Having new clothes is fun, it feels like you want to wear it right away for a walk. However, there is one step you must take before wearing it the first time, which is to wash it properly. In fact, new clothes that look sleek and bright aren’t as clean as you might think!
Threat to new clothes
Reported by Refinery29, Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said that new clothes often contain dangerous chemicals that can cause rashes and itching.
There are two chemicals commonly found in new clothes and can trigger skin problems, namely azo-aniline dye and formaldehyde resin. Both are known to cause skin irritation.
Many synthetic fabrics get their color from coloring using azo-aniline. Meanwhile, formaldehyde is a carcinogen – a cancer-causing substance – category 3. The amount is so small in clothing that it is assumed not to be threatening in the long run. But still, who wants to be exposed to carcinogens repeatedly?
According to Lana Hogue, an expert in clothing manufacturing, clothing makers use chemicals because of necessity.
“In most commercial industries, ready-made textiles are moisturized. To prevent mold, the thread is sprayed with antifungal fluid and chemicals. To make the dye stick to the fiber, it also requires chemicals. Even natural fibers require caustic chemicals (chemicals that damage the skin), “Hogue said, quoted by Elle.
In addition to these chemicals, threats can also come from the habit of trying clothes at the store. According to Belsito, the dressing room is an ideal place for bacteria, fleas, and fungi to breed. Head lice and scabies are two skin diseases which, according to Belsito’s observation, can be transmitted through clothing.
“I have come across cases of head lice that might be transmitted from trying on clothes in stores,” said Belsito.
You might not want to imagine this. But, there is always the possibility you are not the first person to try on these clothes. It is also difficult to track how many people have touched the clothes during the production, shipping, storage and sales phases. Instead of taking risks, Belsito advises people to wash newly bought clothes twice, before wearing them.
Will Kirby, M.D., a dermatologist based in Hermosa Beach, California, said that transmitting diseases from clothing is not impossible, but the risk is very slim. According to him, the elements of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are not really transmitted from clothing. “You are more likely to get an infection from touching the doorknob rather than clothing,” Kirby said, reported by the Huffington Post.
However, there is one thing that according to Kirby needs attention. If you want to try on underwear or swimsuits, Kirby recommends to keep wearing underwear and washing before wearing. This is because the skin in the anal and vaginal area is more likely to transmit infection.
Hogue said that washing the clothes you just bought is very important, especially if you will come in direct contact with the skin and tend to be exposed to sweat (or the type of clothing you will use for sweating). Examples are socks, underwear, underwear, sports wear, shorts, and swimsuits.
For outerwear, according to Hogue, you do not need to wash it first because it does not come in direct contact with the skin. In addition, for clothes labeled “dry clean only”, there is no need to rush to wash them with the dry clean method. The reason? You will only add “fresh” chemical elements to the material. So, you better aerate it for a moment in an open space before wearing it.
Actually it’s only natural if you can’t wait to wear new clothes. However, rather than being exposed to chemicals that damage the skin and microbes, you better take the time to wash them first.