Love at First Wear? Maybe Not!  Unmasking the Nasty Truth About Unwashed New Clothes

By: | January 2nd, 2024

Image by Pixabay

You’ve unwrapped that stunning ensemble as a Christmas gift, and the excitement to flaunt it is through the roof. The temptation to skip the pre-wash dance with those pristine threads lingers, fuelled by concerns of potential shrinking, fading, or the precious minutes usually spent on laundry.

Resist the urge and consider the bigger picture—your skin’s well-being

A quick pre-wash ensures you not only showcase your style but also shield yourself from potential irritants and unseen contaminants.

New clothes undergo manufacturing processes and environments that expose them to dust, dirt, and bacteria. Washing before wearing is crucial to remove potential irritants, allergens, and contaminants acquired during production, transportation, and retail handling.

Breeding ground for bacteria and beyond

The history of your ‘new’ clothes at the factory and the individuals who may have tried them on in changing rooms before you is unknown. Consequently, unwashed apparel has the potential to transmit lice, scabies, bacteria, and fungi from one person to another.

Risks from Garment Dyes

Dr. Susan Nedorost, a renowned Dermatologist based in Cleveland, OH, cautions against the potential threat of allergic dermatitis caused by dispersed dyes found in clothing, especially in synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon. These dyes may trigger delayed allergic reactions, manifesting as rashes days after skin contact. To mitigate this risk, washing new garments becomes essential as it helps eliminate some of these dyes and minimizes exposure to lingering chemical residues.

Beyond Allergies: The Quinolone Concern

It’s not just allergic reactions posing a threat. A 2014 study in Sweden revealed the presence of a chemical compound called “quinolone” on a majority of clothing samples. The US Environmental Protection Agency has classified quinolone as a “possible human carcinogen,” drawing on studies that link it to “tumor-initiating activity” in mice.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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