TMI Tuesday: How Often Do You Wash Your Jeans?

When my clothes are dirty, I wash them.
When they smell funky, I wash them.
If they’re delicate, I wash them like this.
If I really, really don’t want to wash something, I use this.

Outside of that, I don’t really have any special laundry rules. On several occasions, though, I’ve heard about the religion of washing your jeans. (Sidenote: Do we know how we feel about wedges & skinny jeans yet?) (Can you remember the times when we didn’t know these things?)

How often do you wash your jeans?

Then I came across this image at OutsaPop. I’ve heard from a few different sources through my life that jeans needn’t be washed frequently. I’ve heard urban legends about “Japanese Denim” that comes un-washed so you can wash it how you please (or something similar), and have met people who went 2+ years without their dirty denim seeing any detergent.

Are these “no wash jeans” a real thing?

I’ve always just thought, “Oh. Jeans. Smell. Ew. Laundry. Wash.” Is this not good denim care? Paging Denim Debutante! Enlighten us about this mythical beast of potential laziness! Do you guys spritz your jeans with Dryel, Febreze or something different?

Jen just sent me this article at the Huffington Post regarding jean care, after I told her about this post (to which she replied “OH THE LEVI’S GUY!” – There is a Levi’s guy!?). Apparently, even the Director of Brand Concepts at Levi Strauss is on board with this “wash rarely” business.

He doesn’t like to put his jeans in a washing machine because agitating the denim makes the fibers on the cotton fabric swell and “bloom.” That in turn causes the yarns to tense up and actually get shorter, shrinking the jeans. This also mars the “open” look of the denim, Mr. Chiara says. The color may fade or change as well.

He also suggests that you hang your jeans on a hook in your bathroom when you take a shower, as the steam helps “freshen” them without messing with the fibers. Lazy? Budget-friendly? Genius.

What is your denim-washing regimen? Have you heard about this “rare washing” phenomenon with jeans? What gives?

  • Oh barfaroni! We’re not talking about some super valuable item here. They’re jeans.
    2 years of sweat, greasy french fry hands, city dirt, and god knows what else? That’s just disgusting. I’d rather go through my jeans faster and know that they’re clean. And who doesn’t like a well-worn pair of fave jeans?

    • Hahaha! “Barfaroni.” That’s true – the softness that comes from regular washing is really, really nice.

  • This is fascinating! I don’t wear jeans super often anymore, and have to go to a laundromat, so I’d say I only wash after wearing them maybe 5-6 times. I buy that you might be able to get away with more though, if you spot clean them and soak them in detergent. Either way, it’s tempting for my wallet to try this…

    • I totally know how you feel!! I HATE paying for laundry and jeans take up SO MUCH ROOM!! The thought of not having to wash my jeans for 2 years and having it be “okay” is soooo appealing…

  • I’ve heard about the washing jeans (or lack thereof) phenomena but never indulged. My jeans get dirty and I can’t stand to see them that way. I don’t think I could ever do it!

    • Yeah, maybe if all my jeans were super relaxed fit like most men’s jeans are… They don’t get weirdly stretched out that way, you know?

  • I always live by the wear-jeans-until-they’re-stretched-out rule. They’ll last 5-7 days without washing and then I throw them in the washer to shrink them up again. I don’t really wear jeans much these days though. I prefer skirts or dresses or something different. I always did that because they fit better after a couple wears and it also helps the color stay nice and dark.

    • I am the same way! When they start to look crappy, I wash. What kind of skirts are you into lately? Are you doing the maxi skirt thing? I’m so curious about that “trend”!

      • I like how maxi skirts look on others, but I’m too scared to try it as I’m barely 5 feet tall. I like the look of midi skirts though, but haven’t really bought one yet. I have a pretty decent collection of shorter skirts. I’ve been trying to vary the lengths of skirts I own lately!

  • So, twofold:

    1. I don’t buy jeans that blow out. I wash them when they’re looking rough or no longer rosy fresh. And when I do that, it’s still just like this: http://www.denimdebutante.com/2009/08/how-to-clean-care-for-your-premium-denim.html (and if I catch you putting them in the dryer, I’ll kill. Brutal. Murder.)

    2. I totally rocked the skinny w/ wedges today – with no emphasis on totally or rocked. It is a comfortable look, and I do it when the wedges (in this case, my coveted Cynthia Vincent x Target beauties) are sky high, or not at all.

    • 1. REALLY! No jeans in the dryer! I had no idea… line dry? All of ’em?

      2. I now LOVE skinnies with wedges… That post from 2009 kind of blew my mind! I was like “How did I ever think that might NOT be a good plan? Oi….” Oh, fashion evolution. You sometimes make me look like an asshole.

  • Disgusting and fascinating…Either way one MUST wash their jeans, if they fade buy a new pair simple…

    http://blog.maxclondon.com/