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Breathing new life into old underwear

By Starfoxy

Everyone in the world seems to have heard that Mormons wear magic underwear. While many members may not find the underwear to be all that magical a good number of us wear them anyways. We also wear them out.

When I first received my own set the Temple matron instructed me about the proper treatment of my new Garments. She also counseled me on the proper disposal of garments. She said that, without the symbols, it’s all just cloth, and that once the symbols are removed then the rest of the fabric can be used for whatever you want. And what a lot of fabric it is.

The first set, I industriously used as rags. I still have most of those rags, and will probably get several years worth of use out of them. So when you have rags coming out your ears, what do you with the enormous pile of slightly dingy white cotton-poly? I’ll share two things I’ve done with it.

Handkerchiefs-  I cut the leg parts of the bottoms into squares with pinking sheers. I use these squares of fabric instead of tissues. I have quite a formidable stack of them by now, and every new one is welcome (the bigger the stack the longer you can use between washings). It’s softer on the skin than tissues, cheaper, and less wasteful. As long as one is careful to wash them thoroughly it’s no more gross than regular tissues. And if one is really gross, I can still just throw it away.

The second thing is a little more labor intensive. I cut the seamless tops into long strips (tutorial here) which I then knit or crochet into bath-mats and area rugs. It is almost worth the work of learning to knit/crochet just to make these things. They are so lovely to stand on, and with a few old colored t-shirts from your closet or thrift stores they can be rather nice looking as well.

Even if you can’t knit and don’t want to learn the strips of fabric are good for other uses as well such as tying delicate plants in the garden, or braiding into thicker rope for more sturdy plants.

So what do you do with your unwearable unmentionables?


Starfoxy is a fulltime caretaker for her two children.

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16 Responses

  1. Jana says:

    I’ve made rugs from plastic grocery bags in the same way that you do them with your g’s. Talk about durable!!

    We do the rag or cloth napkin thing with our old undies. It seems a great use of all that fabric.

  2. Alisa says:

    Looks like I need to learn to knit or crochet (I’m always dying for something to keep my hands busy at church – do you think anyone would notice the material came from garments?). This could work for DH’s set.

    Any advise for reusing dry silk? I just dispose of the symbols and throw the rest out.

  3. Vesper Holly says:

    OK, I don’t mean to be rude, but as someone whose underwear has never been considered holy when mine get holey I chuck them out. I would never think to reuse them in some industrious way. Doesn’t the mere fact that it is underwear make it a little on the nasty side? I know you can wash them but I doubt they really ever get very clean. If you can get them clean enough to blow your nose on I would like to know how – I have some white shirts with underarm stains that I would love to get clean.

  4. Starfoxy says:

    Vesper- I don’t know how much you know about LDS Garments, but they cover much more area than regular brief underwear. The top part is very similar to an undershirt, and the bottoms are like mens jockey shorts coming down near the knee.
    I toss the parts that get yucky (crotch and armpits), but that still leaves quite a bit of fabric that is still good for something. Reusing the legs and the lower parts of the shirts is just like repurposing regular shirts and shorts.

  5. Bro. Jones says:

    My wife once heard from a Relief Society sister that she recycled old garment fabric into stuffing for a baby blanket. Call us nuts, but that creeps us the %*!% out.

    On the other hand, Starfoxy, your ideas seem thrifty and cool. 🙂 But count us in as folks who just chuck our old gs.

  6. G says:

    I love your crafty self 🙂
    I used mine as rags in my studio (for cleaning brushes).
    (but they weren’t cut up nearly so nicely in such uniform squares…)

  7. LucySophia says:

    Oh sisters, I laughed outloud at the suggestion to crochet usd g’s. I bring my crochet to church every Sunday and love the idea of crocheting g’s although I don’t know of I could say out loud what the material is that I’m using. Can you imagine the what people would think? It makes me smile just to think of it and I reaaly do need new g’s. I tend to wear mine until they are dingy and threadbare so maybe this is the time to put a new
    “spin” on them. Thank you for a new definition of thrifty!

  8. Moniker Challenged says:

    Wow. I appear to be the only one amongst you that was taught that gs were a deadly secret, and that after removal of the marks the remainder of the material was to be chopped into unrecognizable pieces and then either given a Darth Vader funeral or buried in the back yard in mason jars next to Muffy the tabby cat. This this seems a little more useful.

  9. Vesper Holly says:

    Starfoxy – Most of my family wears garments but I remain unendowed. I would hope that you don’t use the really dirty areas but since you wear them under your clothes it would seem that they would be hotter and sweatier than your outer clothing. It is also a thinner fabric isn’t it? I might be wrong (I often am) but it still seems a little on the yucky side to me. I am intrigued by the idea that they may be perceived as less dirty than regular underwear because they are considered sacred.

  10. Brooke says:

    I am totally inspired to repurpose old shirts. Thanks, Starfoxy!

  11. Kaimi says:

    One re-fashion idea which you may want to avoid with G’s: http://foryourentertainment.blogspot.com/2007/10/redneck-sports-bra.html

  12. Glenn Smith says:

    No matter what you do with the left over fabric, please remove and burn the markings.
    Even those who discard the used garment, please first burn the markings. OR burn the whole top/bottom.

  13. JohnW says:

    Kaimi: I disagree. That’s awesome! 🙂

  14. Gwen says:

    What great ideas! The temple matron who instructed me on garments never told me that bit about being able to reuse the cloth. I have just been cutting out the symbols and chucking them. I’ll reuse the cloth next time,

  15. Kelly Ann says:

    Thanks for such an eco-friendly post!

    I am still debating what to do with mine. They are sitting in a box in my closet …

  16. kellie dayton says:

    Is this really something we need to discuss? Come on ladies. Handling the garments should be done in a sacred manner. How about the way we talk about them? Do as you please, but keep it to yourselves.

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