By Darakhshan Roohi
Who remembers the House M.D episode where two teenagers almost died because they did not wash the clothes they recently got? What happened, you ask?
They bought clothes from the back of a truck where the seller had put them with pesticides. The clothes had soaked in the pure chemicals, and the kids were dying from severe exposure until Dr House saved them with his cunning tricks.
But the point is, you should wash your clothes before you wear them, and here we explain a few of many reasons it’s so important.
Skin Reactive Dyes
Azo Aniline dyes are commonly used on polyester and other common fabric types. These are exceptionally reactive dyes that are known for causing skin irritation and allergies. It is extensively used in baby clothes as the fabric requires special colouring and styling.
Even if you are a little lazy about washing your clothes, make sure that you are washing your infant’s clothes before putting her in the onesie. Babies have delicate skin and an easily affected disposition. Make sure that you keep them protected from harmful chemicals.
Can you tell if you were exposed to Azo Aniline dyes? Yes, your skin will develop a rash similar to poison ivy. In mild cases, you will have dry and inflamed patches of skin where the chemical-soaked fabric is touching your skin.
Now that we are done with pesticides, let’s discuss the pests!. Ever heard of Athlete’s Foot? A truly discomforting fungal foot rash that can cause an unpleasant itch and stink. Unfortunately, it can spread. You can be exposed to this fungus by trying on clothes in the dressing room or wearing newly bought items without washing them! Yuck!
Other “nice” candidates for problem-making include head lice, yeast infections, and scabies! If you are willing to take that risk, then it is on your head, literally!
We have covered dyes but let us move to chemical finishes. Dyes are exclusive, they will only be used in certain fabrics, chemical irritants, on the other hand, are used in every textile finish. Urea Formaldehyde is used to preserve the colour and texture of the material. It’s not in itself reactive, but if you have sensitive skin or skin conditions, it will irritate.
When fabric is exposed to exuberant amounts of chemicals, then it can be very harmful to your skin. Children wear new clothes every year as they grow, so are extensively exposed to irritants that can make them overly sensitive and cause reactions.
Blues, reds, oranges, and black are all colours that tend to leave a stain. Your black shirt, if worn without washing, will leave black marks on your skin, particularly in hot weather. You will have clear red stains and blue stains if you sweat in a new shirt in these hues.
Stained clothes will make you look ill-groomed and unprofessional, and you certainly don’t want that to be your boss’s impression when you walk into work! A good solution is to wash your new clothes to make sure that they are not holding any surprises.
But It Will Ruin The New Feel!
You got a hundred dollar party dress that you have no idea how to wash. It’s beautiful, and if it is ruined, you will lose a hundred dollars! We get it, you want to risk the exposure as long as you have the dress for that evening. You have our permission to ignore the warning label, just this once.
But how about the new jeans you bought? These are truly dipped, and double dipped in chemicals and dyes, and then they are processed with more chemicals for the final finish. I implore you to consider washing them, your everyday t-shirts, and socks, etc.
These clothes are worn for full days, and they can release their chemicals, especially if they become damp. As long as you are going to sweat, they are going to release them bad-boy chemicals.
Let’s Get Real!
No one is always going to wash every new clothing item they buy. But here are a few important things that you should wash before you wear.
- Undergarments: They are in constant contact with your private parts. If you get a rash, infection, or athlete’s foot there, God help you!
- Baby and Toddler Clothes: Little ones have delicate skin. They are best served with pre-washed clothes.
- When there is a “wash before wearing” tag: Seriously, they do not put that tag on for no reason!
Now that we have put the fear of fabric in you, go unload those shopping bags or rip open those recently delivered packages, take out your new clothes and put them in the wash! Your skin will thank you for it!