Should new clothes be washed?

They’re brand new, wonderfully soft, and we just want to do one thing with them: wear them straight away! But is this a good idea? Should we wash them before we wear them or sleep in them? We give you some practical advice.

Should I wash my clothes before wearing them for the first time?

Yes, because your nice little dress or cute jumper may contain chemical products that are bad for your health. 

In fact, the chemical products added during the manufacturing of your clothing, such as chlorine for example, can cause skin irritations and allergies. Traces of phthalates, used by manufacturers to soften plastics, are often present on patterns, inscriptions and designs stuck onto clothing. They are only dangerous when swallowed, but children could put them in their mouths. Clothing can also contain alkaline chemical residue, which is a potential irritant. In order to create t-shirts that are immaculately white, manufacturers use products with a high alkaline content. 

But don’t panic just let! By always washing your clothes before wearing them, you can avoid any risks of irritation linked to this chemical residue. 

Should I wash my clothes before sleeping in them for the first time?

Yes, it’s a good idea for the same reasons explained above. Just like new jumpers and trousers, nightwear can contain chemical products that can be washed away with a simple machine wash. What’s more, if you buy an article of clothing from the market or off the peg, many people’s hands, which are not always clean, may have touched it...Hello germs! 

Advice: Do you have the habit of sleeping in the t-shirt you’ve worn right throughout the day? This is definitely not an example to follow...The sweat that leaves your body naturally during sleep is added to that which was produced throughout the day. The result: bacteria, which feed on sweat, multiply. Now that’s not exactly cleanliness at its best...and it’s not great when it comes to body odour either! 

Good to know: Does the item of clothing you’ve just bought display wash-care symbols? If the symbols are incomplete or missing, beware! It is unlikely that this article respects European quality standards. Beware of skin irritations...  

Choose the best washing cycle even after the first wash: 

Natural materials (wool, angora, silk, linen, cashmere, etc.) should always be hand washed in cold water.

Synthetic materials (nylon, lycra, dralon, coolmax, gore-tex, etc.) can be washed in the washing machine and tumble-drier unless they contain stretch material. 

Organic cotton: this type of textile causes no allergies or skin irritations. Organic cotton contains no pesticides, no chemical products and no heavy metals. It is therefore very gentle on the skin. However, it is recommended that a dressing gown made from this material be washed at 40° C before wearing it for the very first time. 

Silk: an initial hand wash is essential as the dye on the material can bleed. 

Velvet and dark materials: This type of clothing, which attracts fluff, should not be washed with materials containing fibres that tend to come away such as towels, for example. Be careful of black clothes, which can turn grey! The solution: favour short wash cycles, on a low temperature, with just the right amount of washing powder. Most importantly, turn dark-coloured clothing and jeans inside out to wash. 

Colourful clothing: Before putting a new red jumper, for example, in the washing machine, it is highly recommended that you carry out a quick test. Dip one sleeve into very hot water and then wring it out onto a white tea towel. If the tea towel turns pink, this jumper needs to be washed on its own in the machine or by hand in cold water. To be extra careful, do the test again before the second wash!  


Before washing your clothes, always remember to button up your items of clothing and turn them inside out.

This simple tip avoids colours from fading over time. Why not get into the habit of doing this right from the first wash!


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