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View Full Version : Do you wash new clothes before wearing them for the first time?


Mean Mr. Mustard
12-28-2010, 11:06 AM
Mods: please close; posted in wrong forum. Sorry 'bout that.

I got a stack of new clothes sitting on my bed in a pile. I'm debating whether to wash them or simply put them away unwashed. In the past I've just removed tags and folded new clothes, but I have a feeling I should be washing them first.

They are mostly T shirts, sweatshirts, pajama pants and jeans, so wrinkling is not much of a concern.

[Poll located in IMHO]

Mean Mr. Mustard
12-28-2010, 11:11 AM
I got a stack of new clothes sitting on my bed in a pile. I'm debating whether to wash them or simply put them away unwashed. In the past I've just removed tags and folded new clothes, but I have a feeling I should be washing them first.

They are mostly T shirts, sweatshirts, pajama pants and jeans, so wrinkling is not much of a concern.


mmm

kapri
12-28-2010, 11:13 AM
I always wash underwear before I wear it. Jeans, not usually, although if I stopped to think about all the bodies that may have tried on those jeans, I probably would.

Chessic Sense
12-28-2010, 11:16 AM
Of course not. What's there to wash away?

bouv
12-28-2010, 11:19 AM
Usually not. T-shirts, underwear, socks, pants, nope...but dress shirts yes, because that's the best way to get rid of the creases from how they are packaged. I just wait till laundry day and throw them in with everything else (I do laundry once a week, and rarely have enough for two loads unless I'm also doing towel or my sheets (yeah, I go more than week between sheet washes, what's it to you? (also I've been traveling a lot so I'm only home 2-3 nights a week anyway)), so everyone all goes in one.)

don't ask
12-28-2010, 11:26 AM
It depends where I stole them from.

purplehorseshoe
12-28-2010, 11:28 AM
I never used to. Part of me felt like, "Well, what if it shrinks when I wash it? Might as well get ONE wear out of it first!"

But now .... I dunno, I've seen some skanky hos trying on clothes sometimes. :)

I've heard that now with the bedbug issues in some parts of the country, you should wash any new clothes (used to be it was only thrift store stuff that came with a wash-before-wearing warning, lest you get crabs or something) but for the OP I think piling them onto your bedspread for a few hours may have negated any anti-bedbug washing you may do at this point!

overlyverbose
12-28-2010, 11:34 AM
It depends on the article of clothing and the color. For example, if you're in Victoria's Secret and buy a pair of undies from the bin, you don't know if someone has tried them on or not. They probably haven't, but there's a chance someone has. Or, if I'm wearing a particularly colorful shirt that has dye that could possibly come off on something I'm wearing (very uncommon, but I've had it happen with a magenta shirt and a white bra), I'll wash it. Other than that, I don't wash my own new clothes.

For the kids, on the other hand, all new items get washed as a matter of course. Both have fairly sensitive skin, so we use fragrance-free, everything-else-free detergent.

Chum
12-28-2010, 11:36 AM
I buy all my clothes second-hand (except underwear), and I very rarely wash them before wearing. I know this is kind of gross, but I simply don't care. My general rule, for all laundry, is to wash it if it smells.

Rhiannon8404
12-28-2010, 12:47 PM
I don't usually wash t-shirts, jeans and other stuff unless it feels stiff or weird in some way. I wash underwear, though.

Markxxx
12-28-2010, 12:51 PM
If it's bagged I don't, if it's not bagged I do.

lindsaybluth
12-28-2010, 12:52 PM
Gross. Yes I wash 'em. They've been floating around dirty floors in back rooms and boxed and shipped and handled by filthy hands. People's hands have often touched money and then they touch the clothes. Plus they're being shipped from god knows where - a country with nonexistent cleaning standards of course.

There was a thread awhile back where someone who worked in clothing retail said they sorted clothes in piles on the floor and their hands turned black before the end of the shift.

Ellen Cherry
12-28-2010, 12:55 PM
Mods: please close; posted in wrong forum. Sorry 'bout that.



I moved the thread to IMHO and merged it with the thread with the poll. All is well in Muddville.

