woman turning washing machine knob with caption 'washing my goodwill clothes then remembering you can potentially get a viral skin eating bacteria from them'


‘I’m so afraid of this happening’: Viral TikTok says you should always wash your Goodwill clothes, warns of skin-eating bacteria

'Y’all don’t wash all of your new clothes before you wear them?’


Linda Hamilton


Posted on Feb 9, 2022   Updated on Feb 14, 2022, 2:22 pm CST

After posting a viral TikTok about their Goodwill purchase, user @iluvqueers sparked a frenzy about the possibility of a skin-eating infection that can be transmitted from secondhand clothing purchases. 

The video shows the user putting clothes into a washing machine and changing the setting from bulky/large to sanitary. The caption says, “Washing my Goodwill clothes then remembering you can potentially get a viral skin eating bacteria from them,” which they later corrected to, “viral skin eating infection.” 

This video sparked hype and questions in the comments. Some users were confused that others don’t wash their clothes after purchasing them. 

One user commented, “Y’all don’t wash all of your new clothes before you wear them?” 

Another commented the opposite thought, “Literally whole outfit straight from Goodwill rn [right now] unwashed because I’m impatient.” 

One user had a different take on the matter. “Honestly you could get it from any clothes you buy, not even just thrift stores,” they said.

“True, manufacturing isn’t the most sanitary,” responded the TikTok creator. 

According to an article from the Daily Mail, washing new clothes is an issue that many may not take into consideration after enjoying their shopping spree. Hygiene doctor and expert Dr. Lisa Ackerley told the Daily Mail that unwashed new clothes could contain bacteria, fungi, or chemicals depending on how items are made, displayed, stored, or transported. 

Ackerley also explained how synthetic dyes can cause rashes to the skin and that colds and viruses such as the flu and norovirus can survive on fabrics for up to 48 hours. 

An article from National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that secondhand clothing is a new threat for contracting parasitic infections. A study showed that out of 800 pieces of clothing, 22 (2.7%) that were unwashed and tested for parasites came back contaminated, while the washed clothes didn’t prove to have any contamination. 

The article concluded that unwashed clothing could spread skin and hair diseases, such as pediculosis, lice, and scabies, human infestation caused by itch mites. 

“I’m so afraid of this happening,” @iluvqueers captioned their video.

The Daily Dot reached out to the video creator via TikTok comment and to Goodwill via email. 

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2022, 2:02 am CST