• Question: Why do we need to wash our c l o t h e s?

    Asked by emmagrace to Dalya, Derek, Sarah, Tim, Tom on 21 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Tim Millar

      Tim Millar answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      Because they pick up dirt from the environment and skin and other stuff from us. All of this plus our body heat make it it a nice place for bacteria or fungi to live and grow. Washing kills the bugs so that we smell nice and our clothes last longer.

    • Photo: Derek McKay-Bukowski

      Derek McKay-Bukowski answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      Washing away the bugs and germs and things means that we are less likely to get sick.

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      To wash away dirt and sweat and bacteria and dust mites and deodorant and smells! And also to re-shape them as some fabrics go kind of baggy throughout the day.

    • Photo: Dalya Soond

      Dalya Soond answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Is this something you often ask your parents?
      You don’t have to wash your clothing, it’s just more hygenic for the reasons the other scientists have listed.
      There is a school of thought though that suggests that there has been a massive rise in allergies and asthma over the decades because we have become too clean -it’s called the hygiene hypothesis. Essentially, we need a bit of muck to keep our immune systems busy otherwise it might get bored and causing unnecessary diseases.

      But I have a question for you which I have always wondered about….Why do we need to iron?

    • Photo: Tom Crick

      Tom Crick answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      We need to wash our clothes because we sweat/excrete stuff from our body, as well as picking up dirt and contaminants from our environment. If we did not wash our clothes we would be at risk of harbouring bacteria and increasing the likelihood of infections/disease.

      Plus it means our clothes look and smell nice and last longer.