Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Packing It In

So I have a question for you, my friends:

When you buy a piece of new clothing, do you wash it once before you wear it? I am a definite washer before wearer because my mother always did that for us.

See, my mom was "green" way before it was on the national radar. She was always concerned about environmental toxins, and when she learned, many years ago, that formaldehyde was used to treat clothing at the factory to retain sharp creases through shipping, into the washer every new piece of clothing went. Before it touched our tender skin.

I don't know if formaldehyde is still used on clothing, but now it has become an involuntary action for me. I wash the clothes before the kids wear them.

It never occurred to me that other people didn't do this until I married Rob and saw him rip open a bag of underwear and put on a pair. Directly from the package, no washing, all that formaldehyde rubbing off on him. In his most vulnerable regions.

Is that why my kids are so weird sometimes? Huh.

Now, every time I wash a new piece of clothing, I wonder if other people do this or if I am just a little spastic. My money is on the latter.

In other unrelated news, I am knee deep in packing for our upcoming vacation to North Carolina. I am having a swell time trying to cram approximately three tons of crap into two suitcases. We don't have any spare room in the van, and as it stands now someone is getting strapped to the roof rack if they bring me one more thing and say, Do you think you can fit this in the suitcase? I don't care if it's a Q-tip, it's off to the roof rack.

And also? Bun and I are sick. It's just a cold, more annoying than anything else, but it is making both of us grumpy.

I think there must be some law of the universe that says someone always has to be sick on vacation because it happens to us every. single. time. We now build sick time into our plans.

On the bright side, though, I'm thinking that medicating myself and the baby will make the ride
much more quiet and enjoyable.

Especially if we put someone on the roof rack.

PS: And seriously, I want to know about the clothes. It won't stop me from all the washing, but it will satiate my curiosity. Thanky kindly.


  1. I only recently (this summer!) heard about the formaldehyde.

    But the only thing I ever wash before wearing is underwear and pajamas. And anything I buy at Goodwill, of course! But any other new clothing (socks, jeans, shirts, whatever) just get worn.

    I couldn't stand to wait that long to wear my new "whatever it is" if I had to wash and dry it first!

  2. Anonymous9:43 PM

    depends on the clothes---underware, definitely--a shirt, maybe, maybe not. Any kids clothes---YES--they have sensitive skin probs and anytime I think it will be ok there is a break out.

    -Lisa L (from the beach!)

    p.s. have a GREAT trip and feel better!

  3. Anonymous6:21 AM

    I wash them before we wear them. Nothing is made in the US now so who knows what the standards are for chemicals?

    Good luck on vacation. May the cold be the only bump in the road!

  4. i never wash first.
    mostly because i am really lazy!
    it's the one time the item can be worn *without* me having to wash it first! heh

  5. I wash undergarments first. Unless I am desperate and then only underpants. Bras can be worn without washing. 99.9% of the time I wash the kids' stuff first, but i will say that it has happened to me that one of my kids was on an antibiotic and, well, the diaper didn't stand the pressure, so I had to buy a new outfit at the store because I didn't have a change of clothes in the diaper bag.

    I never knew about the formaldehyde. I'm washing everything first from now on.

  6. I rarely wash things first. I know I probably should, but I'm doing enough laundry washing the dirty things. I just don't have it in me to wash clean things. Enjoy your vacation. My baby is sick too.

  7. Anonymous8:52 AM

    I like to wash them before wearing them because you never know if someone bought the item, wore it once with the tags hidden and then returned it. And how many people tried that pair of pants on before you bought it? Hmmm? Kinda gross when you think about it. And don't think you're safe with stuff in sealed, prepackaged bags like underwear. You'd be surprised at how some people can try one on and seal it up again using their home food sealer devices.

    So I try to wash before wearing but... many times we are running to the store to buy something that is needed and don't have a chance to wash it first. And my Honey doesn't care but he grew up in a communist country and you didn't waste your soap washing a perfectly clean piece of clothing there. ;)

    Good luck with the packing and hope everyone is feeling better and healthy for a fun family vacation!

  8. I do wash most stuff and ALWAYS the kids stuff.

    Sometimes I don't wash new dress pants first. They always look nicer when they first come from the store. Underwear, ALWAYS. Pajamas ALWAYS.

    After T's comment I'll be washing everything from now on. Gross!

    Have a wonderful vacation. The Little Man was sick for ours. Happens every time. Feel better!!

  9. I don't usually, OK, I never wash anything first - Just buy and wear. But I always feel guilty about it, even though I'd never heard about the formaldehyde until this post. Don't know why I felt guilty, actually.

  10. GeeGee3:04 PM

    I always wash first. 3 reasons: My mom always did it; the chemicals; and the dyes. One more note: Have you ever SMELLED the clothing that comes out of some plastic bags, especially mail-order items from over-seas. Most affordable stuff is made so very cheaply and your nose will clue you in...

  11. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Sometimes I wash the new clothes (because my mom did), but sometimes the kids (like me) can't wait to model what's new and so they want to wear it before I have a chance to wash it- This probably doesn't help you at all.
    Have a great vacation- we are headed to Delaware tomorrow and I too have issued the roof rack threat. Actually, I am thinking of sitting there myself- it has got to be quieter than the car.
    Mirabella MOM

  12. I ALWAYS prewash underpants... but not bras. I ALWAYS prewash pajamas but usually not dress clothes. I generally prewash pants to make them softer. Dry clean only stuff... well, I try not to buy too much of that :D

    Have fun at the beach!

  13. I never wash things. I usually leave the tags on until the last possible second because I make a lot of impulse buys and I like the option to return something weeks later. on the other hand, I recently came to the realization my impulse buys, that turn into my impulse returns, are just an excuse to get back into the store to make another impulse buy. you know, that way I am not shopping, I am returning things! maybe I should wash things, break the cycle. besides, I never heard of the formaldehyde thing, I am pretty disturbed by this.

  14. I wash everything before we wear, with the exception of winter coats maybe (and if they are washable they might get washed too). I always have. It just feels itchy, scratchy unless you wash it. I once noticed a girlfriend rip the store tags off her baby's pajamas before she put them on and I was appalled. Many years later I am still scarred! :o)


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