Unhygienic or not: wearing street clothes to bed?

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Many viruses and bacteria can accumulate on everyday clothes throughout the day. After a long day at work, many people find it difficult to relax on the bed or sofa in these clothes. But what’s really behind it?

“Don’t put your clothes on the bed!” Many of us have probably heard this phrase many times as children. Indeed, many viruses and bacteria accumulate on our clothing throughout the day, just as they do on cash, which passes through countless hands every day. Understandably, you don’t necessarily want them on your bed or sofa.

But what is actually behind this precautionary measure? Does it really pose a serious health risk if you simply make yourself comfortable on the bed after a long day without changing your clothes first?

There are various factors to consider
According to the magazines heute.at and web.de, various factors play a role in the question of whether the germs and bacteria we bring with us from outside are actually dangerous for us. According to Prof. Johannes Knobloch from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, it depends on the virus type.

So-called enveloped viruses (e.g., coronaviruses, influenza viruses) do not survive for long on surfaces, which is why infection is virtually impossible unless you touch your face with your fingers. In contrast, non-enveloped viruses (e.g., noroviruses) can be transmitted more quickly. But even these are not transmitted via clothing or bed linen.

There is no general rule
The bottom line is that the fear of infection through street clothes in bed is largely unfounded. Of course, there are exceptions, such as people who suffer from skin diseases like neurodermatitis or eczema. In this case, hygiene should be prioritized, and bed linen, for example, should be changed more frequently.

Overall, however, it depends on your own cleanliness, as infectiologist Peter Walger from Bonn explains. As a result, it is impossible to derive a general rule from this.

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