Is It Safe to Wear Second Hand Underwear?

Is it safe to wear second-hand underwear? This question may have crossed your mind while contemplating purchasing pre-owned undergarments. The thought of wearing someone else's intimate apparel can undoubtedly feel unsettling, but rest assured, your concerns can be put to rest.

Is It OK to Wear Someone Else’s Washed Underwear?

Jennifer Gunter, an OB-GYN, told NBC News.

When it comes to wearing someone elses washed underwear, hygiene is the key factor. As long as the underwear has been properly laundered, the risk of any harmful bacteria or infection is extremely low. Washing the underwear with hot water and using detergent will effectively kill any microbes that may be present.

Furthermore, the fabric of the underwear also plays a role in determining it’s safety. Synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester are less likely to retain bacteria compared to natural fibers like cotton. Opting for underwear made from moisture-wicking or antimicrobial fabric can provide an extra layer of protection against potential health risks.

However, it’s important to note that personal comfort and preferences should also be taken into account. Some individuals may simply find it uncomfortable or unappealing to wear someone elses underwear, regardless of it’s cleanliness. In such cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to choose not to wear used undergarments and stick to purchasing new ones.

The Environmental Impact of Reusing Washed Underwear vs. Buying New Ones

When considering the environmental impact of reusing washed underwear versus buying new ones, there are a few factors to consider. Reusing washed underwear can have positive environmental benefits as it reduces the demand for new materials and decreases manufacturing and transportation emissions associated with producing new ones. Additionally, washing and reusing underwear can help conserve water and reduce the amount of waste generated compared to purchasing new ones. However, it’s important to note that reusing underwear should involve proper hygiene practices to avoid potential health risks.

There are concerns surrounding the potential transmission of diseases through second-hand clothing. Unwashed items may carry harmful microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, putting the wearers at risk of various infections. Skin conditions like dermatitis, scabies, and fungal diseases can potentially be transmitted through worn, unwashed second-hand clothes.

Can Second-Hand Clothes Transmit Disease?

There’s a growing concern about the potential transmission of diseases through second-hand clothes. It isn’t uncommon for people to purchase or receive previously owned garments without thinking much about the possible health risks.

One of the main concerns is the transmission of bacterial infections. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, can survive on fabrics for extended periods of time. These bacteria may cause skin infections and even more serious conditions if they come into contact with open wounds or mucous membranes. Therefore, wearing unwashed second-hand clothes increases the risk of acquiring bacterial infections.

Fungi are another group of microorganisms that can thrive on second-hand garments. Conditions like dermatophytosis, commonly known as ringworm, can be transmitted through contact with infected clothing. Fungal spores can survive on fabrics and can cause skin and nail infections. Individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to fungal infections that may be acquired through the use of second-hand clothes.

Parasites also have the potential to be transmitted through second-hand clothing. Scabies, for example, is an infestation caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites can survive on fabrics for several days, allowing the transmission of scabies through sharing or wearing infested clothes. Other parasitic infections, such as lice, can also be spread through second-hand garments that haven’t been properly cleaned.

While viruses don’t survive as long on fabrics compared to bacteria or fungi, there’s still a risk of transmission. For instance, certain viruses that cause respiratory infections, like the common cold or influenza, can potentially be transferred through contaminated clothing, particularly if it’s worn by someone who’s actively infected.

Source: Thrifting and Diseases

Additionally, sharing personal items like bras can also increase the risk of spreading germs, bacteria, or viruses, particularly in sensitive areas such as the genital region. This is why it’s important to exercise caution when considering wearing second-hand undergarments and prioritize hygiene to protect our health.

Is It Okay to Wear Second-Hand Bra?

According to dermatologists, wearing second-hand pants and bras may not be the best idea. These intimate garments have direct contact with our skin, making them susceptible to carrying bacteria and other pathogens from the previous owner. Dr. Adeife-Cole warns that this can lead to various health issues such as fungal infections, mite infestations, and even the presence of lice.

