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Do You Need to Wash New Clothes Before Wearing? The Verdict is In

Wash New Clothes

Who doesn’t love the way new clothes look? The way a dress or jacket hangs so perfectly crisp on a hanger pretty much makes you want to do one of two things: either never wear it or never wash it. But of course, if you’re buying it, you’re probably really excited to start wearing it! So, do you really need to wash it before you wear it for the first time?

Well, the answer is simple really. How do you feel about rashes, insects, and other infectious related diseases? Probably not so great, huh? According to Professor Donald Belsito of Columbia Medical Center, where he heads the dermatology department, you really need to wash that new shirt, jacket, or dress. It might look clean, but in reality, it’s riddled with things you really don’t want to touch your skin.

According to his interview with the Wall Street Journal, new clothes have certain dyes and formaldehyde resins that can irritate skin and for some people, cause full blown allergic reactions. These dyes and preservatives are used to help preserve the look, feel, and shape of a garment throughout the entire shipping, handling, and stocking process. He went on to state, “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,” He then mentioned, “the other infestation I’ve seen from clothing is scabies.”

dressing rooms

But, dressing rooms are not the only place your new wardrobe comes into contact with others. People who manufacture the clothes, people who ship them, and people who stock them in stores also can potentially put consumers at risk. Essentially, anyone who has touched the garment along the way with their bare skin risks transferring any disease or irritant along to the next person handling it.

Belsito warns, “fungus can hang around awhile.” If that isn’t enough to make you want to wash your clothes once, maybe try doing it twice? Actually, that’s just what Dr. Belsito does. He says, “in terms of hygiene, it’s a very good thing to do. Being a dermatologist, I’ve seen examples of some strange stuff, so I don’t take any chances.”

The doctor has spoken, but the choice is up to you. Garments that definitely need to be washed before wearing are underwear, bras, and swimsuits as they cover particularly sensitive areas.