Don't get me wrong: I'm all about finding ways to eliminate the number of times I do laundry. But waiting a year to wash my jeans doesn't sit well with me. And yet, it apparently sits well with Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. Yesterday, Bergh went on Good Morning America wearing jeans he admitted to being a year old — and not having yet had a tumble in the washing machine. In fact, he said most of his jeans haven't been washed for a year (or more!), and all the while, he's remained skin-disease free. "I know that sounds totally disgusting. I know it does," Bergh told GMA reporter Becky Worley.
Worley tried the experiment herself. In the eight months leading up to her interview, the reporter did not wash her jeans at all and wore them at least once a week. By the time she interviewed Bergh (wearing the jeans), she only noticed a stain — and the fact that the pants started to feel slightly waxy.
Bergh, who funds his life by selling jeans, says real denim aficionados will tell you never to wash your jeans. And he's right. Last October, Tommy Hilfiger told TMZ he never washes his jeans. And Hilfiger is, like, the king of denim.
The company's real reason for not washing after every wear is to save water. Bergh estimates one pair of jeans is responsible for 919 gallons of water usage in its entire life — from the cotton-growing process to every regular wash. Worley thinks she saved about 130 gallons of water by not washing her one pair for eight months.
Bergh also notes that neither he nor his company are telling consumers to never wash their jeans — but rather, to try to wash them less. The CEO offered some tips as to how to go about the whole process (and they do not include freezing your jeans).
Tip 1: Hang them outside for a few hours to freshen them up.
Tip 2: To remove stains, dab from the inside of the jeans with a damp, warm cloth and a little bit of soap.
Tip 3: Let them sit in a bath with warm or cool water and a little bit of liquid soap. It's not washing if you don't rub the pant legs together, right?
Tip 4: If you let them soak, or wet them at all, hang them outside to dry. Bergh says nature will do its work.
Tip 5: If your jeans have stretched at all, put them in the dryer for 15 minutes.