Why Not Freeze Jeans?

There is a long-standing clothing advice that in order to maintain the color and shape of premium denim, we should refrain from washing with soap and water and “freeze” instead. Specifically, seal them in a tightly closed plastic bag that is free of air, and allow them to cool with the fish sticks for at least 24 hours. And then voila. Will they be … clean?

The idea of ​​not exposing our denim to the harsh vicissitudes of a GE washing machine was promoted at a sustainability conference in 2014, where Levi CEO Chip Berg stated that he hadn’t washed his jeans in a year and that 501 jeans ” don’t wash .” should be washed as often as people think, if ever. ” And when the main spokesperson for the most iconic denim brand tells you to keep your favorite skinnies out of the washing machine, you can listen and come up with alternatives. So let’s take a look at the method and find out why it doesn’t actually do what it claims.

How dirty are jeans really?

When we wear jeans, our skin flakes off and hides (not very well, actually) inside and over the fibers. Dead skin, combined with the secretions of our skin glands and plain old dirt, is a breeding ground for bacteria that cause jeans to smell. (PS These bacteria just live their best lives at human body temperature.)

An often suggested solution is to freeze jeans: the theory is that if you freeze the bacteria, they will die and the stench will disappear. But while freezing temperatures do cause bacteria to be temporarily dormant, University of Delaware frozen microbe expert Stephen Craig Carey told Smithsonian Magazine , “many are pre-adapted to withstand cold temperatures.”

And guess how many survivors it will take to repopulate your jeans with their old funk after defrosting? One. It’s just that weird, lonely bacteria can cook up that same stench and make these boyfriend jeans truly live up to their name.

What about other ways to clean your jeans?

Some denim aficionados and green folks looking to save water have added vigorous shaking, sprinkling with vinegar, sun drying, and even a vacuum cleaner to their list of ways to prepare their jeans before traveling to the depths of Frigider. While vinegar and sun will reduce bacterial load and potentially help you get rid of bad odors between washes, they won’t completely remove them. To do this, you need good old soap and water.

Even “Wear ’em Dirty” Berg supports the science on this issue. Asked by CNN Business Markets Now if it froze jeans, he replied, “This is an old wife’s tale. It doesn’t work. “For Maytag, that means.

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