Superfluous Parentheses
12-28-2010, 01:03 PM
If they smell. Meaning: almost never - I don't usually buy smelly clothes.

Freudian Slit
12-28-2010, 01:03 PM
It's weird, I usually don't, even though I probably should. I mean, I utterly hate the idea of buying from thrift stores, and people at regular stores have been trying on what I've just bought...maybe I'll start.

Voyager
12-28-2010, 01:04 PM
I don't buy enough new clothes at once to make a separate load, so they go into the normal laundry. The exception is socks - I figure my feet are worse than anything that goes on them.

Zsofia
12-28-2010, 01:06 PM
Never, unless it's underwear or used.

ETA - sometimes the minute you wash something it no longer looks as nice. :)

Squink
12-28-2010, 01:13 PM
The sizing on new shirts, or possibly residual dyes, make them ichy, so they need a wash before I put em on.

aceplace57
12-28-2010, 01:20 PM
The chemical smell on new clothes bother me. New clothes require washing before wearing.

sparky!
12-28-2010, 01:49 PM
I wash everything, just to get that new clothing feel off (odd smells, folds from packaging and overall stiffness).

KneadToKnow
12-28-2010, 01:57 PM
I can't stand the rough feeling of sizing on me, so I absolutely wash clothes before wearing them. Sheets and towels, too.

Ruby
12-28-2010, 01:58 PM
I wash all clothes before wearing. To not would be...icky.

Hilarity N. Suze
12-28-2010, 01:58 PM
If I buy them at the thrift store, yes. If I get them out of the underwear bin, yes. If they have visible stains, yes (plus I will ask for a markdown, and usually will get it) (obviously, some stains will eliminate the item from consideration; I'm talking about makeup, mascara, and other things I can get out). Otherwise no. Love that new-clothes smell.

Freudian Slit
12-28-2010, 02:02 PM
If I buy them at the thrift store, yes. If I get them out of the underwear bin, yes.

Is this underwear bin at the thrift store?! That's too horrible to contemplate.

Harmonious Discord
12-28-2010, 02:52 PM
I wash them before using them for everyday use. I however do wear them when trying them on for fit, so none of your answers are relevant except the last. The biggest reason I wash them is I don't need to turn the color of the fabric dye or have an allergic reaction to the manufacturing residues in the clothes.

Skald the Rhymer
12-28-2010, 02:57 PM
I always launder machine-washable clothes before the first wearing. Dry-clean-only and hand-washables are another story for obvious reasons.

Northern Piper
12-28-2010, 03:09 PM
If they smell. Meaning: almost never - I don't usually buy smelly clothes.
New clothes smell of well, new clothes. I launder to get rid of it.

Eliahna
12-28-2010, 03:21 PM
Underwear. My mother is near-hysterical about wearing new underwear without washing it first, and it had never occurred to me that I could just wear it out of the pack until similar previous threads.

davidm
12-28-2010, 03:28 PM
Yes.

So much stuff comes from China these days and they seem to be careless with toxic materials.

Gordon Urquhart
12-28-2010, 03:46 PM
Underwear and socks, no (there are, to me, few greater pleasures than wearing brand-new never-been-washed white tube socks).

Everything else: yes.

chizzuk
12-28-2010, 03:49 PM
Underwear, yes. I'm never sure if there might be some packaging chemicals on it or whatever, and since *that area* is particularly sensitive to such things and I don't want any infections or nastiness, I wash it. Everything else, whatever.

Though I did see an episode of House where 2 boys nearly died because they bought cheap jeans that turned out to be covered in a pesticide that was absorbed through their skin. That gave me pause.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-28-2010, 03:52 PM
I wouldn't use House as much of a barometer for reality.

I never wash new clothes before I wear them. There's nothing on them.

Second-hand clothes are always washed before they're put on the racks, by the way.

Dung Beetle
12-28-2010, 03:56 PM
I don’t have any sense of smell, so I wash things for my own peace of mind. I would anyway, just at the thought of all the people who touched my new clothes before me.

