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Denim Care, Part 1

By Dr. Laundry June 27, 2014


Amazing—You may have seen the news that a well-known denim industry leader , announced that he hasn’t washed his favorite pair of blue jeans in a year, and that by spot treating and occasionally putting them in the freezer, they are clean and don’t smell.  I don’t believe it—yes, he may have owned them for “maybe a year” as he put it, but has he worn them at least once a week, for the majority of the day, out in the real world?  As in seated on the subway or bus?  Sitting in the bleachers at the soccer game?  Leaning against a rock while taking a break on a hike? Standing next to a bbq grill while cooking? Washing the car?
 
I don’t think he wears his blue jeans the way the rest of us do:  more often and in more situations where they will get dirty.  If he doesn’t think so, then he should swap out his blue jeans for a pair of white jeans, and see how they look after 3-4 wearings.  Depending on where and how long he wears them, they may not be very dirty at all.  I have a pair of white capris that I love wearing in the summer, and I work really hard to keep them clean while I am wearing them, but try as I might, after a few wearings they show the dirt!  Just because blue denim hides dirt better than white denim doesn’t mean it isn’t dirty!  It’s that acceptance that my blue jeans are getting just as dirty as my white capris that lands them in the laundry basket after they’ve been worn a few times.  I can’t even imagine what a pair of white jeans that were worn twice a week for a year would look like if they were never laundered and only spot cleaned!
 
I do think his recognition of the scarcity of water is an important consideration.  But washing ones laundry less frequently really isn’t the answer.  The best way to conserve water in the laundry is to invest in a new “high efficiency” model that uses much less water than a traditional top loading washer, and avoid washing small loads.  And if buying multiple pairs of the same jeans is necessary to spread wear and tear over several pairs to reduce the need to wash them, then maybe this isn’t about saving water!