You know how it goes – you just got that fabulous new dress or outfit and you’re dying to wear it…now! Why not just snip off the tags and go for it? No matter how much your new garment calls to you to put it on right away, it’s extremely important that you wash new clothes first, especially if it is being worn against your skin or you will be sweating in it (workout wear). Anything against your skin can be absorbed through your pores, and when you sweat, your pores are opened further to absorb even more. So, what it is that we need to wash out?
Almost every yarn or dyed fabric requires chemicals to process it into clothing. These chemicals are used to protect the materials from mold, help the yarn slide through the weaving machinery or make dyes stick to fibers. The problem is that most of these chemicals are known skin irritants and can cause conditions such as contact dermatitis, an itchy rash that pops up wherever the chemical comes in contact with the skin. Some fabrics even contain Formaldehyde, which is a low level carcinogen! It is a very small amount that is used, but why expose yourself to this harmful chemical at all if you don’t have to?
Since there’s no way to know who may have tried on a garment before you bought it, there is always a potential of the fabric carrying bacteria, fungus or even lice, which can be transmitted to you if you wear it before washing it. You don’t want to bring home more than you bargained for from the store.
Fortunately, washing the item dramatically decreases the likelihood of getting lice or a rash, or being exposed to toxic chemicals. Make it a priority to wash any items that are worn next to the skin or that you will sweat in, such as:
- T Shirts
- Athletic Wear
- Summer Dresses
There are a few kinds of garments that you can safely skip pre-washing:
Anything that is not worn next to the skin is not in danger of transmitting something or irritating it.
Formal gowns and the like are not items that you would normally wash due to delicate or non-washable fabrics.
Skip this only if you are going to jump in the water immediately after putting it on. That should be enough to wash away any chemical or bacterial residue.
~Dry Clean Only Garments
It is not necessary to dry clean a garment before wearing it, since you will actually just be adding more chemicals to it, which is not what you want for your skin.
It may be rather anti-climactic to have to do laundry before you can wear that fantastic new outfit, but it is worth the time and effort to do so. It’s much better to take the time and be safe rather than rush out in your new clothes and find you have a new rash as well. Protect yourself and wash first!