Barkis is Willin'
12-28-2010, 04:01 PM
I never used to, and frankly still wouldn't, but my wife insists on washing new clothes. "You don't know how many people have tried that stuff on...without underwear!" Ok, dear.

Ellen Cherry
12-28-2010, 04:24 PM
Second-hand clothes are always washed before they're put on the racks, by the way.

How is it that you know this? Walk into Plato's Closet sometime ó there's an odor. A great, big "unwashed clothes" odor.

tr0psn4j
12-28-2010, 04:28 PM
If I buy it from a website, no. Otherwise, yes.

Aspidistra
12-28-2010, 04:32 PM
Do people actually try on underwear in the shop? :eek:. Also, what is this "sizing" you people are talking about?

I've never washed new anythings before use (unless my husband sneaks it into the laundry basket while I'm not looking) and I've never had any ill effects from this, so I'm pretty much going to keep doing it. I mostly buy from second-hand shop, and I blithely assume everything's been washed before donation (I'm sure there are icky people who donate unwashed clothes now and again, but I've never encountered any making it as far as the rack - I think you could tell fiarly easily!) And since I'm quite comfortable touching floors, or other people, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that my clothes might have done so too.

Ellen Cherry
12-28-2010, 04:37 PM
"Sizing" is the starch they put in new clothes, I believe.

Dunkelheit
12-28-2010, 05:15 PM
Of course not. What's there to wash away?

Chemicals, dust, excess dye that can rub off onto your skin, that sort of thing. Also, new clothes often feel stiff and uncomfortable to me until they've been washed the first time, probably due to the chemicals and excess dyes and such.

Dunkelheit
12-28-2010, 05:17 PM
I buy all my clothes second-hand (except underwear), and I very rarely wash them before wearing. I know this is kind of gross, but I simply don't care. My general rule, for all laundry, is to wash it if it smells.

Doesn't it smell like Thrift Store when you bring it home, though? I always try to wash that off before wearing stuff.

Skald the Rhymer
12-28-2010, 05:20 PM
Second-hand clothes are always washed before they're put on the racks, by the way.

HOw do you know this? Have you ever worked in a second-hand store?

lindsaybluth
12-28-2010, 05:22 PM
How is it that you know this? Walk into Plato's Closet sometime ó there's an odor. A great, big "unwashed clothes" odor.

Uh, yeah. I've smelled the odor at every place from Plato's Closet and Goodwill to high end consignment stores (one that turned away Brooks Brothers clothing of mine, that's how fancy it is). When the SO got his Burberry trench it went straight to the dry cleaners. So yeah, these places are not washing stuff beforehand.

LouisB
12-28-2010, 06:00 PM
I wash everything I buy before wearing it. But I don't buy often and my usual purchase it underwear, tee shirts and athletic socks so I just throw it in with my regular wash. Call it what you will, but given the cost of what I buy, I can't see buying it used.

Maybe twice a year I'll buy two or three pair of jeans but that's it.

JSexton
12-28-2010, 06:21 PM
Yes. It's not that I'm skeeved out by someone trying it on, it's just that I assume that there's dust and chemicals and such on them that are probably best washed off first. I've occasionally had to wear clothes immediately after buying (like having pants rip when I'm nowhere near home or forgetting to pack a sweatshirt on a trip) and it's not a big deal.

Khadaji
12-28-2010, 06:58 PM
No. It is one of the few times something I own is wrinkle-less.

Lynn Bodoni
12-28-2010, 07:28 PM
I used to work in a clothing store for several years. And yes, I wash EVERYTHING before I wear it. I usually try it on in the store, so it does touch my skin before it's washed, but I wash before I wear it for any length of time.

There are two reasons. The first is that there are a lot of chemicals on new clothes. There's the sizing, which is used to give clothes some body, and there's the dyes and the stuff used to set the dyes and all the other chemicals. Then there's the other people who have tried on those clothes...some of them have questionable hygiene, and with some of them, there's no question about their hygiene. A LOT of people come to the store after they've been cleaning house, or worked a full shift of physical labor, or before they take their monthly bath, and try on clothes. And yes, people do try on underclothes and swimsuits. They are SUPPOSED to wear their own underclothes under the garments they're trying on, but I wouldn't count on it.

