What You Need To Know Before Buying Clothes That Claim To Be ‘Wrinkle-Free’
Having wrinkle-free clothes is great and all, but one chemical—formaldehyde—is often used in wrinkle-free clothes, but it might not be that safe for you. The chemical helps reduce wrinkling and shrinking in some clothes (you’ll see tags that say “wrinkle-free”). Used in such low levels in clothing, it shouldn’t be of major concern, but it has been linked to rashes and headaches (and formaldehyde in general is a known carcinogen). It’s most potent when items are brand-new (think: that new-clothes smell)—one reason some tags advise washing before you wear. And while that does help, the compound will continue to degrade over time, evaporating from your clothes.
What to do? Always wash before that first wear (a couple of times can’t hurt), and if you buy your duds online, unbox the packages in a well-ventilated room—the items have been trapped inside with the chemicals. To minimize your exposure, look for brands that limit or rid formaldehyde from their clothes, such as Eileen Fisher and The Vibrant Body Company (an intimates line).