‘Tis the season to pack on the layers. It is time to dig out the hats, gloves, and warm fluffy jackets. Winter is upon us. The cold front has arrived and with it comes the flu and common cold. Ever wonder why colds are more common place in the winter months than in the summer? Part of the problem may be traced back to your outer winter garments.
The very clothing that are designed to keep us from freezing our derrieres while outdoors, are the same clothing that are carrying around contagious germs. Be honest how many times a month do you wash your hat and gloves? Uh oh. Are you guilty of neglecting your outer garments? Here are our top five germ infested winter clothes that should definitely be washed weekly.
- Gloves – We use are gloves daily in the winter time to prevent our fingers from becoming frostbitten. When temperatures dip below forty degrees Fahrenheit, gloves are a heavenly invention, but gloves make us forgetful. Items that we would never touch with our bare hands suddenly seem perfectly acceptable to touch with our gloved hands. In our minds we think I am clean because I am not touching it with my bare hands. Yet, how many times when your hands were full, did you used your teeth to pry off those same germ infested gloves? Oh, now you remember. Unfortunately, it is too late
- Hats – Hats are what I call the associates. They are friends with the gloves. Anytime you take off your hat, the germy gloves get politely tucked inside the hat and viola! Now your hat becomes germy. Germy by association.
- Scarves – Scarves do a wonderful job of protecting the face and neck from the cold wind, but these decorative fabrics also serve another inconspicuous function. The scarves act as tissues for our runny noses. Come to think about it so do gloves for that matter. As much as no one would like to openly admit, scarves serve in place of tissues in times of emergencies. Cold induced rhinorrhea (otherwise known as the runny nose) is the body’s natural reaction to cold temperatures. As the cold air dries out the mucus inside our noses, the body goes in overdrive to produce more, creating an excessive amount that has no where to go but out our nostrils. Our scarves soak up this extra mucus and carry around our germs to other people.
- Inside coat pockets – Our coat pockets are where the dirty tissues get stored and of course those dang gloves. When you got a confined space filled with mucus and dirty gloves, you got a whole lot of bacteria on clothes that can cultivate. The best way to wash your coat, is to make sure to empty out the pockets and leave the pockets flipped inside out.
- Mr. Blankie – The last winter garment to make our top germy list goes to…drum roll please, the blanket! We all have our favorite couch blanket that the whole family snuggles under while watching television. This comfy blanket is crawling with germs. It collects pet dander, pet saliva, children’s snot and saliva, crumbs from left over food, and airborne illnesses from anyone who might have sneezed on Mr. Beloved Blanket.
The point is we need to exert the same amount of attention and hygiene care to our outer garments as we do to our inner garments. Clothes including accessories need to be washed often and on a weekly basis to limit the amount of infectious germs on clothes.