The Hidden Dangers of Not Washing New Clothes Before Wearing

When we buy a new piece of clothing we’re usually very excited about it and sometimes want to wear it immediately on a date or night in town. And even if you don’t wear your new skirt that same day, you can just put it in your closet right away. Right? Unfortunately you really don’t want to do that. According to experts you should definitely wash new clothes before wearing them. One of the reasons might surprise you.

Who’s been touching your new threads?

One of the most obvious reasons why you might want to wash your new clothes before putting them on your body is that you don’t know what grubby hands have been touching them. When they’re hanging in the shop they might seem brand new and sparkling clean. But who knows how many people have already touched them with dirty hands, sneezed on them or tried them on. And unfortunately not everyone is as hygienic as they should be.

Avoid irritations and rashes

Dirty hands and bodies are not the only thing you should be wary about when putting on that new top. Even if no one touched it, it has probably been treated with chemicals and finishes that can irritate your skin. Manufacturers often use color fasteners, anti-wrinkle agents. and stain repellents for example to enhance the properties of the fabric.

If you have sensitive skin those chemicals can irritate it and even cause a rash. According to a 2017 study you could even end up with allergic contact dermatitis because of the dyes. This is an immune reaction in your skin when you come into contact with a substance you’re sensitive to. If you consistently don’t wash new clothes before wearing them, you could become sensitized to certain allergens over the years. And once you develop an allergy to a substance, even a small amount can cause a reaction. In this case that could be a rash, cracked skin, burns and bumps.

So are you going to wash those clothes?

Are you convinced yet? You might have been wearing new clothes right away for years and never had any problems. Well ultimately it’s up to you, but keep in mind that you might be developing an allergy to some kind of chemical. And unfortunately you can’t really check which chemicals were used on your clothing. Manufacturers don’t have to tell you what treatments and finishes they used.


  • Byrdie
  • Chen YX, Gao BA, Cheng HY, Li LF. Survey of occupational allergic contact dermatitis and patch test among clothing employees in beijing. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:3102358.

Ilona Braam

Ilona is a Digital Media Design graduate, content writer/creator and a whole bunch of other things. A few words that would describe her are jolly, creative, nerdy, curious and a bit dark.