New clothes can harbor fecal bacteria, expert says

Fox News

Turns out that brand new, store-bought outfit may not be as clean as you think.

One expert made waves in a recent Huffington Post interview in which he claimed that new, unwashed articles of clothing can harbor fecal germs, norovirus and bacteria, including strep and staph.  

Philip Tierno, professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University, told the outlet that his studies have indicated that germ counts are quite high on garments featured for sale in stores, given how many people try them on.

“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.

People mostly spread germs from skin, respiratory tree and anus, he said, adding that even touching germ-infested clothing puts one at risk.

Germs aside, according to Tierno many clothing items are also treated with chemical-finishing agents and dyes that can irritate the skin, which gives you another reason to head to the laundry room before wearing your new look.

Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, chimed in with similar thoughts to the Wall Street Journal, reporting that he has seen unwashed store-bought garments facilitate the spread of scabies, lice, fungus and infectious diseases.

Whether you’re a fan of fast fashion or investment pieces, retail workers also agree that throwing your new duds in the wash before wearing is simply a smart idea.

“A lot of people just come home and if it has a tag attached, they think it’s brand new and they wear it, Tori Patrick, a former retail saleswoman, told Good Morning America. “You really never know where it’s been.”

4 thoughts on “New clothes can harbor fecal bacteria, expert says

  1. I always wash new clothes before I wear them, and I’m not exactly what you might call a “neat freak” or “germophobe”, either.

    They’re always filled with extra dye, and they’ve been sitting on shelves and collecting dust for months even before the unwashed masses try them on. And new clothes don’t feel right. They have to go through the wash before they’re comfortable.

  2. I cannot count the number of brand new clothes I wore as a teen that caused rashes! Other than clothes that cannot be washed before I wear them (such as wedding-time dresses I wear once and then forget about them), I refuse to wear new clothes that haven’t been washed! (except for coats and shoes, of course) This “fecal bacteria” thing is nothing new.

    1. “I cannot count the number of brand new clothes I wore as a teen that caused rashes!”

      Using Tide laundry soap did that to me, DL.

      I’ve washed new clothes more often than not in the past, but every time from now on.

      That’s assuming I can afford to buy any. 🙁

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