How often do you wash your jeans? Every time you wear them? Every couple of weeks? Every few months? Well, if you answered yes to any of the above, Palle Stenberg of Nudie Jeans begs to differ.
A couple of months ago we caught up with Stenberg, a partner at the free-spirited company. Nudie's earned a cult-like following for it's raw denim, cool fits, and most of all, for it's die-hard philosophies about denim. It's all about devotion. These folks are passionate about jeans.
"Denim is a fantastic fabric," says Stenberg. "Aside from maybe leather, it's the only fabric that gets better looking the more you use it."
And using it is the key for Stenberg. Every day. Without washing. In 2001, he told the New York Times, "After six months, the jeans acquire a really beautiful patina.'"
When we caught up with him in February, Stenberg wore a three year old pair of jeans that had only been washed once, ever. "To be honest, I can't remember the last time I've washed a pair of jeans."
Scared of the smell? Stenberg has a solution. "I put them in the freezer or hang them outside the window." That's right. Seal your smelly jeans into an airtight plastic bag and put them in the freezer for a couple of days. The odor will magically disappear (along with the odor-causing bacteria).
Admittedly, after hearing this, I was skeptical. In true journalistic fashion, I had to try it for myself. After a night in a smokey bar, my jeans smelled like they'd been dragged through an ashtray. Into a ziplock bag they went, and 48 hours later they actually smelled like fresh laundry!
I dug a little deeper and found several sites that do recommend freezing clothes, smelly shoes, and even children's toys to kill household insects (like clothing moths and dust mites) as well as odors. The Colorado State University horticulture program tells us, "Freezer temperatures less than 0 degrees F will almost always be lethal to insects following a 72-hour exposure. During freeze treatment, wool or woolen fabrics can be kept in a plastic freezer bag but attempt to remove as much air as possible before freezing." And eHow.com lays out the step-by-step process for freezing the smell right out of your shoes (and, by default, clothes, too).
Of course, washing in hot temperatures and using bleach do the trick too, at the risk of forever losing the shape and color of your favorite jeans. Worth the risk? You decide.
Stenberg sternly warns, "Don't EVER wash your jeans. That's the only recommendation I have."
Shop Nudie Jeans @ Revolve.