Do I Really Need to Wash New Clothes?

A young woman puts clothes in a front-load washing machine.

New clothes always look nice and crisp, but you should probably still wash them before you wear them. (Image: Artranq via Dreamstime)

Why do I need to wash new clothes? When I used to buy new clothes, I would put them on in the change room and then wear them that day. Well, never again, not now that I have learned of all the things new clothes can have on them, from lice to fungus to scabies to toxic chemicals.

They look just so nice and crisp sitting there on the shelf.

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I would think, how could they contain such disgusting things?

Reasons to wash new clothes

One expert, Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York with a specialty in contact dermatitis, told The Wall Street Journal: “There are two major culprits when it comes to allergens in new clothing: dye and formaldehyde resin. Most synthetic textiles are colored with azo-aniline dyes, which can cause a severe skin reaction akin to poison ivy in the small population of people allergic to them. For others, reactions to dyes are less extreme, and may result in slightly inflamed, dry, itchy patches of skin.”

Watch this video on what your new clothes could contain:

Today reported that Dr. Belsito said: “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 explained. “The other infestation I’ve seen from clothing is scabies.”

Belsito’s rule of thumb is to wash new clothes at least once before wearing them. Regardless of the material, he washes his new clothes at least once with a double rinse before wearing them. “In terms of hygiene, it’s a very good thing to do,” The Medical Daily reported.

Well, I will definitely be washing my new clothes from now on — twice.

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