Do You Really Need To Wear Separate Clothes Indoors And Outdoors?

According to TikTok: yes.
Would you let your outdoor clothes touch your indoor furniture?
FilippoBacci via Getty Images
Would you let your outdoor clothes touch your indoor furniture?

Do you wear different clothes for when you’re indoors compared to when you’re outdoors?

We’re not just talking about removing a coat, a jacket, or an extra cardigan for when it’s really chilly. We’re talking about a completely different set of garments.

And it’s only in these particular items will you relent and sit on your bed, chair, sofa etc – or rather, that’s the theory.

It’s all become a talking point after TikTok user @casstherockwillson went viral for a 10-second video where she summed it all up in a perfect jingle:

“When I come home I’m wearing my outside clothes,

“So when I come inside, I have to change,

“Cause if I sit on the bed in my outside clothes,

“I’ll have to burn my sheets.”


please tell me i’m not the only one

♬ original sound - cassie

She got more than 1.7 million views less than 24 hours after posting the video – so as you can imagine, the comments were truly kicking off.

Most people agreed with her, with one of the most popular comments reading: “the bed is only for showered body + clean pajamas. No outside clothes allowed.”

Others were delighted, saying they’d “found” their people, and that they’d “never felt more understood”.

But, ick factor and suspicions about our polluted streets aside, is there any rationale behind separating your clothes into those you can wear in the dirty outside world and those which will only ever see the indoors?

Experts told women’s magazine SELF in 2021 that the chances of catching infection based on what is on your clothes is actually pretty slim.

There would have to be a lot of the pathogen on your clothes for it to make a difference.

You’d also have to touch the illness-causing pathogen on your clothes for long enough for it to be on your fingers, and then you’d have to immediately touch your eyes, nose or mouth, to get ill from it.

Thomas A Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University of Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, told SELF that pathogens can get trapped in your clothes.

This means they’re not as “bioavailable as they are if someone coughs and you breathe it in directly”.

You can also just practise washing your hands regularly, and taking your shoes off around your house instead.

However, there are a few times when you should definitely make sure you’ve changed your clothes before getting comfortable at home:

1. If you have seasonal allergies – common allergens can get stuck on clothes and then come into the home

2. If you work around sick people

3. If your clothing is visibly soiled

4. If you have someone at home who is immunocompromised