We all love buying new clothes because we get to enjoy the bright colors, the crispy lines, and that newish smell. So why would you ever want to wash them and risk changing the look before you even get a chance to wear them?
Why You Should Wash Your New Fabrics Before You Wear Them
Don’t think that only the clothes we wear on a daily basis (especially now, in face of the new viruses) need to be washed. The new ones also need a gentle wash before you put them on.
This is to avoid the risk of these fabrics causing skin diseases, such as dermatitis and even scabies. Believe it or not, new clothes can transmit fleas, and lice, and even cause respiratory problems and poisoning.
One of the major problems with newly purchased fabrics is that you may not be the first person to try them on and you are definitely not the first person to handle them, as they pass from one production unit to another, factories to warehouses, and stores.
Clothes in general, including those made of natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen, can receive a variety of chemical treatments, especially during the manufacturing process, whether to gain color or prevent stains. All these factors can pose risks to your well-being.
What Areas Of The Body Are Most Vulnerable?
According to Shirly Chi (MD), a dermatologist based in California, when chemical substances applied to tissues harm the skin, what is most often observed are symptoms of intense itching and rashes that can develop into sores.
“The most affected parts are generally those that have greater contact with clothes and perspire, because when we sweat it comes in contact with the fabric dyes.
For example, the effect obtained is as if they were being diluted in water and they end up being released in greater amounts. Therefore, pay attention to the armpits, intimate region, inner thighs, and buttocks”, he recommends.
To avoid dermatitis, it is important to wash new clothes before using them.
People who have already developed allergies to a certain component have the possibility of developing others; this can further aggravate a condition of dermatitis in progress, due to friction with the skin.
Allergic reactions can still be delayed, causing rashes that appear a few days after wearing clothing and can last for weeks.
Formaldehyde Harms The Skin And Airways
In addition to the problems caused by the use of chemical dyes and anilines, leaving residues on clothes can also cause, in more serious cases, skin burns, another cause for concern is formaldehyde (formaldehyde).
Although controlled in several countries, its toxicity is high and it can be applied in the form of resins during the manufacturing process of fabric pieces to guarantee a new appearance, firm fit, and quick drying.
Most people do not have reactions to this substance, which has a strong smell and is known for its preservative and antibacterial properties, but they can occur, even more so if sensitivity or predisposition to skin allergy is found.
Even exposure to a low level of formaldehyde can be enough to trigger uncomfortable skin rashes or more serious conditions, such as eczema with crusts and blisters in different areas of the body.
When it comes to the respiratory system when inhaled, formaldehyde can also trigger inflammatory processes in the airways, in addition to sneezing, itching, and dryness of the mucous membranes.
In more serious situations, it causes coughing, shortness of breath, burning throughout the body, and intoxication.
Washing Removes Most Hazards
To get rid of the health problems associated with new clothes, the solution is simple; just wash them. If you include old clothes in this process, so as not to stain them, check first if the new ones release color when wet and, if so, wash them separately.
When Wearing A New Outfit, Be Aware If Itchy
Also, pay attention to the labels to understand how a fabric is meant to be washed. Is it suitable for machine washing? By hand or dry? Is it suitable in hot or cold water? And whether or not to accept bleach and if they can be ironed. In general, most fungi, bacteria, mites, and chemical substances go away with just one wash
If symptoms such as itching, redness, and dryness of the skin are noticed, it is best to check the rinse water and, if necessary, wash the clothes again. If it doesn’t work, it’s best to see a doctor.
Once the washing step is completed, if possible, also try to extend the pieces in an airy place or in the sun and, before putting them away, iron and clean drawers and cabinets.
Also, depending on the person’s sensitivity, dry products, such as solvents, can trigger skin irritations, although the risk is lower because they are certified.
The fabrics go through a series of procedures so that they have that attractive color and that perfect shape. There are even laws, which vary from one country to another, that regulate the permissible level of chemicals (paint, resin, formaldehyde, etc.) with traces of elements capable of harming health.
Not to mention that the clothes are tried on in the changing rooms by several people – who can transmit germs, bacteria, and even lice. However, there is no scientific evidence that new clothes can transmit any skin disease.
What can happen is an allergic reaction to some substance that may have been used in the manufacturing process. The good news is that soap and water are enough for a good cleaning.
Basic Care When Washing New Fabrics
1. Take the color test
Before washing colored items, do the color test: when dampening a part of the garment, place it on a white cloth and then iron it. If ink comes off, wash it separately.
2. Use appropriate products
If the piece is delicate, use products appropriate for it or choose one that fits all types of fabric.
3. Separate the pieces according to color
This one is old, but it’s worth reinforcing, isn’t it? Sort the pieces according to color – white, black, or colored. You can also opt for a product that revives the colors or versions for dark clothes. The idea is to take care not to fade the clothes so that they remain as new for a long time.
4. Keep an eye on the sauce pieces
If you are going to soak the pieces in water, the idea is to follow the instructions on the product label, this will give you a guided process on how best to wash that particular fabric.
5. Attention to parts that are washed for the first time
Another good option will be to pay attention to the amount of product indicated for use in washing. That way, the rinse is ideal without the need for an extra water cycle.
6. Use fabric softener
Using a fabric softener makes washing that new fabric easier and it also leaves it with a good scent.
7. The way of drying is also important
Dry the clothes as indicated on the garment label.
8. Iron temperature
To finish this cleaning of new clothes, use the iron at the appropriate temperature for each type of fabric. You can also check the product label for needed recommendations.