What’s wrong with used knickers?

Photograph of purple knickers discarded in an Enmore laneway

A pair of purple women’s knickers lies discarded in a laneway in Enmore, Sydney. “There you go,” I say. “Give ’em a wash and you’re right!”

“Ewwww!” is the reply. But why? If the knickers are washed, then they’re clean. Can there possibly be anything worse on these “found” knickers that isn’t already in, say, a 3-year-old’s poo-filled pants — which likewise get washed and worn again? In with the rest of your washing, no less!

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26 comments

  1. Quatrefoil’s avatar

    There’s a bit of a difference between washing and reusing one’s own knickers and someone else’s. But the argument holds true for hankies – I don’t understand why people think hankies are disgusting when they’re prepared to reuse their own underwear.

  2. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Quatrefoil: But what is the difference? Dirty cloth goes through washing machine with chemicals, becomes clean cloth.

  3. Quatrefoil’s avatar

    Well, yes, in theory. I have to say that with my elderly washing machine I’m not convinced that the effect is a as total as it might be. But rationality aside, I’m willing to wear second hand clothing (and frequently do), but underwear is different, because, as everyone knows, you can get pregnant from toilet seats, so surely you’re going to get some raging STD from found undies.

    That said, I might make an exception if they were really nice undies. Silk for example. But I might need to disinfect them in the microwave after I’d washed them, and when my friend did that (with her own underwear) she ended up with charred ruins.

    And I have given very slightly used underwear away to close personal friends, but only after asking them if they were ok with the concept first.

    1. G’s avatar

      That statement it completely unjustified and untrue. No human being can get pregnant from a toilet seat that is just about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. The chances of getting an STD from wearing someone elses underwear is very slim. An STD is still a living organism that requires very specific conditions to live just as sperm. If any bodily fluids leave the body they will only survive for a few min. So buy the time someone took off their undies and handed them to you and by the time you put them on yourself I would say at least 80 to 90% of all STD or bodily fluids would be dead. So if your a kinky person and like to wear other peoples dirty undies than as long as you wait lets say to be on the safe side around 15 min after the person wearing them takes them off you should be just fine. whoever wrote the statement above needs to get educated before they open their mouth again. I’m an EMT-P with a B.A. in para-medicine.

    2. Stilgherrian’s avatar

      @G: Wonderful information, but did you consider for a moment that Quatrefoil might have been… joking? And what brought you to this post today? I’m curious. It’s two and a half years old!

    3. Stilgherrian’s avatar

      @Quatrefoil: These friends who have your used underwear… can I have their phone numbers…?

      Actually, I know one young guy who makes a reasonable profit selling his once-used underwear on eBay. Maybe that’s a story for another time.

    4. Quatrefoil’s avatar

      Well, if you know someone with a kink for Target cotton underwear of the kind worn by the no-longer-young, traditionally-built woman …

      1. navyknicks3’s avatar

        Well I have always liked the thrill of wearing used cotton knickers esp. the older type full cotton, or the old type school cotton knickers. There is something very exciting about wearing somebody elses knickers!

      2. Stilgherrian’s avatar

        @navyknicks3: Having started this whole discussion, it would be hypocritical of me to label any comment “too much information”. But I am tempted sometimes.

      3. Stilgherrian’s avatar

        @Quatrefoil: You know when you get that feeling that you never should have started a particular conversation topic…? I think I’m having it now.

      4. Cassie ST’s avatar

        Well, considering the creative displays you blokes seem to make of said items during bucks nights, Xmas parties etc. …. you’d think there’d be no problem with the idea of wearing properly washed, found underwear.

      5. 'Pong’s avatar

        C’mon for the sake of entertainment

      6. Stilgherrian’s avatar

        At the risk of extending this discussion even further, the knickers in question are still in the laneway — though a little less pristine after a fortnight exposed to the weather. Should I get another photograph?

      7. 'Pong’s avatar

        Why not, I say.

      8. Cassie ST’s avatar

        Only if you’re wearing them on your head ….

      9. 'Pong’s avatar

        There you go. Here the idea of your portrait. 😉

      10. angela burke’s avatar

        How do you know those abandoned knickers belonged to a woman?

      11. Stilgherrian’s avatar

        @angela burke: You’re right. The knickers are “women’s knickers”, because they’re shaped for female hips and have the kind of lacy edging which men’s knickers generally don’t. However I have no way of telling who owned this knickers.

        I own them now. Maybe that makes them men’s knickers?

      12. David Bates’s avatar

        I never wear used underwear until I sterilize it in a pit of fire first. The fire gets rid of any bed bugs or other insects that might be living in the underwear. Unfortunately, the skivvies seldom survive the fire, either.

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