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VIDEO: To Prevent Wear, Never Wash Your Jeans. (Is This Gross?!)

The CEO of Levi Strauss says jeans last longer without washing. We discuss if this is disgusting.
Updated

During a recent conference, Chip Bergh, the CEO of the jeans company Levi Strauss, revealed that the pair of jeans he was wearing has not been washed in over a year. The claim is that they last longer if you don't run them in the washing machine... ever.

In this brief — yet lively — video, our experts discuss if this is gross.

What about you, readers? How often do you wash your jeans? Tell us in the comments below!


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Dan Leadbetter is a Staff and Features Writer for DealNews. He enjoys comedy, playing drums, watching horror films, fine cigars, and Absinthe.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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20 comments
StuShipp
I've read through a few comments and am quite surprised to see there are many people who allow their jeans to go days/weeks without being washed, lol. I was raised to wash my jeans after being worn. Given, if I'm wearing jeans, I'm wearing them all day. So... into the dirty laundry they go for the next scheduled dip in the soap water.

I've gone to dinner before and worn jeans that are of the nicer caliber for only a few hours, so I can see why that would be an acceptable reason to re-wear them. Otherwise though, I think it's just disgusting to sweat/molt into your clothing and not feel they need to be washed.
#gag
netwolf
over 10 years on several pairs of jeans.

I have a completely open sided building that I hang the jeans in year-round, the cold winters kill off all the bugs. Save the earth and wear jeans
phear3d
This isn't a myth, it's true.

I own about 25-30 pairs of jeans all prices ranging from thrift store and online store bought $3.99 to $170. I own 6 pairs of Uniqlo's $20 jeans and I have not washed any of them for over 2 years. I also own 10 pairs of 7 for all mankind, about 3 pairs of Banana Republic, countless Levi's even the waterless kind, Naked and Famous, Bonobos and so on. My Nudie Jeans (cost around $170) have been worn quite a few times since I bought it 6 months ago and they still retain that same look when I first bought them. Nudie Jeans is probably one of the best premium jeans out in the market today since they are made of organic cotton and they have length sizes as suppose to just 34 lengths like the rest.

If you want your jeans to last and look the same when you bought them, you should never wash them. Jeans, like other cotton made garment tends to deteriorate over time. The more you wash the jeans, the softer it gets which make it easier it is to break.
Greg the Gruesome
I saw a story about this on the news earlier (WABC-TV, Channel 7 in NYC). They said to get rid of smells, spray your jeans with white vinegar or vodka (yes, vodka) and hang them on a clothesline until the smell of white vinegar or vodka is gone. And to kill bacteria, they did say to put your jeans in the freezer — inside out, in a plastic bag, overnight or maybe 48 hours.

By the way, I read in Consumer Reports once that even if you wash your laundry in hot water in the washing machine, the water doesn't get hot enough to kill bacteria. The dryer is where they die (though I don't remember if even the lowest temperature setting on the dryer is hot enough to kill bacteria).
dealnewsgrub
I agree with dealnews-mbonebright. If you ain't gonna wash 'em, have enough pairs to cycle through... although I must admit, if you own 1 pair and wash 'em till they're unwearable, then replace 'em you'd get the same result.
dealnewsgrub
Hello! Freezing your jeans will NOT KILL Bacteria and viruses. More importantly, it doesn't get the crud off, so even if it did kill bacteria (see beginning of post) they'd be growing again as soon as the jeans reached their "I-WANNA-LIVE" temperature. Sheesh!
zeram1
Infrequent bathing sure helped the Europeans during the Black Plague!
nrpardee
If you kill all the bacteria in/on your body, you will become a very unhealthy and probably dead person. The problem is that we tend to associate bacteria=bad; what is true is that some bacteria are very bad, but many/most are either neutral or good for us. Heard of probiotics for digestive health? Yep, bacteria. And good bacteria don't just live inside the digestive tract- they also live throughout the body. There are more bacteria in our bodies than cells! And in fact, your skin is worse off if you kill all the bacteria- the frequent bathing/washing we do is probably not healthy - see this article on skin bacteria where it note the bulk are either harmless or *beneficial*. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_flora (Note that hand washing, esp. in health care settings and when people are sick is a different issue). Emotional arguments using words like "gross" are not helpful, although they do generate video views.
zeram1
Not sure if I'd take the CEO's advice, for if he were a smart CEO, he wouldn't reveal how to make their product last longer!
zeram1
"If"?????
dealnews-mbonebright
I can get 2 months or more of wear out of given pair of jeans before they need washing, but there's a caveat: I own 10+ pairs, and I cycle through them. I don't really need to wash mine more often, and I much prefer the broken-in look. Good jeans are expensive, why prematurely destroy them?
Biarritz
As is frequently the case, the response would be "it depends..." If you work in a cleaner environment and are not a oilier person who sheds and oozes from the pores much, then all is probably fine. In a heavier work environment you have the offsetting situation of more sweat but more likelihood of working outdoors and fresh air, mitigating the smell issue. If you have close continuing contact with others, then gauge your situation by your sense of their reactions. If all else fails, ask someone you can trust if you are out of line with your laundering schedule.
boilers
I've known too many people that must have malfunctioning noses; they think they don't need to bathe, wear deodorant, wash their clothes while those of us with perfectly good olfactory senses suffer. I can tell if most people I work with forewent a shower for a day or two.
Rawmeat
I REALLY hope the Levi's CEO and others are wearing underwear if they're not washing their jeans. Gag.
Koobers
I don't wash my jeans and it's not as gross as you might thing. The only reason that it seems gross is because it doesn't seem to be the normal way that we view something as clean based on an action that we perform. I put mine in a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer which kills off the bacteria and any odors.

Remember that Dry Cleaning your clothes is not actually washing them either and the reason that we don't view Dry Cleaning as gross is because we aren't there to watch how they do it. We just drop them off and when we return we assume that they have been washed even though dry cleaning is not washing. Keep in mind that not all bacteria is bad and there are millions of bacteria in your mouth right now. On your hair and skin despite showering on a regular basis. When was the last time you washed your mattress? Yeah we wash our sheets but you sleep on your mattress everyday for years and no one ever thinks twice about your mattress never being washed.
Slaz5
I usually wear my jeans at least three times before washing them. Depending on what I had been doing, if they get soaked or stained or dirt on them, I'll wash them after one use if I have to.
kyungone
plus all the hair, sweat, oil, dead skins from your lower body and legs... i wash my jeans and i will continue do so.
dealnewsgrub
p.s., wrote my comment without watching the video so do not know if urine + toilet water splashing onto pants was discussed.
dealnewsgrub
K. How many men out there have urinated standing up while wearing shorts? Know what that wet feeling on your legs is? Yep, urine (yours and the previous toilet users') + toilet water. That gets on your Levis (any and all long-leg pants, actually... and your shoes, too). After a few days (or sooner, depending upon your urinary frequency and ability to actually hit the toilet bowl) of that, your pants are disgustingly smelly and, yep urine-soaked and require a thorough cleaning.
Oh, and women (not to mention men who sit to urinate) aren't exempt! Public toilets (heck, many homes' toilets) are nasty on the outside (not to mention the bathroom floor) and getting that "accidentally" your pants results in same problem.

WASH YOUR PANTS FREQUENTLY, PEOPLE!
jeffcdealnews
Head on over to the /r/rawdenim sub-reddit. Wearing jeans over and over without washing them isn't done to save money/water. #sickfades

And Dan, $125 isn't a lot for high-end jeans -- check out Momotaro, Iron Heart, 3sixteen.
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