One of the most common concerns when it comes to wearing second-hand bras is the risk of developing vulval or vulvovaginal candidiasis. This condition occurs when the natural balance of yeast and bacteria in the vaginal area is disrupted, leading to itching, discharge, and discomfort. The introduction of any foreign bacteria or fungi from a pre-owned bra can potentially trigger this imbalance and cause an infection.

In addition, both men and women can be affected by other skin conditions resulting from second-hand intimates. Scabies, caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin, can be contracted from sharing bras or pants. This infestation can lead to severe itching, blisters, and a rash. Similarly, tinea cruris, commonly known as jock itch, can also be transmitted through contaminated garments. This fungal infection typically affects the groin area and causes red, itchy, and inflamed skin.

But there’s more to it than just the repulsive odor. Sharing underwear or clothes with your partner may seem like an intimate gesture, but it can potentially put your health at risk. The exchange of bacteria could lead to various infections and discomfort. So, before you consider borrowing your partner’s undergarments, it’s worth delving into the potential risks involved.

Is Sharing Underwear Safe?

Sharing underwear with your partner may seem like a romantic gesture, but it’s important to consider the potential risks involved. This practice becomes even more concerning when considering the presence of bodily fluids and the potential for infectious diseases.

Underwear that’s shared may carry microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. These organisms can survive on fabric for extended periods, especially in warm and moist environments.

One of the concerns with sharing underwear is the risk of bacterial vaginosis. This condition occurs when the balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

Moreover, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also be transmitted through sharing underwear. Certain STIs, such as herpes, can live on fabric surfaces and remain contagious for a considerable period.

Additionally, wearing someone elses underwear can also lead to other skin-related issues. For instance, if the underwear is too tight or doesn’t fit properly, it can cause irritation and discomfort. This can be even more problematic if the fabric isn’t breathable, as it can create a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria and fungi.

By doing so, you risk exposing yourself to harmful bacteria, infections, and even STIs. It’s always advisable to maintain personal hygiene and avoid sharing intimate garments or clothing with others to ensure your well-being.

Additionally, second-hand clothes may not always meet your specific preferences or style, limiting your options when it comes to fashion choices. Furthermore, the quality of second-hand items may not always be up to par, as they may have undergone wear and tear over time. This could result in a shorter lifespan for the clothing, requiring you to replace them sooner than anticipated.

What Are the Disadvantages of Second-Hand Clothes?

Another disadvantage of second-hand clothes is the lack of personalization. When purchasing brand-new items, you’ve the opportunity to choose the color, style, and size that best suit your preferences and body shape. However, when buying second-hand, you’re often limited to what’s available, and it may not always match your unique taste or fit perfectly.

Furthermore, there’s a potential for hygiene issues with second-hand clothes. Although many thrift stores and online platforms thoroughly inspect and clean their inventory, there’s still a possibility of lingering odors, stains, or even pests that may be present in the used clothing. This can be a major drawback for individuals sensitive to allergens or those who prioritize cleanliness.

In addition, the limited availability and unpredictability of finding desired second-hand items can be a significant disadvantage. Unlike retail stores, second-hand shops often have a limited selection of items, which may not necessarily align with your specific needs or wants. This can lead to disappointment and a considerable time investment searching for the desired piece in the second-hand market.

Limited Availability of Specific Items: Finding Specific or Unique Items May Be Challenging in the Second-Hand Market. If You Have a Specific Clothing Item in Mind, It May Be Harder to Find It Second-Hand Compared to Buying It New.

  • Finding specific or unique items may be challenging in the second-hand market.
  • If you’ve a specific clothing item in mind, it may be harder to find it second-hand compared to buying it new.


Although a matter of personal preference, as long as proper hygiene practices are maintained and the garments are thoroughly cleansed before wearing, there’s no significant risk involved. The opinions of experts confirm that wearing previously owned undergarments poses no harm as long as the material is adequately cleaned and sanitized. Ultimately, the decision rests with the individual, but from a safety perspective, used underwear can be worn without any major concerns.