Those clothes have probably been on a filthy factory floor, too.

I advise everyone to wash all garments before the first wearing. I'm not Mrs. Clean myself, but I do have some standards.

twickster
12-28-2010, 07:32 PM
Jeans or other clothing that needs to be softened up for comfort only.

Hilarity N. Suze
12-28-2010, 09:53 PM
Is this underwear bin at the thrift store?! That's too horrible to contemplate.

I mean the underwear bin at Vicky's Secret, not the thrift store! However, there is underwear at the thrift store. I don't buy it, don't touch it, don't even look at it. There is also a selection of used bras. They are hanging on hangers, all gray, or yellowed, and stretched out. Ew

I always launder stuff I donate, but I wouldn't even guess that everybody does, or that the store does. FWIW the things I buy are usually dry clean only stuff, and if I get 'em at the thrift store, the first place they go is to the cleaner, even if they have a tag.

Fair Rarity
12-28-2010, 10:09 PM
Unless for some reason I have to wear it immediately (like having to buy replacements when luggage gets lost), I wash EVERYTHING. I just envision the multitude of people handling my clothes before me and I can feel my skin crawl.

Plus a few years ago when I didn't do it, I thought I was dying when my entire chest was bright orange until I realized it was dye from my sweater. It didn't bleed onto my skin again after I washed it.

Freudian Slit
12-28-2010, 10:34 PM
I mean the underwear bin at Vicky's Secret, not the thrift store! However, there is underwear at the thrift store. I don't buy it, don't touch it, don't even look at it. There is also a selection of used bras. They are hanging on hangers, all gray, or yellowed, and stretched out. Ew

Oh, good. I usually buy my underwear in those little plastic bags (like from Hanes), so I don't wash right before wearing. I wonder if I should now, though...

CanvasShoes
12-28-2010, 10:34 PM
Usually not, unless they have some odd smelling finish or something.

rowrrbazzle
12-28-2010, 10:38 PM
Yes. To remove sizing, excess dye, and lint. Not a health thing, just a personal preference.

Lynn Bodoni
12-29-2010, 12:42 AM
Oh, good. I usually buy my underwear in those little plastic bags (like from Hanes), so I don't wash right before wearing. I wonder if I should now, though...

Yes. To remove sizing, excess dye, and lint. Not a health thing, just a personal preference. My advice is to wash EVERYTHING before wearing, even stuff that's sold in bags, precisely to remove the sizing and extra dy and lint. Not to mention that I could open a bag, allow someone to try on a pair, and reseal the bag so it looked new.

People, it's one extra washing, and you can usually toss the new stuff in with a load of laundry that you'd wash anyway, allowing for color and water temp requirements.

Guinastasia
12-29-2010, 01:14 AM
No, and it never occurred to me to do so.

gaffa
12-29-2010, 05:08 AM
Always. I find unwashed new clothes unbearably itchy. They get one wash according to directions with a white dish towel. If that comes out ok, it then gets the same treatment as all of my other clothes - warm water, normal cycle. Clothes get no coddling from me!

Gleena
12-29-2010, 06:27 AM
Sometimes, I will explain.

If new jeans look as though they will give me blue legs, then yes, I wash them.

My husband, before I met him, once bought a new, bright blue doona cover (a comforter cover, for reference.) His whole body was blue for days after he slept under it without washing it first.

Nava
12-29-2010, 07:28 AM
Do people actually try on underwear in the shop? :eek:. Also, what is this "sizing" you people are talking about?

How else are you supposed to check that the bra fits well, otherwise?

In general, yes with the next load of color-appropriate laundry. But not if it's something like a coat which requires special handling.

Arnold Winkelried
12-29-2010, 03:06 PM
I remember reading a story many years ago about people having a skin problem after putting on some new unwashed jeans (I can't remember any details), similarly to the House episode someone mentioned earlier. I doubt this happens very often, and the story I read could have been an urban legend, but ever since then, I always put new clothes in the laundry basket along with my other dirty clothes and wash them before I put them on the first time. My wife isn't used to washing them beforehand but I try to enforce that rule for the two kids.

