Levi Strauss CEO: Stop Washing Your Levi’s Jeans Immediately


Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh says you don’t need to wash your Levi’s jeans. How’s that for sustainability?

Designed to be durable—jeans were never created to be fashionable; they were always meant for hard labor—it’s not a huge surprise that Bergh told attendees at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference earlier today that the pair of Levi’s jeans he was wearing had “yet to see a washing machine.” He’s apparently had the pair for a year.

“We are the ultimate in sustainable apparel,” Bergh told the audience. “If you buy [our jeans] they will last a lot longer than most people’s waistlines will,” Mashable reports.

Levi’s jeans have begun to take sustainability as seriously as the company takes button flies. The brand’s Waterless jeans use a considerably low amount of water in production and the recently launched Wellthread Dockers products also require less water and energy. And, reports Mashable, “Bergh’s comments regarding laundry are nothing new.” Levi’s has apparently promoted the “no wash” method for years, “sparking a fad of freezing jeans (yes, like in the freezer) to cut down on bacteria growth.”

That recommendation is not exactly sound science though. “While some of your jeans’ germs might not survive the freezer, some will, because they’re hardy like that,” reports Gizmodo. “They mostly come from you, and thrive at body temperature.” The germs can apparently repopulate once your body warms up your frozen jeans.

Still, what kind of germs are we really talking about here anyway? Even if you’re not going the year-plus like Bergh himself, you can at least forego the wear once and wash rule. Not only do jeans (and most other clothes) not require immediate washing after wearing (barring any serious stains), but they also look better a little broken in. They feel better too. And the color is going to last a lot longer the less often you wash your jeans.

But now I’m really curious. How long can I go without washing the pair of jeans I’m wearing? They’re now on day two of no washing, and I’ll let you know when (if!) I throw them into the washing machine again. Here’s to a greener planet that feels as cozy as a pair of broken-in jeans.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Image: glassghost


Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.