Why you should always wash new clothes before you wear them

Alice Sholl
·Contributor
By not washing clothing first you could be exposing yourself to gross germs [Photo: Pexels]
By not washing clothing first you could be exposing yourself to gross germs [Photo: Pexels]

Nothing beats the feeling of having a newly-bought outfit to wear.

And admittedly, most of us will wear it straight off the hanger – despite the fact a few people might have tried it on before us.

But apparently, the number of people who’ve likely changed in and out of that dress before you is higher than you think.

Philip Tierno, professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University, has conducted a number of studies in which he’s tested clothing from both popular clothes shops and high-end fashion businesses.

Yes, you’ll have to hand wash that new sequin skirt [Photo: Pexels]
Yes, you’ll have to hand wash that new sequin skirt [Photo: Pexels]

And in those clothes he’s found everything from strep and staph to norovirus and fecal germs.

He told Huffington Post: “It’s not four or five or six people [trying on an item of clothing]; it’s dozens and dozens … if that garment sits there for weeks or a month.”

He explained there are three main ways germs are spread, and these include from our skin, respiratory tree (our mouth and nose) and – wait for it – anus.

By touching clothes with germs on it then touching your mouth, you could be putting yourself at risk (even if he said it’s “very low” when it comes to getting a significant infection).

He also pointed out that lots of clothing is also treated with chemical-finishing agents and dyes, which can irritate your skin.

Don’t whack new clothes straight in the drawer [Photo: Pexels]
Don’t whack new clothes straight in the drawer [Photo: Pexels]

Dr Meghan Feely, a dermatologist who practices in New Jersey and Manhattan, also warned the site that if you’re allergic to one of those dyes or agents, irritations will emerge within days – or even hours – of your exposure to them.

She has even seen formaldehyde used in some clothing to make it wrinkle free, and recommends doing your research on different clothing brands to see what chemicals they use.

Unfortunately, if your reaction is because of an allergy, you probably shouldn’t wear the piece of clothing again. But for lower-level reactions, it could be washed multiple times or with specific cleaning products.

Either way, it sounds safer to stick it all in the wash before you put it on, doesn’t it?

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