When you are shopping for intimates such as bras, panties, and swimsuits, given the choice you would probably buy new. However, not everyone is well off enough that they can always buy the newest and best. A second-hand market exists for swimsuits, and this is an incredible way to get a steep discount on your swimwear.
However, a good deal should not come at the expense of your health, and naturally many people are concerned about whether buying and wearing used swimwear is safe. The most common concern has to do with hygiene, specifically if any bacteria, viruses, or STDs can be transferred. How much of the concerns are unfounded, and how much are legitimate threats?
For the most part, it is safe to buy and wear used swimsuits. This is a great way to save money, save the environment, and get the designer swimwear you dreamed of without paying the premium prices. As for risk of STDs, the chances are extremely low (but not zero). STDs don’t live for very long outside of the human body and would only be transmitted if you wore an infected swimsuit during the short window of time immediately after an infected individual wore it.
On top of that, there are many ways you can protect yourself even further such as by trying on the swimwear with your underwear on, disinfecting it thoroughly before you put it over your private parts, and only buying from a reputable thrift store with high standards.
Plus, if a swimsuit is stained or in a terrible condition, the thrift store you are purchasing from would not even have accepted it in the first place. For a private purchase, you can just use your common sense and not go through with the purchase if it’s clearly filthy, so this situation is a non-issue.
In this article, we will go over if it is okay to wear used swimsuits. We will cover the positives, the negatives, and most importantly, we want to provide you with the knowledge to make the most informed decision yourself.
Why should you buy used?
There are many impediments against buying used, one of which is the social stigma attached to it. There is a culture that looks down on thrifting because it is often seen as something that only poor people do. Thrifters are often portrayed as cheap, stingy, or a lower class of citizen.
Perhaps we can help to change that perception. First off, not everyone who thrifts is necessarily poor; thrifting could just be a way of life for frugal people. Ironically, some thrifters are very affluent because they saved so much money over the years finding good second hand deals.
For example, you wouldn’t bat an eye if someone admitted they bought their car second hand. In fact, you may even be envious hearing that they saved thousands of dollars by doing so. Technically, if you drive a car out of the dealership parking lot and suddenly decide to take it back, it is already worth significantly less than a brand new car despite practically being brand new itself.
Many swimsuits are the same, having only been worn one time before they are sold second hand or donated because they can no longer be refunded once soaked. A common reason is that the swimsuit doesn’t fit them well but wearing it into the water made it ineligible for a return. That is unfortunate for the person selling it to recoup some of their costs, but it works greatly in the buyer’s favor.
Furthermore, if social stigma is still a major concern, no one has to know that you’re wearing a used swimsuit. It’s up to you how to respond. You can answer candidly if you are asked directly, or you can avoid the question. But generally speaking, why would anyone immediately assume you’re wearing something used? It will probably never come up and you can just lie if it does.
Is there a risk of catching STDs?
At the end of the day, no amount of savings is enough if you can potentially catch STDs from wearing a used swimsuit. There is already a concern with regards to hygiene, and the risk of catching an STD is perhaps the mother of all nightmares for someone buying a used swimsuit.
So, is there a risk? The answer is yes, there is indeed a risk. BUT, the risk is very low because the organisms that cause infections tend not to live for very long outside of the body, often not more than a few hours.
However, it is possible that someone who has STIs recently tried on a swimsuit in the changing room and then put the swimsuit back on the rack. This can occur in regular retail stores, not just thrift stores by the way. That’s why you should never try on a swimsuit without your panties on; they act as a protective layer against viruses, bacteria, and other nasties.
Many swimsuits are donated to thrift stores and non-profit organizations and they will screen the swimsuits for tears and stains. By the time it goes to the shelves and reaches your hands, many days or weeks would have passed, allowing time for these infectious organisms to die. But, that is a moot point if people can try on the swimsuit in the changing room.
With that said, you can disinfect a swimsuit yourself after buying it, so there are protective steps in place that will make it unlikely that you will catch an STD by wearing a used swimsuit.
How to buy second hand swimsuits
Thrifting is not so different from shopping at a regular retail store, but the difference is you are getting everything at a bargain.
Once again, we highly recommend trying swimsuits with your panties on. This protective layer can keep infectious organisms from having direct contact with your lady bits.
By the way, a regular retail store suffers from many of the same problems as thrift stores do in terms of hygiene. People are able to try on swimsuits and then put them back as well, so don’t feel like thrift stores are somehow “ickier”.
Having common sense is basically the name of the game when thrifting. Only buy swimsuits that still appear to be in good condition. There should not be any stains or tears if the employees have done their job, but keep an eye out just in case some lower quality products slip through the cracks.
It doesn’t hurt to know the designer brands as well so that you can occasionally snag a sweet deal by buying a swimsuit that someone likely paid over $100 for, but you are paying a fraction of the price. It also helps against any social stigma if you are wearing a designer brand; no one will realize you actually got it at a thrift store.
How to disinfect second hand swimsuits
There is not really a special method to disinfect swimsuits other than the usual. For the uninformed, that means to hand wash your swimsuit using cold water. Fill a wash basin with cold water, add a small cap of laundry detergent and also a tablespoon or two of white vinegar.
Vinegar is a natural softener that also gets rid of any musty smells, leaving behind only a pleasant detergent smell. You can use it to get rid of the lingering smell of sweat and ash from your clothing as well.
Let the swimsuit soak in this solution for at least thirty minutes. Then gently scrub with your hands, making sure any sand or dirt is washed off.
Do NOT use bleach to disinfect your swimsuit. Bleach is a very harsh chemical and can damage the elastics in your bathing suit, as well as discolor it. Stick with laundry detergent and vinegar.
It is totally okay to wear used swimsuits. If you are concerned about hygiene, know that regular retail stores and thrift stores both have people trying it on and then putting it back on the rack. Always keep your panties on when trying on a swimsuit. When you bring it home, the first thing you should do is disinfect it, whether you bought new or used.
As you can see, the buying process for new and used swimsuits is nearly identical. The main difference is that you are getting a bargain buying used, whereas you are paying a premium buying new (unless you’re buying it at the end of summer). It’s up to you to decide if you want to stick to buying new, or you want to give thrifting a try.
Considering that buying new has much of the same risks in terms of hygiene, you can’t really go wrong buying second hand swimsuits. Just make sure you thoroughly disinfect it before wearing it. Even if you are dissatisfied with your purchase, at least you got it for cheap, unlike the poor girl who bought it brand new.