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19-01-2010
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How Clean Are Your New Clothes? Harmful Bacteria Found on Many Brand New Clothes
How Clean Are Your New Clothes? Find Out

'GMA' Found Harmful Bacteria on Brand New Clothes

By ANDREA CANNING and RICH McHUGH

Jan. 7, 2010—

When you buy new clothes, you expect them to be new, not already worn by someone else. But that's not always the case.
Consider what happens after you return a pair of pants or a blouse. Often it goes right back on the rack, to be resold instead of staying in the back room, retail experts told "Good Morning America."
"The customer probably gets the wool pulled over their eyes. & 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, said. "You really never know where it's been."
To see how clean some "new" clothes were, "GMA" bought everything from blouses to pants to underwear from three popular chain clothing stores ranging from high- to low-end and handed them over to Dr. Philip Tierno, director of microbiology and immunology at New York University, to test the 14 items for germs.
Tierno found disturbing results. There was flora, or bacteria, on several items.
"On this black and tan blouse we found representation of respiratory secretions, skin flora, and some fecal flora," Tierno said.
On a jacket, Tierno discovered evidence of feces, skin flora and respiratory secretions, especially in the armpit and "close to the buttocks," Tierno said.
The biggest surprise came when Tierno tested a silk blouse.
There, he said, he found vaginal organisms, yeast and more fecal germs.
Tierno said a couple of the items had extremely high counts of germs, far above normal.
"Some garments were grossly contaminated with many organisms & indicating that either many people tried it or ... someone tried it on with heavy contamination," he said. "In a sense, you are touching somebody's arm pit or groin. So you want to be protected that's all.
"You may not come down with anything and, most cases you don't, but it's potentially possible," he added.

Wash or Dry New Clothes

The organisms can survive weeks or even months on clothes, Tierno said.
Contracting a yeast infection this way is highly unlikely, though possible, experts say. And with the evidence of feces, viruses could also be passed along.
"A very bad type of diarrhea -- you can also transmit things like the norovirus, stomach virus. You can transmit things like MRSA [a staph bacteria]," Tierno said.
"Most people are unaware and think that they can't really catch anything from these clothes because they are dry, they are on the rack and they are new. They are not realizing that numerous individuals try them on and contact certain parts of their body that may transmit potential pathogens."
In order to protect yourself from harmful bacteria, Tierno recommended washing your new clothes or running them through one cycle in a hot dryer before wearing them. He also suggested wearing clothes underneath while trying on new clothes and washing your hands after shopping.



abcnews

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20-01-2010
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This is sick. Although i do wash some of my new clothes before wearing (like underwear), I never thought a jacket would have so much bacteria on it. Some people are just sick... i'd never return something i've already worn! Yikes.

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20-01-2010
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the story seemed to imply that the bacteria may have been acquired from just people trying garments on in the dressing room.

i am going to wash my new clothes from now on. if it it is dry clean only im going to try to spray febreeze on them or wipe some areas down with a baby wipe. dry cleaning before wearing would be cost-prohibitive.

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20-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legyviel View Post
This is sick. Although i do wash some of my new clothes before wearing (like underwear), I never thought a jacket would have so much bacteria on it. Some people are just sick... i'd never return something i've already worn! Yikes.
That still doesn0t justify why a garment would have vaginal or fecal bacteria on it.

The reason is that 90% of people simply don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom, wich I find to be utterly revolting.

Case in point, the latest Swine Flu epidemic. Health organizations literally had to TEACH people how to wash their hands properly, and I remember seeing the ads of it and thinking are you serious that people don't know this?? they don't know you have to actually produce foam in the soap for it to work? that's like basic hygiene.

It's hard for me because I have an OCD problem with bacteria, however, people are simply filthy. I've seen it all the time, people going to the bathroom and not even wetting their hands with water, it's disgusting really.

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22-01-2010
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Yack - that makes seriously unpleasant reading Why don't more people pay attention to basic hand hygiene? Maybe clothes shops should provide anti-bacterial alcohol gel for customers to use as they enter, the same as is done in hospitals and residential homes.

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24-01-2010
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omg............... I never would've thought...ugh!! I always wash new underwear, but jackets I would never even think about washing! I guess I'm gonna think again.

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25-01-2010
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ewwwwwwww

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25-01-2010
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That's really gross!

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25-01-2010
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Eww, that's so nasty.
I always wash new clothes before wearing them because there can also be traces of chemicals in them that I don't want on my skin.

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25-01-2010
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Thanks Lucy92 that's a really informative article.

I certainly will be washing all new clothes in future.

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25-01-2010
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i always wash all new clothing before wearing them, except jackets because it's a bit harder to wash so i just wipe them down.

even if nobody wore the items, the clothes can get dirty from the factory where it's made.

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26-01-2010
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I was talking to my boyfriend about this last week, saying that I wash all my new clothes that are machine washable, and take everything else for dry-cleaning before I wear them - he laughed at me, so I sent him this page

I do not find it surprising at all, although it really is disgusting. The reality is, is that so many people do not wash their hands regularly, especially after doing activities where they SHOULD.

Also, I know from my university days that some girls used to actually buy new pieces, wear them for a night out, keep tags on, then febreeze and return.

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26-01-2010
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Ew... Thanks for this. I have a habit of buying evening dresses/jackets last minute and wearing them before washing them. I am definitely never doing that again...

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26-01-2010
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Right, but.... I bet I come in contact with those same icky germs every day when I'm packed like a sardine with 2039812093 other folks on the subway, sit down in a chair, swipe my credit card, shake hands with someone at work, order lunch, make a phone call, buy fruit at the farmer's market, etc.... it's gross but I think sometimes people are actually just underestimating how many germs are around them constantly and maybe the article is a bit sensationalist.... Plus who's to say that your drycleaner doesn't have dirty hands too????!!?

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26-01-2010
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also people can buy tagging guns on ebay and put tags right back on clothes after wearing them and return them. this is known as "wardrobing".

the gap has a policy of taking back clothes after being worn (even if the tags have been cut off) i returned a cardigan that wouldnt stop shedding after i wore it once a few years ago. i wonder if it was immediately retagged.

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