This pocket is useless now
This pocket is useless now

Levi's CEO explains why you should never wash your jeans

Machine-washing a good pair of jeans can actually cause damage to the material

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 12 October 2020 11:47
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[This article was originally published in 2016]

Laundry is inevitable, but thankfully there are people like Levi’s CEO and President Chip Bergh who want to make our lives a little easier. According to him, you should never wash a pair of jeans. Ever.

While this may prompt noises of disgust from those are less-then-enamoured by the idea of walking around in dirty clothes, Mr Bergh explained that he "spot cleans" any stains with a toothbrush.

Speaking to Fortune in a video that was recently re-shared on social media he said: "The point I was trying to make… it was a wake-up call to consumers that we go into autopilot and after we’re finished wearing something, we just automatically toss it into the laundry.

"A good pair of denim doesn’t really need to be washed in the washing machine except for very infrequently or rarely."

His argument is based around the fact that washing a good pair of Levis actually causes damage to the material, and is a waste of water.

Mr Bergh isn’t the only denim expert to come out with this advice. Hiut Denim’s website says: "Raw denim is best given a good six months before washing. The longer you can leave it, the better your jeans will look.

"The reason for this is that the indigo will have worn off in places where you make natural creases. Just by sitting down, putting your phone in and out of your pockets, your hands in your pockets. All these daily little things will make your jeans look great.

"When it comes to the big day, the indigo will fade where you made those little creases to reveal the contrasts that give it the well worn look. If you wash your jeans too early, the indigo will wash off uniformly so it will give it an even, dark indigo cover which means the magic will have gone.

"Like anything in life, there are no short cuts.”

Meanwhile Nudie Jeans offers this stellar piece of wisdom: “When you’ve come this far, you and your new stiff drys will have gone from being separate entities to a unity – a second skin.

Skinny jeans health warning

"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."

Advice from several major jeans manufacturers is to instead try putting your pair in the freezer overnight to help get rid of bacteria. 

Alternatively give them some air by leaving them outside in the sun, or with a neutraliser spray.

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