Can You Put Underwear in a Clothes Bank?

Textile recycling, a critical process that involves recovering and reprocessing fiber, yarn, or fabric into new and useful products, has gained significant traction in the United States. This approach effectively addresses the mounting issue of textile waste, which is categorized into pre-consumer and post-consumer waste and sorted into five distinct categories based on a pyramid model. However, when it comes to clothing donations, there’s an exception when it comes to underwear due to obvious sanitary concerns. Nonprofits that accept clothing donations typically recycle articles that aren’t reusable, but since underwear poses hygiene challenges, it’s usually not accepted.

Can You Donate Underwear to Clothing Banks?

When it comes to donating to clothing banks or thrift stores, there are certain items that are typically not accepted, such as underwear, bras, and socks. Organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army have specific guidelines in place, and these undergarments often fall outside of acceptable donation items due to hygiene concerns. However, just because these items cant be donated directly doesn’t mean they’ve to be discarded without considering other options.

If you find yourself unable to sell, donate, or repurpose your underwear, recycling is a great environmentally conscious alternative. There are specialized textile recycling programs and facilities that can handle these items properly. Recycling underwear helps prevent these garments from adding to landfill waste and contributes to sustainable practices.

Many textile recycling programs use state-of-the-art processes to break down undergarments and transform them into new materials. These materials can then be used in various industries, such as automotive, construction, or even for making new clothing items.

Some people turn old underwear into cleaning rags, while others find creative uses in arts and crafts projects. It’s always worth exploring ways to extend the life cycle of your undergarments before resorting to disposal.

How to Properly Recycle Underwear

To properly recycle underwear, it’s important to follow certain steps. Firstly, you should check if the material of your underwear is recyclable. Natural fibers like cotton or silk are more likely to be recycled than synthetic ones. Once you’ve determined the material, you should separate the elastic bands from the fabric. If the elastic is recyclable, it can be put in the appropriate recycling bin. For the fabric, thoroughly clean and sanitize it before recycling. This can be done by washing it with mild detergent and hot water. Once clean, dry the underwear completely. You can then take the fabric to a textile recycling center or inquire if your local recycling facility accepts fabric for recycling. Remember, recycling guidelines may vary depending on your location, so it’s essential to check with local authorities for specific instructions.

In addition to clothing items such as shirts, pants, jackets, suits, hats, belts, and ties, a clothes bank also accepts a range of other textiles. These include gloves, scarves, socks (even single ones), undergarments, handbags, and backpacks. Furthermore, household textiles like curtains, drapes, sheets, blankets, comforters, towels, table linens, throw rugs, pillows, and stuffed dolls and animals can also be donated to a clothes bank.

What Can You Put in a Clothes Bank?

Youd be surprised by the diverse range of items that can be donated to a clothes bank. Starting with clothing, you can contribute various attire such as shirts, pants, jackets, suits, hats, belts, ties, gloves, scarves, and socks (yes, even those lonely single ones that have lost their companions). Additionally, undergarments hold great value, so don’t hesitate to include them when making your donation. Key accessories like handbags and backpacks are equally welcomed, as they can greatly assist those in need.

Expanding beyond personal clothing, household textiles also find their place in a clothes bank. Donated items like curtains, drapes, sheets, blankets, comforters, and towels can be incredibly useful for families striving to create a comfortable living environment. Table linens add a touch of elegance to mealtimes, while throw rugs can provide warmth and coziness to bare floors. Furthermore, don’t overlook items such as pillows and stuffed dolls or animals, as they can bring comfort and joy to those who’ve little in the way of possessions.

By donating to a clothes bank, you not only help individuals in need but also contribute to the idea of sustainability. Reusing and recycling textiles reduces the strain on our environment. So, before considering discarding these items, remember that they can find new life and purpose in the hands of those less fortunate.


With the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of textile waste, organizations and nonprofits play a crucial role in accepting and recycling clothing donations. Nonetheless, the overall efforts towards textile recycling demonstrate a significant step towards sustainability and reducing waste in the fashion industry.