If you heard Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh’s speaking engagement at Fortune magazine’s “Brainstorm GREEN” conference yesterday (May 21, 2014), you already know how he thinks we can do our part in saving the world—simply stop washing our jeans.
“These are one of my favorite jeans,” Bergh said during his interview. “[They] are maybe a year old, and they have yet to see a washing machine. I know that sounds totally disgusting… but believe me, it can be done.”
His aesthetic reasons are obvious: throwing your jeans in a washing machine ruins their shape and fades the original color. But his “green” reasons make sense—washing jeans after each wear consumes hundreds (possibly thousands) of gallons of water. It’s simply more ecologically sustainable to wash your denim less—a lot less.
So the Levi’s mantra is clear: Don’t wash your jeans–use less water and energy–give the planet’s resources a break.
But How Do We Keep Our Jeans “Clean” Without Actually Washing Them
OK, don’t wash your jeans… got it. But as we all know, accidents happen–sometimes jeans get dirty. What’s the best way to clean ’em?
1. Spot clean with a sponge and mild detergent: Just dab the area you’re cleaning and let it air dry.
2. Fill an empty spray bottle with vodka and blast the spots that need cleaning. Hang to dry–always hang dry.
3. Turn your jeans inside out, seal ’em in a large Ziploc bag, and put them in your freezer. One study found that this method didn’t work completely. That said, the same study proved that freezing your jeans kills most of of the offending bacteria and most is better than none.
4. And if you must clean your jeans in a washing machine, use white vinegar and follow our specific directions.
OK, so be honest–how long do you go without washing your jeans? Me? I think I’ve gone a couple months.
Photo credit: Michael Alarcon
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