Why do new clothes not absorb water as easily as old ones?

Fabrics before being made into garments pass through several process sequences like bleaching, dyeing, finishing, pre-shrink and the like. To improve the aesthetic appearances, fabrics are normally finished with chemical softeners to improve feel, handle, suppleness and bounce of the garments. These chemical softeners are also added to improve the ease of sewability, otherwise needle holes may appear along the stitches. These chemical softeners are of two types (hydrophobic and hydrophilic). Commonly all dyers used to prefer hydrophobic softeners because it was cheaper. These hydrophobic softeners, while applying, are superficially deposited on the surface of the fabrics and will not allow the garments to absorb water. But these softeners are not permanent and could be washed away during subsequent laundering of the garments. The older garments may not have these softeners after five to six laundering cycles and hence will absorb water quickly compared to new ones.

Source: thehindu.com