About a week ago Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss, made quite a few headlines after he declared on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, California that you shouldn’t wash your jeans. “These jeans are maybe a year old and these have yet to see a washing machine,” Bergh admitted while onstage.
Even Bergh realizes “that sounds totally disgusting.” But, how should you clean your jeans then?
Bergh recommends that you spot clean with a sponge or toothbrush and some detergent. He also suggests that you air dry your jeans and only seldom use the washing machine.
Bergh’s statements may have sparked curiosity, but he’s definitely not the first person to make this sort of claim. Tommy Hilfiger has previously stated that you shouldn’t wash your jeans, as has Anderson Cooper from CNN.
But, if you’re worried about cleanliness, a 2011 study from the University of Alberta discovered “that bacteria levels were similar between a pair of jeans that were never washed and a pair washed every two weeks.”
Despite realizing that you don’t have to wash your jeans all the time, has anyone answered the main question; how often should you wash your jeans?
It’s been suggested by Sara Rogers, Mall of America trend specialist, that “Every six months, I think, would be the most I would go, and for most people probably every two months is good.” But, certain situations may force you to wash your jeans more often. For example after doing yard work you’ll have to wash your jeans, but just going out on a date may not require a washing. In other words, it depends what you’re doing and your hygiene preferences.
With that in mind, here are a few other pointers on adding longevity to your jeans, but also keeping them clean.
- Freeze Your Jeans Overnight: According to Elle, this will kill bacteria.
- Wash Your Jeans Inside Out: This will reduce the indigo dye from bleeding and prevents friction, which means they’ll last longer.
- Wash in Cold Water: This will prevent shrinkage.
- Use Right Cleaning Products: Some have argued that vinegar should be used, however there’s not a lot of science to back that claim up. You could use a detergent like Synthrapol SP to prevent dye from bleeding.
Have you discovered a way to effectively clean your jeans without damaging them?