How NOT to wash your jeans… [HUH?]

How To Clean Your Jeans Without Water (In the Freezer!)

I recently bought my first pair of “serious” jeans. The reason I know this is because as I was standing at the register about to pay A LOT of money for them, a cool dude who was standing next to me at the register said, “Oh, you’re going to like those.” “Do you have a pair?” I asked him. “Nope,” he said, “But you’re going to like those.” I felt like a first time drug buyer or as if I was buying a Ferrari, not a pair of jeans. And then he said, “Don’t wash them.”

“Don’t wash them?” I asked, thinking he was joking.
“Nope.” he said.
“Oh, you mean I should only dry clean them?” I tried again.
“Nope.” he repeated. “Never wash them. You’ll ruin them.”

It was at that moment that the woman behind the register piped up and explained that they only “get really good” when they’re not washed. In a pinch, she said, you can wash them in cold water inside out.

And then she said, “But I freeze mine when they start to feel dirty.”

Now I felt as if I were really entering a new land. Washing is not something I’d ever considered optional with clothing, particularly something as prone to dirt as jeans. And while I could quickly grasp that it was coolest to do nothing, I was fascinated by the notion that freezing a piece of clothing might somehow “clean” it, or at least simulate the cleaning process.

Apparently, although I’m new to this, washing jeans is really verboten and freezing has popped up as one alternative. While it doesn’t make for lots of instructions in a How To, I thought I had to get this down in our archive. This is what the woman at G-Star Raw told me she did at home.

What do you do?

What You Need

A pair of dirty (feeling) jeans
A large Zip-Lock Bag

A Freezer with Some Room


Fold your jeans neatly and place inside bag. Seal bag and insert in freezer. Remove after one week and wear as new.

While this process won’t remove stains and isn’t really intended for “work jeans” (I think), it is touted to kill any living organisms and make your jeans FEEL crisp and clean again.

Personally, after taking my jeans out this morning, I have to say they did feel crisper, though it may simply have been the cold. Other that that, I can’t say I was fooled into thinking that they had been washed in any way, BUT they did – after all that time away from me – feel fresh and I’m glad to have them back.

One thought on “How NOT to wash your jeans… [HUH?]

  1. From Wikipedia:

    Raw or dry denim, as opposed to washed denim, is denim that hasn’t been washed or dried during production. Most denim is washed after being crafted into an article of clothing in order to make it softer and to eliminate any shrinkage which could cause an item to not fit after the owner washes it. In addition to being washed, non-dry denim is sometimes artificially “distressed” to achieve a worn-in look.

    Much of the appeal of raw denim lies in the fact that with time the fabric will fade in a manner similar to factory distressed denim. With raw denim, however, such fading is affected by the body of the person who wears the jeans and the activities of his or her daily life. This creates what many enthusiasts feel to be a more natural, unique look than pre-distressed denim.

    To facilitate the natural distressing process, some wearers of dry denim will often abstain from washing their jeans for more than six months,[4] though it is not a necessity for fading. Often, enthusiasts will just hang their unwashed denim to help get rid of the smell. Another tip which denim enthusiasts tend to opt for, is to place their jeans in the freezer as this draws the odors out of the denim.

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