I know, I know. My initial reaction upon chancing on this topic was “EW”. In sunny Singapore, where the weather is hot at best and horrible on most days, the thought of not washing your clothes for that long is just unfathomable.
Especially since you’d most likely sweat even if you’re not doing anything, as long as you’re outside your house.
But hear me out: there’s a reason for this.
Washing machines agitate the denim, causing the fibres to swell and bloom, which shrinks the jeans. Additionally, heat destroys the overall quality of denim, which means you should avoid hot water and drying machines at all costs, too.
Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., said that his jeans are “maybe a year old and have yet to see a washing machine”.
Even though some might find it disgusting, Bergh went on to explain that this helps keep their shape and colour, making sure you look good and feel good in your favourite pair of denims.
And if you think Bergh is the only famous person to swear off jeans-washing – you’re wrong.
Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger also keeps his jeans out of the washing machine. But he takes it one step further – he has never washed his jeans, ever. As in, not once in his life (and he’s 65 this year).
Jeans franchises also encourage their customers to refrain from washing their denims. This is what Sweden’s Nudie Jeans have to say:
“Compared to a new pair of dry jeans, the smell of a well-worn pair just before wash is a completely different matter. It’s a smell that could most probably raise the dead. But it’s most definitely the smell of a winner.”
So, what are you supposed to do to keep your jeans looking good, but smelling fresh? Here are some tips from the experts.
- Wear it as long as possible before washing. That’s about six months. When the fabric at the back of your knees start to crumple and fade, you know it’s time to throw it into the wash.
- Hang it up in the bathroom. To extend your jeans’ life between washes, hang it up by the shower. The steam removes any creases and helps to air it out.
- Freeze it. A good idea would be to put your jeans in a ziplock bag and freeze it overnight. The cold temperature kills most bacteria, making it feel crisper and cleaner.
You can take these tips with a pinch of salt, but as for me? I’ll still be washing my favourite pair of ripped jeans the moment I return home.