As if we needed another reason to wash new clothes before wearing them! After hearing a super-gross report about bad bacteria possibly lurking in newly purchased clothes, we'll definitely be making a habit of putting our washer and dryer to work immediately after our next clothing purchases. If you haven't been doing this already, you might want to start, too.
Clothing left behind from shoppers in stores can contain bacteria such as strep and staph, norovirus, and even fecal germs, according to microbiology and pathology expert Philip M. Tierno, PhD. The professor told The Huffington Post that his research has detected those bugs in clothing that customers tried on but didn't buy in a variety of clothing stores — even high-end fashion businesses. Well, we've never felt sick to our stomach thinking about our local malls, but we suppose there's a first time for everything, right?
According to Dr. Tierno, it all comes down to the number of people who tried on a piece of clothing before you did — and that number might be quite a bit higher than you'd think.
"It's not four or five or six people. It’s dozens and dozens, if that garment sits there for weeks or a month," he said.
Dermatologist Donald V. Belsito, MD has also spoken up to The Wall Street Journal about other potential dangers that have been spotted in newly purchased clothes, including lice, scabies, and fungus. Apparently, lice can be especially notorious for lingering around in fabric.
But before you start intensively disinfecting every clothing item you own, it's worth noting that the time that clothing sits on the shelf varies widely. Tierno also clarified that the risk of a person actually getting a significant infection from new clothes is "very low." However, it is possible — especially if you happen to have an uncovered cut or scrape on your skin while trying on the product. Yikes! That's enough to convince us to never skip the cleaning routine again.
How to Protect Yourself While Trying on New Clothes
- Send your clothes off to the washer and dryer before you wear them — even if you'll just be wearing them for a short while.
- If your new clothing item is very delicate — like silk — take it to the dry cleaner's instead before wearing it.
- Avoid trying on clothing in stores if you have open cuts and scrapes, especially if they're not bandaged.
- Be sure to wash your hands after trying on clothes in a store.
After you've freshened up your clothes, learn how to freshen up your home for springtime in the video below:
h/t Huffington Post