It’s always fun to bring home your latest shopping conquests, isn’t it? You carefully lift your brand new outfits out of the tissue paper and bags and admire them. But do you put them straight into your closet or wardrobe without washing them first? If so, you might want to keep reading. Here are two pretty big reasons why you should wash new clothes before you wear them. 

Just because store-bought clothes look clean, doesn’t necessarily mean they are. Philip Tierno, a professor of pathology and microbiology, says that “dozens and dozens” of people have touched and tried on any given garment, depending on how long it’s been in the store.

And all of this contact can increase the amount of bacteria and germs on a garment.

“Brand new” clothes are often covered in germs

In his studies, Tierno has found that clothes which customers have tried on, but left in the store, tested positive for norovirus, strep and staph bacteria, as well as fecal germs. In fact, instead of purchasing clean clothes, new garments can be “grossly contaminated”, in the words of Tierno.

Clothes are treated with chemicals

Apart from germs, new clothing items are treated with chemicals, which in some cases, can cause reactions. Dermatologist, Dr. Meghan Feely, sees many clients who suffer from contact dermatitis.

Feely attributes some of these bad reaction to clothes “washed with a particular detergent or processed with a particular chemical additive, dye, resin or tanning agent.” In fact, formaldehyde is one such chemical used to treat clothing.

So, maybe the next time you come home with a bunch of shopping bags, put them straight in the washing machine before welcoming them into your wardrobe.

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