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Do You Wash Your Clothes Right After Buying Them?

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Help us settle a debate.

Photo: Martin Poole/Getty Images

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There is disunity a-brewing on the otherwise placid sea of Racked dot com. The source? We can’t agree on whether you should wash your clothes immediately after purchasing them or not. Actually, it’s not that we can’t agree — it is almost without question the most hygienic option — but that many of us (present company included) are just straight-up lazier than we are germaphobic.

The simple question, raised in our office chat, prompted an immediate outcry of “what”s, “wtf”s, and “wait no should I??”s, followed by a rousing rebuttal of “WHAT ABOUT UNDERWEAR YOU GUYS.” All very reasonable replies! But someone has to be wrong, or else why did we invent the internet?

Laundering just-bought clothes appears to be a matter of upbringing and of habit; nobody seems to be able to conceive of doing other than what they’ve always done. Says Julia, “I do not judge people who don’t, but I just have to. And I don’t wash clothes often at all!” Britt points out that, even in the case of underwear, there’s a strong chance that someone else has already tried it on (or possibly even worse, bought it and returned it). And Emma brings a concern gleaned from her mother, which is that apparently there are chemicals used to make clothes appear to be in better shape in-store, which could cause problems for people with sensitive skin. (This sentiment is echoed in nearly all of the articles above.)

On the other hand we have Tiffany, who admits, “For me [not washing] is one of those things where I know it's kinda icky but I do it anyway. Like, ugh, toilet seats.” This is the camp in which I pitch my own unwashed tent, and I would like to add that pretty much the only time I ever buy underwear is when I’ve neglected to do laundry for a long time and have no clean ones of my own; washing the new ones would utterly defeat the purpose. Also, the majority of us live in New York City, where having a washing machine in your home is rare enough that it makes a solidly appealing Tinder bio.

But we would like to hear from you, dear readers, friends, and frenemies. Tell us of your own habits, and maybe, with time and effort, we will adjust ours.

Poll

This is a circle of trust: Do you wash your new clothes?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Of course! You’re disgusting.
    (300 votes)
  • 9%
    I’m going to start now that you’ve made me consider it.
    (77 votes)
  • 49%
    Never, lol.
    (405 votes)
  • 4%
    I have another answer, which I am going to tell you all about in the comments or on some form of social media.
    (35 votes)
817 votes total Vote Now