There are a handful of good reasons to wash your new clothes before donning them for the first time. But, let’s stick with 3 simple reasons why you should wash new clothes. You wouldn’t want to end up having dermatitis, right?
Should You Wash New Clothes?
Many people have been asking the same thing, “should I wash my new clothes?” The answer is simple, Yes. If you buy new clothes, always remember to wash them before wearing them. The term “new” might be a little bit confusing when it comes to clothes.
“New” clothes equate to unwashed clothes. Meaning it might have pathogens, dye bleeding, and chemical irritants that are potentially hazardous for your skin and health.
You might be asking, “how come?” Here are the 3 simple reasons why you should wash new clothes:
1. Keep Pathogens at Bay
The first reason out of 3 simple reasons why you should wash new clothes is that although your new clothes may be new to you, they have been passed through the hands of a slew of other individuals before coming in contact with you. Don’t believe me?
Well, do you remember when you went shopping with your family or friends, and you wanted a beautiful dress but were unsure whether the dress would fit you?
What do you do to find out if it fits? You try it on you, you wear it to check if the snug is excellent. Think about it, how many people do you think have tried that dress on?
This includes not just the customers or employees at the mall but also the manufacturers from which they came in. Because of this, those new clothes to you have been touched by countless hands before they get to your house.
At times like this, you cannot e sure whether someone got a virus such as COVID-19, fungus, lice, scabies, bacteria such as staphylococcus that can be found on either the hands or skin.
When an individual cough while trying the clothing on, germs are being transferred.
2. Loose Dye Bleeding
The second reason out of 3 reasons why you should wash new clothes is because of the excess dye that might transfer to other clothes, worst-case scenario, to your skin and cause a severe reaction.
Azo-aniline dyes are used to dye most clothes made of synthetic fibers like polyester and acrylic. There are countless people allergic to these kinds of dyes, particularly our little ones. They can experience severe skin irritation as a result of the exposure.
Symptom of a severe allergic reaction includes but is not limited to rashes that look and feel like poison ivy. On the other hand, even less severe reactions can result in dry, itchy, and inflamed areas of the skin.
3. Chemical Irritants in New Clothing
Above all else, the last reason of 3 reasons why you should wash new clothes immediately is to eliminate chemical finishes such as urea-formaldehyde, which manufacturers use to improve texture and crease reduction while producing the clothes.
Although the finishes are not irritating to most people, if you have delicate skin, you may get a rash, particularly in places of regular contact such as pits, collars, wrists, waist, and thighs of your trousers.
New clothes that must be sent a great distance in steamy, humid carriers from Asia and South America to the United States frequently require the use of urea-formaldehyde to inhibit mildew from growing on them.
Because of the pungent stench of the substance, it will linger in the cloth after it has been washed.
Although one washing is unlikely to eliminate all formaldehyde, you will significantly lower the amount of resin present, and this reduction will persist with each subsequent wash.
Step-By-Step Guide How to Wash New Clothes
Since you should wash new clothes to avoid unwanted exposure to chemicals, pathogens, and skin allergic reactions, as simple as washing your clothes before donning them, numerous individuals choose to go this route.
On the other hand, new clothes require extra tenderness, love, and care.
Step 1: Refer to Care Tags
Always refer to the care tag of new clothes to know where and how to start before doing laundry. Reading it will only take a few seconds, but it will totally save you from a lot of disasters when you start looking for solutions to fix your new clothes.
Step 2: Follow the Instructions
Proceed with your laundry following the instructions stated on the care tag. This includes the water temperature, recommended detergent, the drying process, and the washing cycle. These instructions are provided since there are many materials, and some fabrics are delicate.
Step 3: Sort New Clothes
Colored clothes should never, ever, I mean ever, be mixed with white clothes. Make sure to sort your new clothes by color and fabric type.
