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Make Sure You Wash Those Clothes After You Buy Them and Before You Wear Them!

April 26, 2010 · 66 comments

in Health & Fitness, Misc Tips

So how often do you go to the store, buy that new blouse, and wear it without washing it?  I think that is a habit many people have.  However, after reading this, you may never do it again.

While I was browsing through Target today, I remembered a report that Good Morning America had back in January about germs on clothes.  If you are already familiar with this data, please feel free to go read something else.  If not, please read on.

To test the ‘cleanliness’ of new clothes, GMA purchased just about any type of clothing you can buy at a retail store and tested them for 14 kinds of germs.  Clothes were purchased from 3 types of stores, from low-end to high end so that there would be a fair representation of items.

The results were downright creepy.  According to Dr. Philip Tierno, Director of Microbiology and Immunology at New York University, one blouse had yeast and fecal germs, among other things.  A jacket was contaminated with feces, skin flora, and respiratory secretions.   Some of the clothes were extra-contaminated with a variety of different germs, as if many people had tried on the garment or somebody with lots of organisms crawling all over them had previously tried on the item.

While this does not mean you will get sick every time you go in the dressing room, intestinal bugs and infections like MRSA can be acquired by being exposed to some of the germs found on these clothes while trying them on.  In addition, these bugs can live weeks or months on the clothes, just waiting to meet you.  In order to minimize this risk, Dr. Tierno advises the following:

  1. Wear clothes underneath the garment you are trying on if possible
  2. Wash your hands after shopping
  3. Wash garments before wearing them
  4. Run the clothes through a hot dry cycle if you have not washed them

Well I have often wondered if stores just put clothes right back on the rack when they are returned, and based on these results, I am guessing that many of them do.  I have to shop for a dress tonight, and it will be hard to see how it fits over the Haz-Mat suit I will be wearing…

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianna April 26, 2010 at 8:44 am

Well, I can hear Bradley saying, “I told you so” all the way from work right now…I hate to wash stuff before wearing it. Too much extra work. Guess I’ll have to start – yuck!


asithi April 26, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I have heard stories of people being able to return their USED underwear to Victoria Secret and the sales person just puts it back on the rack. Yuck! You never know what kind of germs are on the things you buy. But even knowing what I do , I rarely wash my new clothes prior to wearing them.


Kris April 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I heard that Victoria Secret story too, and it was frightening. I have washed my clothes before wearing for years, but I will admit I do not dry-clean before I wear. It is all creepy. Thanks for commenting


Money Reasons April 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm

You just never know… Good smart tip to avoid getting sick or worse! 🙂

While I didn’t care so much, my wife even washes clothes and blankets that come shrink-wrapped…


Kris April 26, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I never thought about the blankets. Usually they look ‘unused’, but I bet it would be easy for them to package it to look that way. I agree with your wife on this one! 🙂


Budgeting in the Fun Stuff April 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Ewwww…darn it…I always just wear it without washing…gross.


Cowboy Hats January 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

Great,It’s really nice post. Thanks a lot for sharing.


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