Should you avoid washing your jeans?

Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh made headlines this week for revealing that he hasn’t washed his jeans in over a year.

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Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh made headlines this week for revealing that he hasn’t washed his jeans in over a year. (Check out the interview clip below.) "I know it sounds totally disgusting. I know it does, but believe me, it can be done," he said. He suggests spot cleaning and says that "real denim aficionados" recommend never washing denim.

Won’t they stink and be really dirty, you ask? Sort of, but there’s something that can help: According to CTV News, Levi’s, The Gap and some other denim companies suggest putting jeans in the freezer overnight or longer to kill off the bacteria that causes odour. I’ve actually done this and can attest to the fact that it does work. To put it in context: I do regularly wash my jeans. BUT there is a particular pair I have that aren’t quite as "lived-in" as I would like. Washing them makes them tighter and stiff so I avoid doing it too often. On one particular occasion I wore these jeans to a summer campfire, and left smelling like, what else, a campfire. Since I had just washed my jeans and they were clean other than the obvious smell, I tried the freezer trick. I folded and wrapped my jeans in a plastic bag and left them in the freezer for two days. When I took them out, I simply let them warm up and they were good as new!

But, there’s something to be said for freshly laundered clothes (especially if you have a germ phobia). A 2011 study conducted at the University of Alberta looked at the effects of not washing your jeans. The study compared the level of bacteria on jeans that hadn’t been washed in over 15 months with jeans freshly washed after almost two weeks of wear. The jeans had similar bacteria levels and the strains weren’t those that posed any risk to human health, Rachel McQueen, a professor of textile science in the Department of Human Ecology said in a press release.

How long would you go without washing your jeans?

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