Do YOU wash new underwear before wearing it? Experts warn that failing to put pants and bras in the machine puts you at risk of swollen genitals, fungal infections and mastitis 

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  • The Derm Review’s survey of 1,061 consumers examined washing habits
  • Research shows that only one in three Britons wash their pants before wearing
  • Skincare biochemist Elle McCleman reveals dangers including fungal infections

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According to one biochemist, brand new underwear may look clean — wearing fresh pants without washing can put you at risk of skin irritation and infection.

In a survey of 1,061 consumers conducted by skincare experts The Derm Review, 31 percent of consumers admitted that they never wash their new underwear before putting it on.


Skincare biochemist Elle McLeman warns that wearing the new pants can have ‘serious effects’ on skin health, ranging from contact and irritant dermatitis to vulva inflammation.

She revealed that forgetting to wash her trousers beforehand could cause skin irritation due to pigments or fungal infections in the genital area due to previous clients, while dirty bras could lead to mastitis.

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In a survey of 1,061 consumers conducted by skincare experts The Derm Review, 31 percent of consumers admitted that they never wash their new underwear before putting it on. stock image

Bacterial infections on underwear

There can be risks in wearing unwashed clothing of any kind, but the most dangerous garment to wear unwashed is underwear.

The harsh chemicals used on new clothing can irritate intimate areas, while your time on the shop floor increases the risk of uncomfortable or painful infections from fungal and bacterial infections.

How clean is your bed? One in three admits to washing sheets only once a year or less

In a survey of 2,000 people by Hammonds Furniture last year, 30 percent of those who asked admitted they washed their bedding once a year or less, while 38 percent said they washed their coats the same amount. .

More than a quarter of those who asked admitted that they only washed their cushions and blankets once a year, while 18 percent washed their jeans the same number of times.

When it comes to washing underwear, a majority of women said they wash their undergarments after every wear, while a quarter of men admitted to washing their underwear after every five washes.

When it comes to age, Millennials are the cleanest, with 17% washing their clothes once they are worn, while 65+ year olds have the lowest percentage of single use washes with 13% .


“Data shows that many consumers wash their clothes immediately after purchase, however, a large proportion do not,” Alle said.

‘Although the risks are generally low, not washing new clothing can have serious effects on skin health, including contact and irritant dermatitis, vulvitis, or inflammation of the vulva, and other fungal or bacterial infections.

‘When it comes to underwear, chemical irritants, as well as fungal and bacterial contamination, are real possibilities. Whereas by not washing the new bra, the consumer can face many issues like staphylococcus and yeast infection.

The risk of mastitis without a washed bra

Forgetting to wash a bra means the garment will still be covered with bacteria from being handled by staff and customers before purchase.

This can be especially dangerous for new mothers who are breastfeeding their babies because they are more vulnerable to conditions such as mastitis, an inflammation of the breast tissue that often leads to infection.

Elle added: ‘Breastfeeding mothers should be especially concerned about washing their bras, as this can increase the risk of mastitis.’

Rashes caused by dyes in shirts and trousers

New shirts often contain dyes that can cause rashes and irritation, while forgetting to wash your trousers can lead to fungal infections in the genital area and feet due to other customers trying on the garment in advance.

“Unwashing shirts or trousers can cause consumer irritation and itching caused by dyes, which can lead to a red rash, especially in areas where the upper body sweats,” Elle said.

‘Wearing unwashed pajamas can set off athlete’s foot even from people who have tried this pair before you.’

‘While a man’s genital area can develop a fungal infection in the same way, caused by fungal spores and contamination.’

Fungal infection from display shoes

While shoes are one of the safest items to wear without washing, it is not without the risk of wearing a pair of trainers without pre-cleaning them.

Performance shoes are especially risky because many customers have tried them on – leaving behind fungus, chemicals, and bacteria that can cause irritation or infection.

Elle said: ‘Overall, buying new shoes is not likely to be an issue, however, when we consider who may have tried or worn that shoe before us, the lack of cleaning after purchase can lead to an adverse reaction or infection. The risk may increase. .’

‘Fungus, chemicals and bacteria can be present in all new shoes as much as they are slightly more when buying performance shoes, compared to the average purchase of fabric.’

‘Overall, it is important that people are aware of the risks of not washing their new purchases.

‘While the risk from new clothing is generally low, some items (such as underwear) almost certainly need to be washed before wearing, if nothing else than to refresh them and prevent any potential exposure.’


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