Should New Clothing Be Washed Before Wearing for the First Time?

Before wearing those new pair of jeans or the outfit you just bought, you may want to give them a wash. There are several reasons why prewashing your new items is a good idea. Many new clothes contain excessive dyes and chemicals, which can irritate skin, or transfer on to other surfaces – not to mention the germs and bacteria that have been featured in recent news stories.

In the past, I did not always wash everything brought home from the store before wearing it for the first time. After having the blue dye from a new pair of jeans rub off onto my hands, legs and a fabric sofa, I started pre-washing more often. Washing new, more intimate things like swimsuits and underwear, of course is a no-brainer.

By washing items before wearing them for the first time you are helping to eliminate excess dyes and chemicals that may have been added to the fabric to help them look better and resist mildew while shipping. If the clothing’s care tag suggests that you “wash the item separately” then this is a clue that there could be some excessive dye run-off. If you have sensitive skin, washing items before wearing is particularly important.

Another reason pre-washing is a good idea is that you do not actually know where that item has been before you bought it. Meaning, how many other people tried it on before you, and were those people clean, healthy and free of any transferrable bacteria? Just thinking about it might make you ill.

The same goes for linens – consider the recent bedbug dilemma. Not only are there dyes and chemicals to rinse out, you also have those little buggers to think about. The heat from washing and drying will take care of any worries about bringing them into your bed, as well as getting rid of any irritating dyes and chemicals like formaldehyde and bleaches.