3 Gross Reasons Why You Should Always Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them

Excess dyes can cause severe skin reactions similar to poison ivy.

TBH, I never wash new clothes before I wear them. Reason one: I’m lazy, so less laundry = happier me. And reason two: I’ve never really considered new clothes dirty. Sure, a handful of random strangers might have tried on the garment before me, but that doesn’t make the actual garment dirty—right?

The more I thought about it, though, the more I debated my own theory. And, being the anxious person that I am, I couldn’t stop obsessing about it, so I did a lil’ homework to fully rectify this issue.

There are three good reasons to wash new clothes, especially pieces like underwear or t-shirts and shorts that are worn in direct contact with your skin, before you wear them.

1. One reason to wash new clothes is to wash out extra dye that can be transferred to your skin or other garments. Most fabrics made from synthetic fibers (polyester, acrylic) are coloured with azo-aniline dyes. These dyes can cause severe skin reactions for people, especially small children, who are allergic to them. If the allergy is severe, the rash will be similar to poison ivy. But even less severe reactions can cause dry, itchy inflamed patches of skin.

2. It is possible to transfer lice, scabies, bacteria, and fungus from one person to another person when clothes are tried on. Dressing rooms can become breeding grounds for everything from viruses to athlete’s foot. Why take that risk?

3. And, most importantly, new clothes should be washed to remove excess chemicals like Urea formaldehyde that manufacturers put on clothes to enhance colour or texture. The finishes won’t bother everyone, but if you have sensitive skin you can develop a rash especially in constant contact areas like armpits, collars, cuffs, and trouser waists and thighs.

Thus, it goes without saying that clothing from consignment or thrift stores should always be washed or dry-cleaned before you wear them too. Even though these clothes have probably been cleaned before being placed for sale, washing in your regular detergent will insure better results for your family.

With that said, it is especially important that children’s clothing, especially clothes for babies, be washed before they are worn. Babies are particularly sensitive to chemicals and skin rashes can occur. Plus, washing the new clothes for children will make them softer and more comfortable to wear.


Nadee Mode
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