You're Not Washing Your Jeans Correctly

Here's a confession: I go online window shopping every night before I go to bed. Shopping is a drug, and for me, it's an addictive one. As in, one of those things I need to do on a regular basis to remain pacified. I don't need to buy anything to get my fix, I just need to constantly be aware of my options. If I go too long without a trip to even Target, I get an itch in my legs and a twitch in my eye. But there are four little words that can transform my constant urge into sudden aversion: "I need new jeans."

I think jeans are the bane of many people's shopping experiences. It can be so difficult to find a pair that look and fit just right, and when the time comes to retire that pair, it can be like breaking up with a really close friend (OK, that was a little melodramatic, but you get my point). As it turns out, if you have to retire jeans, you might not be caring for them properly. Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss has let it be known that washing jeans is the primary cause of deterioration. And while neither I (nor Bergh) am suggesting that you never wash your jeans, using these methods in lieu of some machine washes might help prolong the life of your favorite denim.

1. Leave them Outside

Turn your jeans inside out and hang them outside. The outdoor air will eliminate odor. Just make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid bleaching.

2. Give them the Cold Shoulder

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Again, turn your jeans inside out and leave them in the freezer for a day or two. The cold temps will kill some of those odor-causing bacteria.

3. Acid Wash

To pseudo-wash your jeans, spray them down or soak them in a cold-water and white-vinegar solution. This will eliminate odor while also keeping the color and fit from changing. (Don't worry, your jeans won't smell like vinegar once they dry.)

4. And if You Must...

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Try to resort to a washing machine as infrequently as possible to maintain your jeans' longevity. But if/when you do, remember to turn your jeans inside out, wash with cold water, add one cup of white vinegar and a handful of salt (again, to keep from color bleeding), and hang to dry.