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Why Dermatologists Insist You Wash Your Brand New Clothes Before Wearing Them (& How To Ensure They’re Germ-Free)

Germs That Can Live On Your New Clothes Bacteria: Staphylococcus (staph) can cause infection and is more likely to impact those with eczema and cause flare-ups Viruses: While Coronavirus has been shown to be able to survive on fabric for only a couple of hours, other viruses, such as Norovirus (i.e., vomiting bug), is more likely to be spread through contaminated clothing.  Fungus: Fungi are a very common cause of skin rashes and itching depending on which part of the body they affect. These can spread easily and, in susceptible people, can be very troublesome and recurrent.

Other Factors That Can Affect Your Skin If You Don’t Wash Your New Clothes Before Wearing Them Clothing Dyes: In addition to germs, new clothing can also have excess dyes on them. These dyes can bleed out of the clothing as you sweat onto your skin and can sometimes cause allergic reactions. Chemical Irritants: Clothing is often treated with stain repellents, colour-fasteners, anti-wrinkle agents, softness-enhancers, and any number of other chemical treatments. These chemicals can cause contact dermatitis or itchy painful rashes.

New clothing, especially those that have been tried on before purchasing, could potentially contain harmful bacteria. Broadly speaking, most germs can survive on fabrics for quite some time. The main micro-organisms we are likely to be exposed to on clothes are bacteria, viruses, and fungus, including yeast and mould. Whilst the risk of becoming seriously ill from new clothes is small, it is advisable to wash new clothes before wearing them to reduce the risk of transmission. Bear in mind that numerous people may have worn or returned items before your purchase.

1. What are the risks of wearing new clothes before washing?

If you are concerned about bacteria and viruses, consider washing your laundry at temperatures above 56°C. However, where possible, it is advisable to wash your clothes at lower temperatures to help reduce energy consumption and keep your utility bills down. It is important to note that washing clothes at higher temperatures can increase the risk of damage. Before washing clothes, make sure to read the care label carefully and follow the specific wash instructions for each garment.

2. What are the 5 laundry hacks to make your clothes fresh, clean, and germ-free?

Avoid lint build-up by regularly cleaning out the filters on your washer and dryer. Turn your clothes inside out if necessary. Also, having a lint roller in your closet is always a good investment for those just-in-case moments.

3. How can you prevent lint from getting onto your clothes?

To avoid colour bleeding into other items, be sure to separate your washing, sorting your loads into a dark wash and a light wash. To protect your clothes from bleeding and fading, set your wash onto a gentle cycle at a low temperature of around 30°C. Some washing machines will feature dedicated wash cycles that are designed to protect your garments. Finally, as mentioned previously, make sure you have not overloaded your washing machine or dryer before washing a new load of laundry. Always follow the care labels on each garment before washing them.

4. How can you prevent colour bleeding of new clothes?

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