Unwash wear? Eco or just unhygienic?


Have you ever wondered how often is enough to wash your jeans? Denim brands say as few times as possible to keep colors longer, especially if the denim is raw (untreated, will fade naturally in wear), and to save energy and water. But what if they feel dirty? University of Alberta student Josh Le wore his tight-fitting raw-denim jeans every day for 15 months and one week with nary a spin cycle. On a lark, Le’s professor, Rachel McQueen, took bacterial counts from the pants before he threw them into the wash, then sampled the same jeans a couple of weeks later. The verdict: The bacterial growth on both versions was virtually the same—high, to be sure, but nothing that will kill you. “I expected to find some bacteria associated with the lower intestine such as E. coli, but was surprised to find there weren’t any, just lots of normal skin bacteria,” says McQueen, a professor of textile science in the Department of Human Ecology. Because most bacterial organisms are transferred to clothes from the person wearing them, McQueen adds, they shouldn’t pose a threat for healthy and unbroken skin. And unless you work in a hospital or kitchen, where sanitation is paramount, the environmental benefits of going longer between washes outweighs any potential risk. When his jeans got a bit funky smelling, Le's solution was to clean them by putting them in the freezer. "There were times when it had a bad odour, like in the seventh month," he said. "That's when I threw it in the freezer and magically when it came out it was odourless." My freinds have also done this so I know for a fact the freezer-washing works. Actually I remember my grandmother telling me when she was young they used to wash bedsheets in wintertime by placing them in the snow for a while to clean them out.. Must be the same principle.

Anyways, there really is no health-threatening reason to wash your jeans after a few uses if you occationally freeze them with a few lemon peel slices to kill the bacteria. And again wear them and put them back to the closet. You can also take them out to hand in fresh air for a day if necessary. Guaranteed to get an authentic worn look. Classic 5pct. But when you do water wash them, use cold water, no fabric softener (it destroys elastane), wash them inside out and hang-dry them. And to be eco, use wash nuts instead of regular detergents.

Via Ecouterre and Physorg.



Outi Les Pyy

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  1. I try and wear all my clothes for days on end, I put clean knickers on every day, but that's it. I hang them up and wear something else, so no one knows, then I recycle them and wear them again. sometimes, I will just wash the arm pits of blouses. I think wasing clothes ruins them, and they will last longer if they are not washed,. I wear jeans for weeks on end and hang them out on the line on a frosty night - any fustiness is usually from wearing them in the kitchen whilst I cook and a good 'blow through' will freshen them up.

  2. despite the fact they says theres no threatening bacteria i still think ew ew ew. i like to put clean clothes on my clean body and style my clean hair in the morning and walk out of the house feeling fresh. so what if the clothes get ruined from washing i replace them every few months anyway

  3. This is really interesting. Freezing your clothes to kill the odour. I should remember and try that.