Should You Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them?

Leaving the shop with your new clothing in hand is very exciting. So exciting, in fact, that some of us couldn’t wait to wear that cool outfit immediately, without putting them in the wash first.

Is it okay to wear new clothes after they have been bought? After all, nobody used them yet. Or will it be better to throw them in the laundry machine before wearing?

To wash new clothing or not to wash, that is the question.

Wash your clothes before you wear them, even if they’re new

Let’s not drag it any further. To answer the question immediately, it’s yes, you should definitely wash your new clothes before you wear them.

person smelling shirt

Many experts agree that wearing new items is risky, especially for your health. New clothes may have bacteria or bugs that could irritate your skin due to various chemicals.

Wearing an amazing outfit isn’t worth it if the chemical on your garments may make you itchy.

Reasons why you have to wash new clothes

We’re not saying that you have to wash new clothing, just because. Who would want to spend all that extra time anyway?

There are many reasons why you HAVE to wash new garments. And they are the following:

New clothing may have fungus or bacteria

There’s a lot of work that goes into producing clothing.

From creating the material, packing and transporting, to the eventual display in the shop, a lot of people and places are involved to make the clothing we wear.

This means that there are loads of bacteria, pathogens, or germs that are already on the garments, before you even wear them.

Don’t get us wrong: This is not to make you a germophobe. It’s just the way things are, after all, it’s impossible for things to be 100% germ-free.

mannequins in department store

Unfortunately, if you wear your newly bought clothes immediately, the pathogens will be in direct contact with your skin. This puts you at risk to various bacteria such as Staphylococcus which causes staph infection. Although unlikely, there’s also a possibility of getting HPV or warts from clothes, too[1].

And it’s good to remember that new clothing isn’t always exactly “new”. Some items are tried on by other people or may even have already been bought and then returned to the shop.

Tip: Putting your new clothes in the wash with the hot cycle will definitely be a great way to kill bacteria. Make sure to check the care labels to avoid ruining your clothing.

SEE ALSO: Washing Machine Not Cleaning Clothes? (this might be why)

New clothing may have insects

Yes, even new clothing can have insects such as lice hidden in their fabric. This may happen due to the direct transmission of the carrier to the clothing, or it’s also possible that it has come in contact with an infested environment.

sweater with lice

Even if you ordered your clothing online, it’s difficult to know about the warehouse conditions and where the clothes are stored before being shipped to your home.

Hence, bugs may also be an unwanted freebie on your clothing that you definitely don’t want to be touching your skin.

Note: Do you like thrifting clothes? There’s a study showing that secondhand clothing is a significant threat to getting various kinds of parasitic infections[2]. Always wash thrifted clothes immediately before wearing them.

New clothing may contain chemicals

To keep clothing in great shape before they’re sold, there are various chemicals put in it to reduce wrinkling. An example of this is called Urea-formaldehyde, which manufacturers use to enhance the texture of clothing.

Unfortunately, chemicals such as formaldehyde are not meant to be in direct contact with your skin as they can cause rashes. After all, clothing shops expect their consumers to wash the clothing before using them.

Fabric dyes can also be an irritant for people that have sensitive skin conditions. Thankfully, these chemicals are easily removed by just washing your new garments thoroughly in soap and water.

New clothing may irritate your skin

Skin experts such as dermatologists will always advise people to wash their clothing, even if it’s new.

With the possibility of having bugs, being exposed to bacteria, and the chemicals in fabrics, the chance of irritating your skin is very high. This is especially the case for people with contact dermatitis or eczema, rashes, and other skin conditions.

If you have sensitive skin or just don’t want to take the risk, washing your new clothes before wearing them will always be your best bet.

Tip: Is your skin easily irritated by certain fabrics or dyes? You may want to try wearing organic clothes made with natural fabrics, which contain less or no chemicals at all that act as irritants.

New clothing may ruin your other garments

Want another reason why you should not wait to wash your new clothing on your next laundry session?

Here you go: With new clothes, there’s always the possibility of colour bleeding.

bright-coloured shirts

Since there’s a possibility of the dyes not being stable yet, it’s better to wash new clothes separately to prevent bleeding into your existing wardrobe. This is more likely to happen for bright-coloured clothing.

Put that new clothing in the wash!

So there you go – you now know that washing your new clothing is a must, and the reasons why you have to do it.

So go ahead and toss them in the laundry before even thinking of wearing them! Not only will you be safe from allergens, but you’ll also be wearing clean clothes that’ll smell fresh.

Did you use to wear your new clothes immediately? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you don’t wash clothes before putting them on new?

Putting on new clothes without washing them may irritate your skin or cause allergies.

Why do some new clothes say to wash before wearing?

Manufacturers often encourage consumers to wash clothes before wearing them to get rid of the chemicals or extra dye.

Do new clothes need to be washed separately?

Yes, it’s best to wash new clothes separately to prevent colour bleeding.

How long should you wash new clothes?

Putting your new clothes in the washing machine in the normal cycle (around 30 minutes) is enough to clean it and remove unnecessary chemicals.

How do you get the weird smell out of new clothes?

To get rid of the weird smell of chemicals in your new clothes, air them outdoors for an hour before putting them in the wash.

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