Let’s talk about hygiene when it comes to shopping for clothes. What I have learned from my experience of shopping with both female and male clients is that a lot of people don’t wash the clothes after they buy them, and sometimes even wear them out of the store. Why is this not good? For two reasons.
First, and it is the main one for me, think about how many people have tried the item on before you. They could have had skin viruses or conditions, all kinds of infections, with yeast being one of the most common ones, lice, dandruff, warts…Many tests have been done on randomly picked clothing items from the stores of different levels, from Walmart to Holt Renfrew. And the results were pretty disgusting. I would be especially careful when trying on things like pants and jeans, and obviously underwear and bathing suits. If you are a woman, have you ever tried anything like that on while wearing a thong? What if another woman did the same thing just before you? Makes you cringe, doesn’t it?
Now I recommend to my female clients what I have been always doing myself. When you go shopping for clothes, wear full coverage underwear. Also, if the weather permits, wear sheer pantyhose. This makes trying things on below the waist so much more safer. Wearing pantyhose is also a great idea when you are shopping for shoes, since there are many foot viruses walking around :). Men should always wear socks when trying shoes on.
The second reason why it is important to wash your clothes before you wear them is the amount of toxic chemicals and dyes used to make these items. Have you ever noticed how some of the brand new clothes have a strong smell to them? Toxic chemicals. They might cling to your body, and if you sweat, your body will absorb them. I have a Cat Woman Halloween costume that is made of some kind of artificial material with the look of black leather. Unfortunately, it cannot be washed. It smells so strongly that I have to air it out for a couple of days before I put in on and go fight the crime lol. Good thing is I only wear it once every few years. Or, have you ever noticed how sometimes when you take off new socks or hosiery there is some dark colour that has transferred on your feet and toes?
I have met a lot of fashion buyers during my career in fashion retail. I remember one of them telling me that if people only saw what happens to the clothes on the long journey from were it is made to when we bring it home, they would never, ever wear it before washing. And we should never dress our children in unwashed clothes! Very recently, my son developed some kind of redness on his skin. I took him to the doctor right away, who said it was an allergic reaction to something. He was asking me if my son had been in contact with something new, like new food, skincare product, or…if he wore a new clothing item that has not be washed, and he could had an allergic reaction to the chemicals or dyes.
There are some items that you should not be washing, like gowns or suits, especially jackets. Fortunately, jackets are worn on top of other things, so it is not terrible. And gowns are not worn too often, sadly :). What you can try doing, if it is safe for the specific fabric, is to steam the item a little bit. I have a steamer that can be used not only to steam the wrinkles out, but also to steam clean things like mattresses and duvets. The heat kills a lot of common unpleasant little organisms. So you can try using it to freshen up anything that cannot be washed. Keep in mind though that some fabrics are sensitive to heat, so do a spot test first.
About dry cleaning…Since the traditional process involves using chemicals that stay on your clothes, it is not great for your skin. Especially if the item is worn close to your body, with nothing underneath. Natural dry cleaners are a better option. Also, you have to make sure you remove delicate decorations like fur collars or bone buttons before having your clothes dry cleaned, or they can get damaged. Once again, if you can steam clean at home, do that first. It will save you money, time, and will limit your exposure to chemicals. I bought my steamer at Costco for around $100, and it is such a convenient thing to have!
Last, but definitely not least, clean your hands often when you are at the mall. And make sure you always, always, always shower when you come home after trying on clothing.
If you want more details, here is a link to Dr. Mercola’s article on this topic.
Enjoy safe shopping!