You might assume that brand new clothes are clean and safe to put on, but there's a good chance you can come in contact with some nasty stuff if you don't wash them beforehand.
Photo by ElizabethHudy
You finally find something that looks good and fits great, so you put your new clothes on as soon as you get home because you're so excited. Who hasn't done that at some point? Heidi Mitchell at the Wall Street Journal spoke with Donald Belsito, the professor of dermatology at Columbia University, and it turns out that might not be such a great idea. Mitchell explains:
There are two major culprits when it comes to allergens in new clothing: dye and formaldehyde resin. Most synthetic textiles are coloured 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...
Belsito also suggests that you consider where that shirt may have been before it got to you, and what might be in the fabric already:
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. The other infestation I've seen from clothing is scabies.
Of course, not every article of clothing is infected or infested, so there's no need to panic. It's just an example of why it's important to wash things before you put them on, especially if you're buying something second-hand. Belsito recommends washing new clothing at least once with a double rinse before wearing, no matter what fabric you're dealing with. You're better safe than sorry, especially when you're shopping with your kids. The whole article is worth a read, so check it out at the link below.
Do You Need to Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them? [Wall Street Journal via Consumerist]