Wash or re-wear? As a minimalist millennial who enjoys training but hates buying new clothes and doing laundry, I often ask myself that question.
You see, I enjoy training most days of the week. But I only own a handful of sports bras three pairs of shorts and three pairs of leggings and usually wash only when needed. Hence the riddle I often face when I take off my sweaty garb. Basket or hanger?
Most of the time I choose Option B: Add. I know it sounds rude, but I have not noticed any strange or bad side effects ̵
Once a week I asked two germ experts and a dermatologist for their opinion. Here's what they said about the Science of Welding the health risks of re-wearing the same workout clothes and the various factors that determine whether to wash or put on again.
Let's talk about the sweat.
They have bacteria that cover all surfaces of your body. Philip M. Tierno, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU's Langone Health School of Medicine and author of The Secret Life of Germs tells SELF. This may sound disgusting, but this abundance of bacteria, known as the natural flora, is completely normal, helping to fend off potentially harmful bacteria from the outside.
When your body temperature begins to rise (which happens when you exercise), your sweat glands release sweat on the skin, allowing it to evaporate and cool you off. But first, the sweat mixes with the bacteria that naturally live on the skin, and as bacteria feed on (among other things) moisture, the bacteria multiply, Kelly Reynolds Ph.D., professor and chairman for Community, Environment and Politics at the Zuckerman College of Public Health of the University of Arizona, says SELF.
Some of these naturally occurring bacteria – not all, but some – produce a smell when they grow, explains Reynolds. For this reason, we usually associate sweat with body odor. Because most of these bacteria are your natural microbiome, they do not present a real health risk when propagated. "Mostly it's just a nuisance because the smell is not so pleasant," says Reynolds. When we exercise, these bacteria and the resulting odor can be transferred to our clothing.
The short answer: It's a bit disgusting, but not a big health risk for most people. Anyway, it's okay to wear sweaty clothes again. "The perfect public health answer would be to wash your clothes between each use, but that's really not practical, and it's probably not necessary for most people," says Reynolds. There are many good reasons why you should not wear workout clothes anymore and there are even cases where you definitely should not do this, but for most healthy people there are no major health problems. There is a risk that we will be back Expose bacteria that originate from our own body. Sweating twice in the same clothes before washing them is probably fine in most cases. "Even at three [times]you do not really press the envelope," says Tierno.
However, one big limitation is that it's important to hang the sweaty robe when you wear it again. Dry between applications as this will limit the growth of bacteria, Tierno says. Drying alone can reduce up to 90 percent of the bacterial population that has settled into your clothing, Reynolds says. This means that 10 percent (or more) can be left over. Because of the speed with which bacteria can grow, "the higher the baseline, the faster truly high populations can develop that could pose a health risk," says Reynolds
Here's everything that goes wrong with re-wearing workout clothes can go.
Repeatedly wearing dirty workout clothes is not 100% risk-free for everyone. Although most of the bacteria on our skin are fairly harmless, certain types of germs, including Staphylococcus bacteria (which cause Staphylococcus infections, including MRSA), can have more serious health consequences. Staphylococcus is usually not a problem for the general population, says Reynolds. In fact, it is commonly found on the skin of healthy people and causes in most cases no problems or only relatively minor skin infections according to the Mayo Clinic . However, some people tend to develop more severe staphylococcal infections for various reasons . And if you know it's you (ie, you've had staphylococcal infections in the past), "I would be very vigilant when it comes to reducing the type of exposure, such as reusing clothes," says Reynolds.
Even if you tend Inflammatory skin conditions like acne or folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles) can increase the risk of an outbreak if you wear the same sportswear again. This is because these conditions often begin with the pores being clogged or blocked by particles such as skin cells, dirt or debris. Jeremy Fenton, MD, Certified Dermatologist, Medical Director of Silent Dermatology in NYC Group and Clinical Instructor at Mt. Sinai Hospital, tells SELF. If you wear sweaty clothes again without washing them, the bacteria and dirt particles attached to your clothing can rub on your skin and trigger the inflammatory response that causes acne and folliculitis.
There is also the risk of yeast infections. "Of course we have yeasts that live on our skin, and yeasts really do thrive in humid, warm and humid environments," explains Dr. Fenton. "So, if you wear clothes and sweat, and those clothes get wet for a while, that garment will thrive on more yeast." If you put those clothes back on, especially on body regions on yeasts that are more susceptible to yeast cultivation – like that Groin, under the breasts and other areas with skin folds – you may introduce a higher yeast level. These higher yeast levels can cause skin irritation and various yeast-based conditions, such as tinea versicolor (a harmless infection that causes skin discoloration) and Pityrosporum folliculitis (also known as mushroom acne). ) Fenton.
