Why You Need to Wash New Clothes Before You Wear Them

Some people love to wear new clothes straight from the store without washing them, and while that’s unlikely to kill you, there are a lot of reasons you probably don’t want to do that. After hearing these, you’ll be more inclined to run those clothes through the washing machine before you put them on.

Here’s the thing about new clothes - you’re not the first person to have tried them on … even if you buy them online. And you’re definitely not the first person to have handled them, so you could be exposed to whatever those people have. “I have seen cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on in the store and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing,” explains Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center. “The other infestation I’ve seen from clothing is scabies.”

He notes that fungus can also hang around on clothing and says that washing clothes before you wear them is “a very good thing to do.” Another dermatologist, Dr. Will Kirby, points out that the risk of transferring viruses, bacteria and other infections from unwashed garments is “very, very slim,” but not impossible.

  • But that’s not the only concern with wearing clothes before you wash them. Practically all clothing is coated in a cocktail of chemicals that can cause skin irritation or even be absorbed into the body.
  • Dermatologist Lindsey Bordone explains that clothing is treated with preservatives, like formaldehyde, which can cause dermatitis and eczema outbreaks.
  • Clothing manufacturing expert Laura Hogue shares that formaldehyde is a category 3 carcinogen, which is the lowest hazard, and she asks, “Who wants to knowingly expose themselves over and over again to carcinogens?”

Source: Apartment Therapy

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