Telemark
12-29-2010, 03:28 PM
No, and it never occurred to me to do so.
Same here.

Scubaqueen
12-29-2010, 03:56 PM
I used to work in a clothing store for several years. And yes, I wash EVERYTHING before I wear it. I usually try it on in the store, so it does touch my skin before it's washed, but I wash before I wear it for any length of time.

There are two reasons. The first is that there are a lot of chemicals on new clothes. There's the sizing, which is used to give clothes some body, and there's the dyes and the stuff used to set the dyes and all the other chemicals. Then there's the other people who have tried on those clothes...some of them have questionable hygiene, and with some of them, there's no question about their hygiene. A LOT of people come to the store after they've been cleaning house, or worked a full shift of physical labor, or before they take their monthly bath, and try on clothes. And yes, people do try on underclothes and swimsuits. They are SUPPOSED to wear their own underclothes under the garments they're trying on, but I wouldn't count on it.

Those clothes have probably been on a filthy factory floor, too.

I advise everyone to wash all garments before the first wearing. I'm not Mrs. Clean myself, but I do have some standards.

Oh, hell yes. Do as Lynn says: wash. Wash everything.

I used to work for a high end department store and I can back up everything she says. That chemical smell some of you have mentioned upthread? Thatís not just sizing or dye youíre smelling. Those clothes youíre buying at high end department store x or at your favorite discount store (makes no difference) have been sprayed for vermin and other pests that love to eat fabric.

Critters of the rodent persuasion run free in the warehouse down at my local discount store. How do I know? I worked there. I saw them. Rats. Big rats. If itís like that here, wonder what itís like in the countries represented by the tag on your favorite shirt or pair of slacks? Believe you me, that pretty sweater you just bought for Aunt Harriet is FILTHY.

Next time youíre in one of those high-end stores, watch for those employees who are tasked with returning tried-on clothing to their places on The Floor (the open shopping areas customers are in). Youíll note that at least some of them wear disposable plastic gloves. Why? Because their hands would be grimy, otherwise.

Those clothes sit for weeks or months in third-world factories or on docks and have been handled by countless people before they ever get here to the states. Those clothes that are bagged make no difference. Those clothes that are supposedly pre-washed? Donít chance it.

And, sheís totally right about the bathing suits and underwear. The gross factor goes off the charts from there without being more graphic. Doesnít begin to explain what Iíve seen in dressing rooms.

Not only do I immediately launder or have dry-cleaned anything I purchase to wear, I get myself into the shower as soon as possible. I donít want that stuff on my skin any longer than it has to be.

Really Not All That Bright
12-29-2010, 04:22 PM
It never occurred to me before.

Kyla
12-29-2010, 04:37 PM
I used to not, but SDMB bedbug expert mozhron has made me paranoid, so now I do.

Chum
12-30-2010, 06:43 PM
Doesn't it smell like Thrift Store when you bring it home, though? I always try to wash that off before wearing stuff.

If the clothes smell like Thrift Store, I wash them first. Well, I typically give them a little while to air out and then decide. Usually, they just smell like fabric softener or dryer sheets, which means they smell better than my freshly-laundered-with-eco-friendly-detergent clothes do.

I highly doubt that clothes are laundered by the thrift store before being put on the racks. But I think many people donate clean clothes.

twickster
12-30-2010, 07:48 PM
Jeans or other clothing that needs to be softened up for comfort only.

Just bought some new jeans, which came with a "wash before wearing" tag (though I would have anyway).

causticsubstance
12-30-2010, 11:44 PM
For what it's worth re: thrift stores cleaning clothes before putting it out. I recall a girl who said she worked for Goodwill years ago, and she said that they ran everything through the laundry before putting it out. So at least some thrift stores do launder everything.

So, if you think that perusing the underwear rack there is icky, imagine being the one who had to put them through the washer before they hit the floor.

Back the the OP-- no, usually not I love getting new clothes and I can't wait that long to put them on! So far, no ill has come of it.

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