Another area of concern is when you have a bruise, a cut, or a crack. Each type of opening provides a "major entry point into the bloodstream," says Reynolds, and harmful bacteria can slip into it. Skin tears should be treated with an antiseptic and well bonded, says Tierno. If it is not well connected, you should definitely not put dirty clothes over it.
Even if something after B.O. Once you've worked on it, it's probably still going to B.O. smell. until you wash it. So do not wear anything that smells.
Lastly, do not borrow any sweaty clothes. "Sharing your clothes is a different kind of ball game," says Tierno, as changing clothes can also mean replacing harmful bacteria. Let's say you have recently gotten over the flu or stomach ailment. These bacteria can still be present on your skin and then transfer to your clothing during exercise. If you share those sweaty clothes with others, you can expose them to the same illness. "I recommend not sharing anything," says Tierno.
These are the items that should always be washed after training in it.
While most garments are likely to be reattachable (subject to the limitations noted above): Anything that directly touches the groin, including underwear and any worn underpants, should be washed after each use, says Dr. Fenton. The bacterial concentration in your groin area is initially higher, and thanks to the warm, humid conditions and the fact that certain oils are formed in this area that bacteria like to feed on, the environment is much more inviting to bacteria and yeasts. he explains. In addition, there is more friction in this area as you move, which increases the risk of pathogens depositing deeper into the skin.
Another reason to always wash your underwear: The risk that microscopic feces may leak out of your groin to find their way to your mouth (say, you're picking up trousers with droppings and then touching your lips). Although the likelihood of this actually happening is very low, especially if you are good with hand washing and basic hygiene, there is still some risk, according to Reynolds. Therefore, after each use, always wash your skivvies (and all pants that you wear).
Socks are another element that should always be washed between the wearer days. Fenton added. Why? When they touch the floor in the gym (for example, go from the indoor cycling studio to the dressing room without shoes), they can pick up fungal infections that can be transferred to your feet the next time you wear them.
Some final thoughts before putting your workout clothes back on:
Okay, let's say you've read all the warnings and still feel pretty good about your decision to put this sports bra back on before washing it. Bold move – but maybe not bad or gross! Here are some final questions to ask:
Is this completely dry? Even if you hung it up after your last use, it may not be completely dry depending on where you live. Or, even if it is dry now, it may have been damp for a long time . In high humidity environments, such as parts of Florida or Texas, drying clothes takes much longer than in dry locations such as Colorado or Arizona. Remember, more moisture is synonymous with more bacteria. So if you live in a steaming place, you should probably wash your clothes more often.
What does it consist of? The type of material your clothes are made of also plays a role. If you have a material that does not dry out within a few hours, "you may be incubating many bacteria that could cause a problem," says Reynolds. Clothes made of breathable, breathable material have a lower risk, she adds.
Did you sweat a lot? Also consider how much you sweat normally. If you have sweated heavily in this garment, it is a good idea to wash it for reuse.
Seriously, does it smell? Or did it smell once? You can also make the call with your nose. "Once you can smell bacteria, you have a lot of bacteria there," explains Reynolds, saying that a large number of bacteria are needed before your nose picks them up. She suggests washing her clothes before she starts to smell. For example, if you notice a smell after three reuses, you should probably start washing after just two days of wear.
Are you likely to endanger your skin or your health if you wear it again?  If you have any health problems that affect your immune system, an open wound, or usually yeast, acne, or other bacterial skin infections, you should wash your clothes after each use so as not to cause or worsen health problems. If you are not sure what is safe for you, always talk to your doctor first about immune system, I would prefer if you put on your workout clothes and do a workout instead of not exercising at all, because you do not have clean clothes "Says Dr. Fenton.
Just think of all the tips listed above – let your sweaty clothes dry completely before you wear them again; Do not wear more than two or three times before washing. Wash underwear and socks etc. between each use – and you will not have much to worry about.
If, like me, you decide to occasionally put your workout clothes back on, you should get undressed Your sweaty clothes should be hung up as soon as possible after exercise (not in the bathroom if it gets steamy when showering), so they can move quickly dry, says dr. Fenton. This prevents the growth of bacteria and yeasts.
In order for your clothes to dry more thoroughly before reuse, you can switch between two sets and let one dry for a day or two while wearing the other. and vice versa, Reynolds suggests. Another option to fight bacteria: spray your clothes with a disinfectant or disinfectant spray that is safe for fabrics, and then hang them up to dry, Reynolds suggests. Or if your clothes can tumble dry, you can throw it in a high heat cycle to further kill bacteria, says Reynolds. "That would definitely help," she says.
In light of all this, I will gladly continue my habits, which turns out to be not so brutal .