The gross reason you really need to wash new clothes before wearing them

That new clothes smell just isn’t worth it
That new clothes smell just isn’t worth it

One of the best things about buying new clothes is knowing you can put them straight on without having to wash them first.

But according to a dermatologist there’s a very good reason why you absolutely need to stop doing this.

As well as being unsanitary (just think of the people who have picked up and even tried on the clothes before you) throwing new clothes on before washing them can have some pretty horrible consequences on your health.

Here’s why you really need to wash your new clothes before wearing them [Photo: Getty]
Here’s why you really need to wash your new clothes before wearing them [Photo: Getty]

Speaking on the Today show, Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, explained that donning just-bought clothes without washing them first can lead to skin irritation, scabies, lice and, wait for it, fungus.


“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,” Belsito told The Wall Street Journal.

“The other infestation I’ve seen from clothing is scabies.”

Don’t go thinking that online shopping is the safest bet either, because the changing rooms certainly aren’t the only place where your new clobber comes in contact with others.

From the people who put them together, to those who packed them and others who arrange them on the rails, who knows how many hands, or, er, other body parts, have touched your would-be wardrobe.

Time to stick new clothes in the wash [Photo: Getty]
Time to stick new clothes in the wash [Photo: Getty]

And if the risk of bugs, lice and other nasties isn’t enough to have you reaching for the washing powder, there are a number of chemicals in newly shop-bought clothes that can also wreak havoc on your skin.

Apartment Therapy points out that new clothes often contain chemicals and preservatives to keep them fresh during shipping – which can cause irritation when it comes into contact with the skin.

Formaldehyde resin, used in clothing to prevent mildew and keep garments wrinkle-free, can lead to outbreaks of eczema and dermatitis, while dyes can easily cause irritation. Yikes.

Thankfully, most of these issues can be avoided simply by washing your new clothes before wearing them.

“In terms of hygiene, [washing clothes before you wear them is] a very good thing to do. Being a dermatologist, I’ve seen examples of some strange stuff, so I don’t take any chances,” adds professor Belsito.

Don’t know about you, but we’re not taking any chances either.

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