Used underwear for sale: How buying lingerie on the cheap may pose a health risk

Would you buy used underwear to save some money? Some people are doing it.

You're used to seeing used clothing like pants, tops, skirts, dresses and all sorts of other stuff for sale. But what about used undergarments like underwear, bras, even lingerie?

It got us thinking after one of our producers spotted a Facebook post advertising lingerie that was “barely used.” The big question we had: Are there any health risks?

We asked Dr. Megan Wasson with the Department of Medical and Surgical Gynecology at Mayo Clinic.

“It’s not something I would personally want to use,” she said.

Personal feelings aside, she said “technically if you clean the lingerie and clean it with a high temperature water, a lot of soap, you aren't going to have any health risks with it.”

But if the undergarments are not washed – there is a risk.

“Scabies, pubic lice, that would still be on any potential lingerie and that's why it's important to clean it prior to potentially wearing that material,” Dr. Wasson said.

It’s not just online where people sell their used unmentionables. An NBC investigation a few years ago uncovered some major retail chains were reselling returned underwear.

Bottom line, you're perfectly fine and safe to wear used undergarments.

“As long as you cleanse that material, there shouldn't be any risk with wearing it yourself,” Dr. Wasson said. “However, if you have concerns about what people are potentially doing in the clothing, then obviously that's a personal decision to be made.”

New or used, Dr. Wasson says any time you buy anything someone else may have worn or tried on, you should really wash it before you wear it.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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