Bought some new clothes you’re excited to wear this weekend? Don’t forget to wash them first.
According to Philip Tierno, a Microbiology and Pathology professor at New York University, you should never forget to consider how many strangers have tried on your purchase before you. Unfortunately, the number is probably way higher than you think, no matter how new the garment looks.
“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 to The Huffington Post.
Using clothing items from a variety of popular retailers, Tierno tested each garment for bacteria and germs. The study revealed that the clothing (which, we have to note, included underwear) was home to norovirus, strep, staph, and fecal germs. Yup, you read that right: poo. Unfortunately, the gross stuff wasn’t just limited to skivvies. A silk blouse Tierno tested contained yeast, vaginal organisms and even more fecal germs. Wow.
Even though the risk for catching a harmful infection is extremely low, the professor notes that there is still very much a possibility. When you come in contact with clothes that carry germs and you happen to touch your mouth, eyes, nose or anus, you could transfer those germs into your body.
If this germ study isn’t enough to convince you, maybe your potential rash will. Tierno also notes that most clothing items are made with chemical dyes and finishes that have the potential to irritate the skin. Not to worry though, it’s nothing that a simple washer and dryer cycle can’t fix.