If you rarely wash your jeans, you’re not alone. In fact, Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi’s , would praise you for it. The denim mogul feels it’s unnecessary, and more importantly, a waste of water.
However, even the most durable denim needs a good scrub. But how often should you clean your jeans?
On the sanitary side of things, it only takes one wear for your jeans to be covered in microbes. Inside, skin cells and natural oils settle in. Outside, bacteria and environmental elements stick and spread. But, for the most part, none of these microbes pose a health risk.
What they can do is cause your jeans to smell. And the longer they linger, the stinkier your jeans will be.
Some industry insiders find freezing to be the solution. The theory is that your freezer’s low temperatures will kill the smell-inducing bacteria while preserving the fabric’s texture and color. But experts have debunked this strategy, citing a lack of evidence.
The question of wash frequency ends up being purely personal preference. Perhaps you don’t wear them often, want to prevent fading or just downright hate laundry. What we can tell you is that the smelly “sweet spot” seems to be somewhere between three to six wears.
So use your best judgment on what your jeans have been exposed to, and use these six tips on laundry day:
- Wash your jeans right away if they come into contact with food or bodily fluids.
- To help prevent fading, wash your jeans inside out, in cold water, on a gentle cycle.
- Keep the washing load small, to prevent abrasion.
- Give the legs a stretch between the washer and the dryer. This will help them retain shape.
- Don’t let jeans linger in the dryer too long, as this could cause them to shrink.
- Once dry, hang your jeans in the closet, instead of folding them in a drawer, to give them space to air out.
Jeans were created as work clothes, so they were built to take a beating. While today’s jeans don’t have quite the same rigor, they’re usually pretty durable. So choose a wash frequency that works best for you.