Jeans are part of rugged iconic Americana and are a staple of any wardrobe.
Invented in 1871 by Jacob Davis and patented by Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873, jeans were originally designed to stand up to the physical demands of cowboys and miners but, by the 1950’s, popular culture got ahold of jeans and they took off.
Every man needs a good pair of classic fitting dark wash jeans that he can use to dress up with a button-down for a date or to complement a worn t-shirt.
As with anything you buy, you should invest in quality. A good pair of well-made sturdy jeans will cost anywhere from $90 and beyond. After buying a pair of jeans you’re going to want to take care of them – jeans are rugged, but they’re not indestructible.
How To Wash Your Jeans: Don’t
My current everyday pair of jeans has been with me for 7 months now. How many times have I machine washed them? Twice.
I avoid washing my jeans to make sure they don’t fade, look great, and don’t ruin the environment. I would have likely never washed this current pair of jeans if I hadn’t spilled a full beer on my crotch one night or had a cat not pissed on a pile of my clothing.
Washing clothes uses a lot of water, puts unwanted chemicals into our water, and is hard on fabric – shortening the lifespan of clothing. And then there is drying clothing in a dryer, which uses a ton of energy.
I’m not alone in not washing my jeans. Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh also doesn’t wash his jeans, and I’d assume he knows a thing or two about jeans.
Washing jeans causes them to fade, wears them out, and is hard on the environment.
But, you want to make sure you don’t look like a bum wearing dirty, stained jeans. Here is how you can keep your jeans looking great:
Spot clean: Spill a little something on your jeans? Just clean the spot! It doesn’t make sense to subject the entire pair of jeans to washing when there is just a tiny area that needs be cleaned. For my jeans, I’ve found that a drop of soap and a wet washcloth is all I need to lift a blemish.
Hand-wash: Have more than a spot that needs cleaning? Try hand-washing your jeans. When I spilled that beer on myself, I probably could have gotten away with hand washing my jeans in the sink the next day, yet laziness led me to toss them in the washing-machine. Laziness is the source of a lot of the bad things I do (diet, exercise, environment, personal development…).
Own more than one pair: Just because the model in GQ magazine is wearing $120 dollar jeans while working on a classic car, doesn’t mean you should. Grease does not come out of clothing easily.
You have different tools for different jobs and you should have different clothing for different occasions. You’re an adult, so there is little excuse for you to “ruin your nice clothes,” as your mother likely said. Have a pair of nice dark wash jeans that never see manual labor and then have another pair that you can destroy when doing yard work, home maintenance, demolition, cattle ranching, and in the pursuit of all other manly endeavors.
Fighting The Funk
Every now and then, I fall plague to something known as “swamp-ass.” You know what I’m talking about.
Since I’m not washing my jeans, this could become a problem. I don’t want to be the smelly hippy guy.
In order to fight the funk that could potentially build up in my jeans, I toss them in the freezer once a week.
This is supposed to work by freezing to death the funk producing microorganisms that cause body odor. These are the same ones that deodorant fights against (Deodorant- Fresh Today, Cancer Tomorrow?).
I don’t know how valid the science is behind it, but it has been working for me and that’s all I really care about.
To de-funk your jeans, place them in a large reusable bag and toss them in the freezer for 24 hours. Or, if you don’t have much in your freezer, like me, you can just stick the jeans right in. After 24 hours, they’ll be refreshed – and putting on cold jeans is rather refreshing as well.