We ALL do it: go to shops, buy all the clothes, and then go home and put them on our bodies immediately without a care in the world.
Well, it turns out there is actually a pretty gross reason we should be showing patience with our new purchases, and it might just change the way you enjoy your new clothes.
Clothing manufacturing expert Lana Hogue explains to Elle: "You should absolutely wash clothes before you wear them, especially anything that is right next to the skin or that you will sweat on."
The reason? Well, it's not just all those other people who have actually tried on that exact clothing item in the dressing room—even though that should be reason enough—there are also potential dangers from the chemicals on the clothes from the manufacturing process.
"Most of the chemicals used in dyeing fabric and putting those finishes on yarns that allow them to be processed through spinning equipment are known skin irritants," Hogue explains.
Ingredients in the dyes and anti-mildew agents that are sprayed onto clothing textiles can vary from the country of manufacture—and different countries have different laws about chemical use. Hogue says: "Formaldehyde is a category 3 carcinogen, which is the lowest hazard, and the amount is so small that it's assumed it won't remain a threat for very long. But still, who wants to knowingly expose themselves over and over again to carcinogens?"
So, if you want to avoid rashes and even the risk of lice from dressing rooms, you should wash your new purchases before putting them near your skin. Hogue suggests any items which are worn close to the skin such as underwear, T-shirts, dresses, and gymwear should immediately be washed to rid them of any residual sweat or chemicals.
Outerwear or dry-clean-only clothes do not need to be washed, but should be aired before you wear them.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.