New ClothesTo Wash or Not to Wash

New Clothes: To Wash or Not to Wash?

You just bought the perfect shirt. You can’t wait to wear it for the first time and show it off, but wait… you must! At least until after you’ve washed it.

“I have seen cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on [clothing] in the store and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing,” said Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, in an interview on the Today Show.

New clothes can also have excess dye on them, which can rub off on the skin, causing irritation, or onto other clothing, causing stains. It’s a good idea to wash new clothing items on their own to prevent any excess dye from bleeding. Don’t forget to set the washing machine to the hottest recommended setting for a proper clean!

Clothing that is shipped long distances is often treated with formaldehyde to prevent mold, mildew and bacteria from feeling at home. It is important to wash the formaldehyde off, which is a possible carcinogen. Particularly for clothing that is imported from foreign countries, there is a danger of exposure to pesticides somewhere along the manufacturing process.

For hygienic purposes, wash new underwear, lingerie or bathing suits. After all, the clothes may very well have been tried on by multiple people in the store without much regard for the next person in the dressing room. The “wash it” rule also applies to clothes that require dry cleaning.

From now on, when you run home from the store with that new blouse or pair of pants, pop them in the washing machine for a thorough cleaning. Then when it’s clean, show it off to your heart’s content!