There are instances that you can mix colored and white clothes, but you must use color catcher sheets to prevent the dye transfer to other lighter clothes. Fabrics dyes in pastel hues do not bleed, so you can wash them together with white clothes.
Step 4: Inside Out
This step is crucial, so if you want your new clothes to retain their vibrant and crisp looking, always turn your clothes inside out to prevent clothes from fading quickly, especially when exposed to the sun.
Step 5: Always Soak your New Clothes
Start by soaking your clothes in cold water that contains salt for unseen stains and preserving the clothes color, with ½ cup of baking soda to eliminate the residue of potentially hazardous chemicals in clothes. Do the soaking prior to the actual washing of the new clothes.
Step 6: Water Temperature Plays a Vital Role
Using the appropriate water temperature in washing clothes prevents fabric deterioration and fading. Use cold water for colored clothes and hot water for white and pastel-colored clothes. A delicate setting in a washer or gentle hand wash is enough for new clothes. Never heavy wash new clothes.
Step 7: Proper Use of Detergent
Use the appropriate detergent recommended for a specific type of clothes. If there are stains, read the care tag how to wash it designed for that clothing. An ample amount of detergent is enough, do not overuse detergent as it can result in undesired patches or discoloration.
Step 8: Take the New Clothes Out Immediately
When you are through washing your clothes, take them out from the washer as soon as possible because leaving them in the washer for an extended period might cause the color to leak onto other clothes.
Step 9: Do Not Tumble Dry New Clothes
Do not dry new clothes in a washer-dryer to avoid color fading and fabric deterioration. Machine drying your new clothes might potentially cause damage to your new clothes. These clothes need to be able to move freely.
For colored to black clothes, it is ideal for placing new clothes in in-door racks or DIY racks, where they have enough space to breathe. Air drying is also perfect for retaining their color.
For white to pastel-colored clothes, let them air dry outside under the sunlight since they require sunlight to keep their bright color. Ensure that they have enough space so that the new clothes won’t crash.
Step 10: Air Dry for a Short Time
Air dry your new clothes for 45 minutes. If more time is needed, be sure to check it every now and then to avoid over-drying damaging your new clothes.
Can you Get Rid of Unwanted Pathogens and Harmful Chemicals in your New Clothes Without Washing?
Some of your new clothes may not require to be washed, while others cannot simply make time to do the laundry. With this, you can use a few extra techniques to destroy germs and eliminate chemicals to protect yourself from exposure. You can do this at your own risk:
- If you have new leathers, you can use an alcohol-soaked cloth to clean them.
- New clothes must be left in the sun for days to ensure that the UV radiation has naturally breakdown harmful chemicals.
- After carefully reading the care tag, but the new clothes in the dryer for at least 45 minutes in a high heat setting.
Can you Immediately Wear New Clothes Without Washing?
Yes, you can. However, it is encouraged to wash new clothes.
Do not wear new clothes for an extended time without washing them, besides the possibility that they contain harmful chemicals and pathogens, colors can seep out of the materials while you are wearing them and stains your skin.
We wouldn’t want to be in the same colors as our new clothes, yeah? So, you must thoroughly wash them first before putting them on.
Can you Reduce your Exposure to Clothing Chemicals?
You can go shopping for organically manufactured natural fiber clothing. It will help you prevent exposure to some clothing chemicals. But make sure to read the care tags carefully before wearing any cotton, linen, and wool clothes because not all materials are created equal.
Mildew is prevented by using chemicals the manufacturers apply, and natural fibers are particularly prone to mildew whenever they are exposed to moisture during the lengthy shipping coming from their overseas manufacturers.
Remember that choosing new clothes that can be thoroughly washed at home will enable you to avoid potentially harmful chemicals used in the dry-cleaning services.
The bottom line is whenever we always get so excited to wear our newly bought clothes, remember that your health comes first no matter how tempted you are. Ensure that you can thoroughly wash your clothes. Wear your new clothes with confidence while being safe!
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.