There was a big stink on the Internet last week (if you’ll forgive the pun) when Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh said he almost never washes his jeans – and neither should you.
There was a time when I would have given that a try. Sure, you can spot clean any spills, and there’s that freezer trick everyone’s talking about (apparently you can put them in the freezer overnight when things really start getting funky and it kills the germs). That sounds do-able, especially in the name of prolonging the life of your jeans and being kind to the earth, two reasons Bergh cited for going easy with the washing machine.
I did a little research to try to find out whether Chip Bergh has kids, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to tell for sure. (How come the 1 percent gets Internet privacy? But that’s matter for another blog post …) But I know what I think. I think that no one with kids could possibly attempt this.
The jeans funk you got in college after a month or so of no washing (you know you went that long, if not longer) is NOTHING compared to what happens to a pair of pants when there’s a little kid around. On a daily basis, your jeans become a pillow, a napkin, a hand towel, you name it. And that’s just if you manage to go a day without getting barfed, peed or pooped on, or some combination of the three (or, god forbid, the Unholy Trinity). I’m finally past the point where I have to wash my jeans every day, but easily they go in the wash once a week, and BOY do they need it.
The freezer trick doesn’t work for me either. It was a project fitting a box of popsicles in there the other day; where am I supposed to put my funky jeans? Do people have a special shelf for that? Where would I keep the ice cream and vodka?
I had a delirious thought the other day, overcome with the joy of summer, of getting a pair of white jeans. So chic! So stylish! So great with a bright, happy blouse! And then I remembered that I’m a mom, and while I think it’s perfectly possible to dress stylishly, wearing white pants is just not advisable. Cheeto dust, Play-Doh shards and just generalized little-kid grime really show up on white pants. Check back when my kid is in college.
So for now, Mr. Bergh, I’ll continue washing my jeans on the regular. Which is good news for you — between all the washing and chasing a little kid around on hands and knees several times a day, I have to buy new jeans at least once or twice a year. (Or more, in years when I’m compelled to go up a size, SHUT UP.) But good for you and your jeans. I’d love to hear more about that. Um, from a distance.