How Often Do You Wash Your Jeans?

Have you ever not washed your jeans for weeks at a time so that they don’t fade? Well here is an interesting story that I came across that made me feel a lot better about it.

Canadian student Josh Le had an idea for a science experiment of sorts while in his introductory to textiles class during his sophomore year at the University of Alberta in September 2009.  A common question, and most likely an unintentional common experiment among struggling college students everywhere- How much dirtier were jeans that weren’t washed for an extended period of time comparatively to washing them every week?   He bought a new pair of untreated raw denim jeans from Nudie Jeans for $165 and decided to wear them everyday for 15 months! 333 days to be exact!  Le documented his journey on youtube. 

“My professor mentioned that she researches on textiles and bacteria, so it piqued my curiosity there,” Le said. “I half jokingly said we should do a bacterial analysis on them [Le's jeans] and that’s where it sort of started.”

 Le would stick the jeans in the freezer to get rid of the smells and would wipe up spills immediately with a papertowel to avoid stains. After the 15 months had finally ended Le and his teacher swabbed the jeans before washing them. Then they washed the jeans and let him wear them for 13 more days, similar to a more normal amount of time between denim washes, and tested them again.

“There did not appear to be differences in the bacterial carriage depending on whether the jeans had been worn for 15 months or only 13 days. The bacteria present on the jeans came mostly from Le’s skin and was not harmful,” McQueen’s findings read.

Not washing jeans after every wear is good for the environment and good for your jeans, believes notable denim maker Levi Strauss, who did a life cycle assessment on its denim and found that consumers can help decrease their energy use by washing their jeans once a month, instead of once a week. That move reduces energy use by about 40 percent and water use by about 35 percent.

In conclusion, we don’t have to feel grosse or embarassed about all those times we  were wearing the same jeans way too long without washing them!  We were simply saving the planet right?!

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