Jeans seem to be the one article of clothing most of us wear over and over again without washing. It’s just kind of an unwritten rule – one wear is never enough to get them dirty enough to justify a wash.
But how long should you really wait to wash jeans? How many wears can you get away with before it’s time to throw them in the laundry?
As you might know, jeans were first created as durable clothing for laborers and miners in the American West. They were work pants. Funny to think about how far we’ve come.
But how far have we come as far as washing. We know for sure that those workers didn’t wash their jeans after every wear – far from it. So, have our ideas of proper laundering changed much in 200 years?
How Often Should You Wash Jeans?
You definitely need to wash jeans. But you’re probably washing them more than you need to.
What’s the average wear period between washings? According to Mashable, 27% of people wear their jeans about 3 times before washing them, 21% wear them 5 or more times, and 8% of people wash their jeans every time they wear them.
Both washing after every wear and never washing seem pretty extreme. And somewhere in the middle is probably best. Periodic washings will help your jeans last – they’re durable, and can stand up to some tough, tough love, and not washing too often will keep them strong.
Worried about germs? Consider this: back in 2016, all in the name of science, a University of Alberta student wore his jeans for 15 months without washing them. After 15 months, he tested the bacteria levels. What did he find? Well, the jeans had just as much bacteria on them after 13 days of not washing them as they did after 15 months. That’s not bad!
But it’s not just for the sake of your jeans. Washing your jeans less often is also better for the environment! Not only do you save the water by not washing them after every wear, but, by extending their life by just 9 months, you can save over 250 gallons of water? Seriously.
In the end, the time between washings depends on many things, including how much you sweat, what you do in them, and just generally how dirty they actually get. If you are raking the leaves or doing manual labor, wash them every few wears. If, however, you’re just wearing them to the office or the grocery store, save up those wears – they don’t need a lot of washing.
The Correct Way to Wash Jeans
Whether you wash after 3 wears or 15 wears, there is a right way to wash your jeans.
And we’re sorry to say, it doesn’t involve the washing machine. What’s the best way to wash jeans to keep them strong and save water? A good old fashioned hand wash. Experts also recommend turning them inside out to wash them to help preserve the color.
Ok, seriously though – how many of us are actually going to hand wash our jeans? Probably not a lot. So if the washing machine is your go-to, it’s best to wash jeans in cold water on a short, delicate cycle. Again, make sure you turn them inside out.
What about drying jeans? Is there a “best” way to do that? Yep. Start by keeping them inside out and choose a low heat, delicate setting. But, don’t dry them all the way in the dryer. Take them out when they’re still a bit damp, then hang them to dry. This will help them keep their shape and not damage them. Also – check that tag. If the jeans are made with more than 3% spandex, it’s best to let them do the whole dry hanging up.