London - In the quest for the perfect pair of jeans, to wash or not to wash has been the question.
Tommy Hilfiger weighed in on the subject recently, revealing he “never” washes his jeans, as he left a Los Angeles restaurant.
“I never wash my Levi’s,” the 62-year-old told a TMZ reporter. “They’ll fall apart. I love them broken in.”
And the thought of washing a pair of jeans after every wear? “That’s crazy,” said the designer, who didn’t specify how often he washes a Tommy Hilfiger-label denim.
He’s not the only one to share this view. Last year, CNN presenter Anderson Cooper revealed he wears the same jeans every day, washing them on average only four times a year.
Talking with Stacy London – the no-nonsense co-host of TLC’s hit reality make-over programme What Not to Wear – Cooper talked laundry on an episode of Anderson Live.
“I wear the same thing everyday. These are TV clothes, these are not my actual real clothes,” he said. “In my real life I wear a T-shirt, grey or white, same pair of jeans. Literally, the same pair of jeans everyday. They have these jeans you don’t have to wash now... They mean like six months, I think,” he said.
Stacy London, who says to “maintain the integrity of denim”, you should wash jeans in cold water with no soap, and let them air-dry, told Cooper: “I have to say six months is probably a little long.”
The 45-year-old host then admitted that when it comes to actually washing his jeans, he just wears them in the shower.
“So the times I’ve washed my jeans, maybe twice in six months... I’ve worn them and walked into my shower with them and put some soap on them and then air-dried them.”
London, reiterating the no-soap policy, said washing them while in the shower is fine, but, “You can’t use soap – it messes with the grain... Just use cold water.”
Levi Strauss is one denim company that introduced a brand featuring stone-washed denim, smoothed using rocks instead of water, in 2011.
Its tags on all of its jeans urges customers to wash less and use only cold water.
Levi’s actually suggests that customers should wash jeans rarely, if at all, and put them in the freezer instead – the theory being that putting them in the freezer will kill the germs that cause them to smell.
Edmund White, a Brooklyn photographer, decided to chronicle his efforts to avoid washing his jeans.
After diving into the ocean with a pair on, White boasted that 11 months later, he still hadn’t washed them.
He wrote: “As long as you don’t get dirt on them, don’t do a lot of strenuous activity in them and – sorry if this is a bit vulgar – be sure to always wear underwear, you can really go a very long time between washing.”
And according to an Australian study, even if you wear your jeans five days a week, no one will ever notice.
For her Master’s thesis, Melbourne University student Tullia Jack found 30 volunteers who agreed to wear their jeans at least five days a week for three months, reported in Adelaide Now in July last year.
While half of the participants stopped wanting to wear their jeans at the six-week mark, the other half kept wearing them unwashed, even after the experiment was over.
According to the study, at the three-month mark, the jeans didn’t smell, or look that dirty.
“They just smell like people,” Jack explained to the Globe and Mail. Scientific findings reported that once odorous “bacteria reached a peak population”, it stopped growing.
Jack said the study showed that, to save the environment, people should not be washing their jeans. “When you take something off, air it out,” she said. And for stains, she added: “Spot it clean.”
THE THEORY OF CLEANING YOUR JEANS BY PUTTING THEM IN THE FREEZER
In 2011, Levi Strauss introduced a stone-washed denim brand, smoothed with rocks but no water, its cleaning instructions urging customers to wash their jeans rarely, if at all, and put them in the freezer instead.
Freeze-cleaning doesn’t remove dirt or dust, and certainly does not remove stains, but it does kill the germs that cause jeans to smell.
Levi’s advises customers to put jeans in a plastic, zip-lock bag and put them in the freezer for 24 hours.
And according to a student-professor team that tested a pair of jeans at the University of Alberta, wearing raw denim jeans for 15 months without washing them does not pose any health risks.
Josh Le, 20, bought a pair of Nudie Jeans in 2009 and wore them nearly every day, even sleeping in them for a month and spilled food on them (wiped off with a paper towel).
But when Le and assistant human ecology professor Rachel McQueen swabbed the inside of the jeans and tested them for bacteria 15 months later, they found levels to be normal.
Le then washed the jeans, wore them for 13 days, and re-tested them. The bacteria levels were nearly identical. – Daily Mail