I have a few quirks when it comes to how I deal with germy things. I refuse to keep my toothbrush in the bathroom because I’m convinced that microscopic bits of poop will get on it from people flushing. I get checked for STDs way more often than necessary. I’m suspicious of water that smells funny, even if it came out of a filtered tap.
This brings me to a new hygiene paranoia I recently developed that I simply must share. Like that moldy thing you find in the back of the fridge that smells so putrid that you force your roommate to smell it too, I feel like I must share this story.
Today I went to the ladies’ underthings store with the pink striped bags. I had a $10 off coupon, so I snatched up three of the 3 for $30 underpants I love so much, the ones that make the bottom half of your ass hang out and have lace around the edges. They do nice things to my butt.
I was at the register getting my wallet out as the sales girl folded the goodies into crepe paper when she suddenly looked startled and revolted. Trying to keep a facade of calm, she asked me, “Did you try any of these on?”
“No,” I responded, confused.
She asked me if I could grab another one of the same pair. Finally the lightbulb in my head went off, and I got what she was so delicately not saying. Someone had left a slug trail of vagina juice in the underpants.
I’ve always been taught that it was against store rules to try on any underwear or bathing suit bottom without wearing something between you and the not-yet-purchased item. Like the nerd I am, I’ve always followed that rule. Now I realize that plenty of people don’t.
As the sales girl handed me my bag, she looked me dead in the eye and said, “Always wash underwear before you wear it. ALWAYS.”
I was horrified. Clearly this expert in the underwear and dressing room world knew that visible slug trails weren’t the only nasty thing that could be lurking on my undies. I pictured roaches or bedbugs crawling across my fancy new underthings as they sat in a warehouse or the back of the store. Maybe a less-juicy stranger tried on these pairs without anything between her and what are now my undies. What if someone rubbed a microscopic bit of poop onto them that was breeding some horrible bacteria? What other invisible germs could be lurking in there, just waiting to leap onto my lady bits?
The point of this story is that now I will add “washing new underwear and bathing suits before wearing” to my list of crazy germ quirks. Now, because I felt the need to share my gross story, I bet some of you will, too.
17 replies on “Wash Before You Wear!”
Haha, did I miss something? Since when is this a ~crazy germaphobe quirk~ and not, like, common sense? Maybe it’s because I’ve been working in clothing retail stores for so long, but washing anything that may have touched someone else’s genitalia (or nipples, for that matter) just sounds like common sense to me…
I don’t wash other kinds of clothes, though, although my mother does. Despite having OCD, I’m not really fussed about germs, I guess. If it’s not in contact with my junk, I’m cool.
I had a friend in college who did not believe in wearing underwear….Let’s just say she felt this way even when shopping for new clothes…People can be gross. Beware.
I once found a pubic hair on a new pair of underwear. So, yeah, this is good advice. Ironically, I almost always buy sealed packs of boy shorts, but this time, I decided to treat myself to pretty underwear. Yeah… pretty gross.
I always feel like I should wash everything before wearing it, but I rarely do because I’m too excited to wear it and laundry in my apt. is too expensive to add an extra load to my week unnecessarily. Frankly, I get kinda skeeved even trying on clothes in stores and I worry about bed bugs all the time. When I shop secondhand, I just eyeball the fit and keep things sealed up until they’ve been thoroughly washed.
As a former employee of the store with the pink striped bags, the cashier speaks the truth! Oh the stories I could tell.
I worked there back when there was a very lax return policy (no time limit or receipt necessary. People would blatantly return underwear that had obviously been worn for months if not years. The policy for finding “stained” underwear was to put on latex gloves, spray the item with a strong antibacterial spray and place it in a bio-hazard bag. I do not miss that job.
Bio-hazard bag! this image just made me laugh so hard. I’m now picturing a VS employee wearing an entire (pink) hazmat suit. But yeah, thats seriously messed up that people return used underwear.
When I worked in the clothing department of Zellers, I once had to deal with menstrual blood in a pair of underpants that someone had tried on then left on the floor of the change room. People are gross.
Finally, something that makes me feel better about my imminently non-sexy 6-packs of Lady Hanes.
Seriously! I know my size and I actually like my boy-briefs so I get the glue-sealed packs.
Ah! Scarred for life! I am the opposite of a germaphone (is there an opposite?), but this really skeezed me out.
I’ve always washed underwear before I wear it. I thought everyone did! And like BaseballChica, I know people who wash everything before they wear it. I guess I can see why, but generally my anxiety to WEAR THE PRETTY NEW THING means it gets thrown on as soon as I get home.
Ahh, I know exactly what you’re talking about. A little part of me is always worried that once washed, New Wonderful Garment will be only a garment, and therefore not as fun.
But yes, I can definitely see the rationale. And perhaps will launder ALL clothes previous to wearing.
I wash everything before wearing. It does take some of that “new clothes” shine off because a lot of manufacturers actually treat garments to make them softer and/or shinier in the store. However, I can live with less shine and, more importantly, less stranger-germs.
Ditto. I just thought that was common practice and I am not a germaphobe.
The Mister washes everything before he wears it. EVERYTHING. Sometimes before trying it on first, which has led to some wasted clothes.
That sales woman knows more than she’s letting on. I can’t even imagine the tales she could tell.
So, today, I ordered a pizza for lunch, because I’m working from home and I thought, oh, someone else cooking for me would be nice.
I’m gonna go throw that pizza up now.
Oh my God! This made me laugh AND cringe. Also it made me glad that, even as a non-germaphobe, I’ve always washed undies and bathing suits before wearing. Ugh.