Should you wash your new underwear? 

Brand new clothes have a particular smell and feel to them. They typically look fresh, clean, and unused. Given the excitement that new things provoke, the temptation to put them on without washing can be overwhelming. So how necessary is it to wash new clothes, especially underwear, before wearing them? 

It’s a good idea to wash it before wearing it. Like other clothing items, underwear ravels a long way before getting to your home. Along the way, they’re produced in a factory with lots of chemicals like fungicides or dyes that aren’t necessarily good for people.

Clean looking as it may be, your brand-new underwear is likely to be coated in all kinds of bacteria, chemicals, and other funky stuff. This article will explain why you should wash your new underwear before wearing it, how you should do it and what you can do to make it last longer.  

Washing New Underwear 


There is no guarantee that new underwear is clean. It may be covered by microorganisms and chemicals harmful to the skin.

The type and concentration of these contaminants largely depend on the fabric your underwear is made from, the manufacturing process it’s gone through, and the number of people it has come into contact with. 

Reasons Why You Should Wash New Clothes

Here are some reasons why you should wash new underwear before putting it on: 

Pesticides and Fungicides    

Cotton, the material mainly used in making most types of underwear, is often sprayed with pesticides to keep it pest-free while it is growing in the fields. Residue from these toxic chemicals blends into the fabric and makes it to the underwear you buy. 

Fungicides are also widely used to prevent the growth of molds and mildew during transport and storage. 

Chemicals And Dyes 

Synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex are treated with preservative chemicals such as formaldehyde. Harmful dyes are also widely used in place of natural or low-impact dyes to give fabrics qualities such as colorfastness, anti-wrinkling, and softness.

These chemicals and dyes can cause skin irritation, especially to people with sensitive skin. They are also carcinogenic in large quantities. Washing new underwear helps flush out these chemicals.

Human Contact

Before your underwear gets to your shopping cart, it has gone through many hands. This includes people working at the manufacturing plant and those packing the new underwear for shipment.

If you’re buying from a physical store, there is a chance several customers have already touched them to feel the texture or even tried them on.

There is no way of knowing what kind of germs the different people left on the underwear. It could be anything from staphylococcus to norovirus; some can live on the underwear for months.

How To Wash New Underwear 

Now that we’ve established why you should wash your brand-new undies before trying them on, we can look at how to clean them for the best possible results. 

Here are the steps you need to follow: 

  1. Remove unwanted objects: Start by removing and setting aside unwanted things such as the packaging and tags.  
  1. Read the directions: Always check the tag, rear end of the underwear, or the packaging for the washing recommendations from the manufacturer. These instructions are specific to the underwear, taking into account its unique composition and material, and may be in the form of symbols.
  1. Separate the colors: New clothes are very prone to bleeding dye. Avoid mixing the colors, especially the whites and the dark. You can perform a sink test before washing.   
  1. Soak for a few minutes: Add water and detergent to a basin and soak your underwear for up to 5 minutes. Use cold water since heat can destroy the elastics of the underwear. 
  1. Wash by hand: Underwear is generally very delicate, so handwashing is preferable to machine washing. Wash the underwear gently with your hands to flush out the chemicals and bacteria that may be present.  
  1. Rinse: Put the washed underwear into clean water and rinse gently to remove all the detergent. You can rinse in am washing basin or under running water. 
  1. Squeeze and dry: Gently squeeze out as much water as possible from the clean underwear. You can use a clean, dry towel to absorb the water. Use a clothespin to dry or air dry on a clip hanger.  

How To Make Underwear Last Longer 

A Washing Day

As mentioned earlier, most underwear tends to be very delicate. Fortunately, with the right tips and tricks, you can prolong the lifespan of your beloved undies. Here are some tips that you can try: 

  1. Wash your underwear separately: Underwear has different material texture composition than other clothes. As such, mixing them, especially in the washer, may damage the fabric of the underwear. 
  1. Use a washing bag: Washing bags are especially recommended for bras since they have wires that may destroy the washing machine. 
  1. Hang to dry: Dryers are more convenient compared to old-fashioned air drying. However, your undies will likely last longer if you hang them out to dry. If you must use a dryer, set it to low heat to avoid destroying the elastics.   
  1. Have several pairs: Your undies will wear out faster if you wear and wash them frequently. Buy several pairs so that they last longer. 


Underwear is the closest article of clothing to our skin. As such, their cleanliness is of utmost importance. Wearing new underwear before washing exposes you to many nasty chemicals and bacteria which may cause irritation or illness.

If you must try out underwear before buying, avoid wearing it on bare skin. When washing your new underwear, follow the steps and pointers highlighted in the article to preserve its delicate fabric and make it last longer.