In Marketplace Commentary

Shreddies say "let 'em rip."

In Marketplace Commentary

Shreddies are surprisingly unbulky.

Cheeky underpants filter farts

Frequent farters, these are for you.

Then again, even those folks who don't regularly rip one might appreciate Shreddies – underwear that filters the smell (but not the sound) of farts – as well. After all, we've all been in the middle of a work meeting or a first date and suddenly had that familiar tummy rumble and a frantic "uh oh" thought.

Invented in 2006 by London's Paul O'Leary and a team of designers, Shreddies come in sizes for men, women and kids and cost $30-$40 each depending on the style. They are available in white, black or gray. Shreddies are only available online.

Although beans might be the magical fruit, Shreddies are strictly science.

The underwear features a carbon panel called Zorflex which neutralizes the odor vapors. The porous material is the same used in chemical warefare suits and, supposedly, is able to stop smells 200 times stronger than the average fart.

Shreddies serve more of a purpose than to save everyday embarrassment, the absorbent underwear is also a health care product that helps people who struggle with IBS, Crohn's Disease, food intolerances and incontinence.

But let's get to the wafting question here: is this all a bunch of hot air or do Shreddies really block your bad wind?

I received a pair of Shreddies in the mail last week and made immediate plans to hork down a Hamm's-and-beans dinner. Afterwards, I slipped on my Shreddies and prepared to cut some stinky cheese.

Within 20 minutes, I called for my family to gather 'round before flatulating with wild abandon. These are clearly people who both love me and are extremely gross – two of them are 11-year-old boys – because most of them were willing to sniff my caboose.

And sure as shat, there was no odor.

My son also received a pair and tried them out the next day. Once again, we confirmed that they do mask the smell. However, if you pull back the elastic, beware. Some of the smell does not get absorbed by the Zorflex panel and remains trapped in the pants.

Also, the Shreddies have to fit perfectly – even a bit snugly– so the fart smell can't "escape" which could happen if they are even the least bit too roomy. And not everyone likes the feeling of the tighty panties – my boxer-wearing son certainly did not and asked to take them off after only two toots.

It is also recommended, in order to prevent bad smells from escaping around the filter, that you are standing up before your big booty salute and let it leak out slowly. However, if you must fart while sitting, Shreddies suggests you sit upright so that the odor doesn't sneak out the front.

Also, even though the carbon panel is reactivated during washing, Shreddies cannot be washed in regular detergent – baking soda is recommended – and have about a 100-wash lifecycle.

Ianthe Betts-Clarke has worked for Shreddies for a few years and she says the company gets requests for sound-filtering undergarments all the time.

"It's not something we're going to fix our attention on right now because the undergarments probably wouldn't be comfortable if they filtered out sound," she says.

According to Betts-Clarke, the product is as popular with men as with women, but for different reasons.

"We see a lot of women buying them but not for themselves, mostly for their smelly husbands and boyfriends," she says.

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