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Should you wash new clothes before wearing them for the first time?

Clothes travel a long way before they reach the store.

New clothes are definitely not perfectly clean [iStock]

Washing clothes after purchasing is obvious for some people, while for others it is a completely unnecessary activity. And each side has arguments to prove its case.

What do the experts say about this? Is it necessary to put just bought clothes into the washing machine? Or maybe there's no point in doing it at all.

A chemist popular on Instagram spoke on this matter. Not everyone will like her answer.

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Most of us have a habit of washing clothes bought in second-hand stores. However, in the case of stores selling new, unused clothes, the situation is slightly different.

We assume that since no one has worn them before and they go straight from the hanger into our wardrobe, they are clean and there is no point in washing them. This is not entirely true.

Remember that clothes travel a long way before they reach the store. And those on the hanger are measured by different people. They are definitely not perfectly clean. And dust, sweat and cosmetic remnants are the least of our problems.

"Before they reach you, new clothes usually went through hundreds of hands and thousands of kilometres in containers (I'm talking about clothes produced in Asia). Not only can these clothes contain various microbes, but they also contain various substances that residue from the production process," writes Sylwia Panek, a chemist by profession, on her Instagram.

On such a blouse or dress you will find, for example, dyes, pesticides, dioxins that are residues of bleaching, or formaldehyde, which protects clothes against fungi during transport and thanks to which they do not wrinkle. All this means that putting them on the skin may result in a rash, irritation or itching.

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In addition to these troublesome ailments, many substances may have long-term negative effects when in contact with our skin.

"Always wash new clothes before wearing them for the first time," says Panek. Of course, when we measure them in the store, we also expose ourselves to contact with harmful substances and pollutants. It is worth noting, however, that it only lasts a moment and not many hours when we already wear the purchased clothes.

"The advice I give here is not based on my whim or 'I've never had any health problems' type of experience. They are based on research that shows what is actually in these clothes," emphasises the chemist.

The specialist suggests how to wash purchased clothes to remove harmful substances from them. "You can soak new clothes in water with vinegar or citric acid before the first wash," she suggests.

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"I would add about a glass of vinegar to a litre of water, and after an hour of soaking, add it to the washing machine for a normal wash. Alternatively, you can use double rinsing," she writes.

The chemist warns once again not to use fabric softeners that remain in the fabric fibres. Although they soften it and give it a pleasant scent, they also prevent thorough cleaning.

"It's also a lot of unnecessary additives that are supposed to make the smell stay on the fabric longer, and at the same time, we, as consumers, are tempted by dyes, thickeners and emulsifiers that make the liquid look beautiful.

"These ingredients stick to the fibres, sealing them at the same time. If we wash new clothes, all impurities should be washed out during the rinsing stage, but if we add liquid, the rinsing process becomes more difficult," she explained.

The fabric softener is used at the rinsing stage, so its ingredients are no longer rinsed out of our clothes or the washing machine. Therefore, it is worth refraining from using such products to avoid contaminating the washing machine, notes Panek.

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"By the way, you can also soak in water with vinegar or citric acid if you have second-hand clothes that smell intensely of fabric softener and you want to get rid of this smell, or if they stink for another reason," Sylwia Panek concludes.

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This article was originally published on Onet Woman.

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