They should go into the washing machine before touching your skin.
Shrinkage. Fading. Lack of time. There are too many reasons in the world for us to forego washing our newly bought clothes, and too few (visible) reasons for us to actually do so.
However, if you’ve always dismissed the practice because your clothes will end up in the wash after you wear them anyway, you might want to reconsider that now. With Covid-19 cases rising steadily globally, personal hygiene needs to be stepped up – even on the perfect, crisp and bright conditions of your new garms that you need to wear tomorrow.
Here are five reasons to toss the new clothes you snagged from the rack into the washing machine before sliding them on.
1. New clothes contain harsh chemicals
According to Prof. Donald Belsito of the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, new clothing can often contain harmful chemicals that may cause skin irritation to occur.
Harmful chemicals and colours such as formaldehyde resin and azo-aniline dyes can react with your skin when you’re sweating and irritate your skin.
Washing your clothes can help get some of the excess dye out and prevent them from reacting with your skin.
2. You honestly don’t know where your clothes have been
Even if you don’t purchase the last piece in the store and receive a new piece packed in plastic, chances are, the new piece is just as dirty.
But how can that be… right?
Clothing factories can sometimes be very unhygienic and factories tend to add chemicals to prevent mildew from growing on clothes and to give it a certain texture.
3. Lice can live in clothes
Although we’ve always known the much feared lice to find the hair and the head as their habitat, there are other forms of lice that also make clothes and beddings their home.
The size of a sesame seed, they can easily live in the seams of your clothing and feed on your blood, irritating your skin.
On clothing, they can live up to a month.
(Also read: Workout Mistakes That Could Be Causing Breakouts)
4. Changing rooms are breeding grounds for bacteria
Anyone who’s worked a retail job before will know how the changing room rarely gets cleaned thoroughly.
In fact, according to researchers at the Institute of Hygiene and Biotechnology in Boenningheim, Germany, have found that infected clothes and garmets can actually transmit athelete’s foot fungus to other textiles!
5. All those makeup stains
Walk into any fast fashion brand there is and take a look around the neckline of just about any shirt or dress, and you’ll most likely find foundation stains, streaks of eyeshadow or lipstick marks.
While you may not have noticed them at first glance, this doesn’t imply that the trashed receipt means your purchase has gone to waste.
Most laundry detergents can remove makeup stains, but in face of a stubborn one, simply use makeup wipes (why didn’t we think of that, right?), rubbing alcohol, shaving cream or even ice.
Unlike hot water, ice cubes can lift stains without damaging the fabric so your clothes will look as fresh as ever.
A version of this article first appeared on WomensWeekly.com.sg.