New Wardrobe Woes
Skipping the wash cycle with new clothes can cause Contact Dermatitis, which happens when your skin is “exposed to a substance that irritates your skin or triggers and allergic reaction.”
Allergic contact dermatitis can cause a delayed reaction of a rash appearing a few days after wearing the unwashed items. This rash can last weeks and be itchy, painful and may require medical attention.
“When we see allergic contact dermatitis from clothing, it’s usually from disperse dyes,” says Dr. Susan Nedorost, a professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University and director of the dermatitis program at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.
Synthetic clothing, such as polyester or nylon, use disperse dyes. The level of dye is typically higher in unwashed, brand-new items of clothing.
These disperse dyes are released when you wear the clothing, released by sweat or friction.
Beware of Brand-New Clothes
In addition to an existing allergy, these disperse dyes can also cause someone to develop an allergy. In rare cases, if enough dye is leached onto an open wound on your body it could activate your immune system and can create a lasting sensitivity.
“By washing new clothing, you might remove a little extra dye and so have a lower exposure,” Nedorost says.
An uncomfortable rash isn’t the only health issue found in wearing unwashed, new items.
In a 2014 study, researchers from Stockholm University in Sweden tested 31 clothing samples that were “diverse in color, material, brand, country of manufacture, and price, and intended for a broad market.” They found a type of chemical compound called “quinoline” (or one of its derivatives) in 29 of the 31 samples. The levels of this chemical tended to be higher polyester garments.
Quinoline is used in clothing dyes, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a “possible human carcinogen” based on some studies linking it to “tumor-initiating activity” in mice. However, the agency also states that no human studies have been conducted to assess the cancer-causing potential of quinoline.
Wash and Wear
When you get your new 2019 school clothes home this year, make sure to toss them in the wash before you send the kids off to school.
Washing clothing prior to wearing them helps to reduce the content of chemicals from the dye or residual chemicals leftover from the manufacturing process.
Save time by bringing your laundry to one of our locations and we can wash, dry, and fold the items for you. You have enough to worry about getting the kids ready for school, let us take some of the load off by doing the loads for you!
Click to learn more about our Wash/Dry/Fold Laundry Service.