Monday, November 28, 2011

Is it necessary to wash your jeans?

Recently, I discovered an article about the non-necesity of washing your jeans, and it caused some conversation in the office about the common system of washing jeans.

Jeans typically consume 919 gallons of water during its life span. Levi Strauss & Company has realized the potential effect of this on the environment and the future of cotton availability and cost. To defray the usage of water, the company has created a nonprofit program to teach farmers in foreign countries to use less water. One of the techniques they suggested was to make a new brand of denim - stone washed jeans smoothed with rocks and not water.

However, the company is also asking us regular consumers to use less water. Labels in their jeans now urge consumers to wash less and only use cold water. Levi Strauss & Company also suggests hardly washing jeans and to freeze them instead.

Throw jeans into my freezer next to my frozen dinners? Yeah, right. What does accomplish?

Photo borrowed from

The company claims that freezing jeans actually kills the germs that cause sickening smells from dirty jeans. Also, I've heard and read of real life testaments that people think you can actually succeed by not washing your jeans that often (as long as you don't do heavy duty or dirty work with them on).

I personally always wash my jeans after single usage. I've grown up knowing that you wash all of your clothes after you wear them. Same thing goes for hoodies, I wash them after one usage. However, some people in the Office of Sustainability claim that they are fine by not washing their jeans or hoodies after each wear. At first I disagreed, but after research and thought - maybe we all should wash our jeans and other clothing less?

Now, I think freezing your jeans is a bit ridiculous. I barely have any room in my freezer as it is and if I did have it, why would one want to put their dirty jeans in it? I am not going to buy another freezer, either. But realistically, you and me can limit the washing of our jeans and all other articles of clothing.

I am both embarrassed and proud to say that this past weekend I wore the same pair of jeans three times. I wore them to 3 different occasions, obviously. I like to think I'm a pretty stylish guy, but as it is no one pays attention to your pants... so why not wear jeans more than once? Its pretty reasonable to wear your jeans about 3 times (at 3 different occasions, of course) and then prepare them for washing. I might not be able to do that with my undies, socks or t-shirts, but I sure can with my hoodies and jeans!

I've finally came to the realization that it is important to adapt our natural resources usage as time goes by. Water resources will be more and more scarce if our society consumes as it does today. So, for you all, I propose a challenge...

Skip the freezer and wash your clothes left! 
But please, wash your underwear...

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