Navigating the etiquette of donating undergarments can be tricky. While your instinct might be to contribute all unused items, including underwear, it’s important to consider the guidelines and restrictions of the organizations you’re supporting. So, let’s explore the question: Does Goodwill take underwear donations?

Goodwill’s Policy on Underwear Donations

Goodwill Industries International, a widely recognized nonprofit organization, focuses on selling donated items to fund job training and other community-based programs. However, due to sanitary reasons, Goodwill does not accept new or used underwear donations.

Why the Restriction?

The restriction is in place to maintain a sanitary and respectful environment. Used underwear can carry bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms, which could pose health risks. It’s also a matter of dignity. Recipients of donated clothing are often in vulnerable situations, and providing used underwear could be seen as disrespectful or embarrassing.

New Underwear: Exceptions to the Rule

Although Goodwill doesn’t accept used underwear, they will typically accept donations of new underwear that is still in its original packaging. This provides an opportunity for those who have surplus new, unopened underwear.

Guidelines for Donating New Underwear

When donating new underwear, ensure it’s still in its original packaging and hasn’t been worn. Items should be free from defects and in excellent condition. Always check with your local Goodwill store or their official website to verify their donation guidelines, as some branches might have more specific rules.

Alternatives to Goodwill

If you have used underwear in good condition or new underwear out of its packaging that you want to donate, there are alternatives to Goodwill.

Homeless Shelters

Some homeless shelters accept donations of gently used underwear, provided they are clean and in good condition. It’s essential to call ahead to verify their donation guidelines.

Women’s Shelters

Women’s shelters often have needs for new or gently used bras and new underwear. Many women arrive at these shelters with few personal belongings, and these items can be a great help. As always, it’s crucial to contact the shelter first to confirm their donation policy.

Underwear-Specific Charities

There are also several charities, like The Undies Project and Underwearness, that focus specifically on providing new underwear for those in need. They accept donations of new underwear in all sizes, for both genders.

Upcycling and Recycling

If donation isn’t an option but you want to avoid contributing to landfill waste, consider upcycling or recycling.


Underwear can be upcycled into cleaning rags or used for craft projects. This is an excellent way to extend the life of your old underwear while reducing waste.

Textile Recycling

Textile recycling companies will take your old underwear, shred it, and transform it into industrial rags or stuffing for car seats and other items.

The Bottom Line: Conscious Donations

While Goodwill does not accept used underwear, they generally take new underwear still in its original packaging. However, it’s always recommended to check the donation guidelines of your local Goodwill branch.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to donate used or opened new underwear, consider alternative organizations such as homeless shelters, women’s shelters, or underwear-specific charities. Remember, the goal of donating is not just to get rid of unwanted items but to help those in need while respecting their dignity and well-being. Lastly, upcycling and textile recycling are worthwhile alternatives for items that are not suitable for donation.

Before you donate, always remember to clean the items thoroughly and ensure they’re in good, wearable condition. Donating is a noble act, and it can be done effectively with a little research and thoughtfulness. After all, the act of giving should be beneficial for both the giver and the receiver.

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