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Should You Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them?

We've all heard that you should wash new clothes before wearing them, but when your mom is no longer doing your laundry for you, washing brand new (and seemingly clean clothes) seems like a waste of time.

So do you really need to be washing your new clothes before you wear them? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While wearing fresh-off-the-rack clothes won't kill you (I've been doing it for years and I'm just fine...though perhaps a little dirty), there are some pretty convincing reasons why you should do a load of laundry before donning your new items.

Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, spoke to The Wall Street Journal about washing new clothes. Basically, the biggest risk of skipping a first wash is potential skin irritation or allergic reaction. New clothes are saturated in dyes and formaldehyde, and an initial wash is the best way to avoid irritation.

Apart from that , there's also another pretty gross reason to wash new items. "I have seen cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on in the store, and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing," Belsito explained. "The other infestation I've seen from clothing is scabies." Can you think of anything more unpleasant than catching scabies from a new pair of jeans? I cannot.

Belsito actually recommends washing new items twice: "In terms of hygiene, it's a very good thing to do," he told the Journal. "Being a dermatologist, I've seen examples of some strange stuff, so I don't take any chances." Twice sounds like overkill, but he's definitely convinced me to stop ripping off the tags and immediately showing off my new purchases.

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