women. Specifically, 24 percent of men get two to three wears in before washing, compared to 16 percent of women. Another 12 percent of men wear the same sweaty clothing up to six times before washing them, compared to nine percent of women.

How many times gymgoers wear sports underwear (bra/pants) before washing

How many times do you wear your sports underwear (bra/pants) before washing them?

Percentage response



2-3 times


4-6 times


7 or more times


So, when do people finally wave the white flag (or the tighty-whities) and give their workout underwear a good washing? Over half (55%) say the smell is their deciding factor. Meanwhile, only 46 percent say their fear of germs and bacteria plays a role in people’s washing decisions.

The poll found similarly unhygienic results when it comes to washing gym towels. One in three people (36%) admit they don’t wash their towels after each use. Twelve percent only wash their gym towel once a week.

How often respondents wash their gym towels after the gym

How often do you wash your gym towels? (response)

Percentage response

After each use


Once a week


2-3 times a week


4-6 times a week


Every 2-3 weeks


Once a month





It might be disgusting, but how much harm could it really cause to wear your gym underwear again? Well, a separate report discovered that your local gym may be one of the most “germified” places you ever enter. In fact, researchers found gym equipment harbors more germs than many toilet seats, with 70 percent of these strains being harmful to human health. gathered bacteria samples from 27 different pieces of workout equipment at three different gyms to find out how many germs you might encounter on your typical treadmill, exercise bike, or free weights. It turned out that these machines were all teeming with germs, with more than one million per square inch on each.

To put that in perspective, researchers compared the bacteria levels from this gym equipment to the number of germs typically found on everyday items. The average exercise bike harbors 39 times more bacteria than a cafeteria tray. The average free weight carries 362 times more germs than a toilet seat! Treadmills average 74 times more bacteria than a typical public bathroom faucet. Perhaps you should trade in your sweaty underwear for the hazmat suit!

The team at Live Football Tickets did provide some advice on how to keep your gymwear in top condition:

  1. If you are going to rewear your sweaty underwear again, make sure to hang it up to dry between uses to limit the growth of bacteria.
  2. Always wash underwear after each wear to prevent fecal germs from spreading, as well as socks to prevent fungal infections.
  3. Wash your gym towel and any workout clothes separately from your other laundry to prevent cross-contamination.
  4. The odor-building bacteria will build up on the inside of your workout gear, so washing inside out will give it a more thorough clean.
  5. Use a detergent that’s specifically formulated to handle tough sweat marks and odors.
  6. Ensure your washing machine is clean by regularly disinfecting it to avoid transferring bacteria to your gym wear, and avoid fabric softeners.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Think if the people who normally answer surveys and then think of the other people who hate to be bothered by some goofball asking questions and will lie just to screw with the outcome. If someone asked me, I’d tell them it was none of their business or that I never switch out…depending on my mood that day.

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