Remember finding a loosely hung beige spaghetti-strap top on the hanger at the store and wondering who else may have worn it before you? You might not be completely far off when worrying about something like this.
Germs and other irritants from someone who may have previously worn or handled the item of clothing is a real concern, according to medical director of the Dermatology Clinic at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, Dr. Jami L. Miller (per Southern Living). “A few studies have been done looking at bacteria and viruses lingering on clothes after they have been tried on — fecal bacteria and nasal viruses were commonly found. Lice, scabies, and even bed bugs can also live on clothing for a few days,” explained the dermatologist. Be especially careful with tight clothing, sportswear, underwear, and clothing items that aren’t sealed.
Even if the person who tried it on before you was exceptionally clean, any fragrances or chemicals (from perfume, lotions, or body wash, etc.) on their body could be left behind on the clothes and irritate our skin, lungs, and eyes, added founder of Branch Basics and environmental and healthy home consultant, Marilee Nelson to the New York Post. According to Nelson, even tools that stores use to create ambiance — like candles and scents — can become potential irritations to your body if they’ve somehow found their way onto the new clothes on the racks. It’s not just the immediate handlers you should be concerned about either, as a customer.