Best of 2017: Wardrobe Wednesday: Do you have a dirty little secret? How often do you wash your jeans?

Photo: Esqualo

Jeans! A wardrobe staple for everyone…women, men, kids…old and young alike…we all love our jeans. You have hunted high and low, long and hard for the perfect pair. The colour, fit and length are just right. You can’t imagine not having them in your closet. You want to keep them looking and fitting the way they do forever. Now, the big question is…

Should I wash my favourite jeans and how often?

Good heavens, there has been a lot of discussion and controversy over the years in the fashion world about this subject. The “experts” tend to agree that you should wash your denim as little as possible. Some, like Chip Bergh, Levi’s CEO, claims that washing denim in a washing machine is completely unnecessary and that often it can cause damage to the fabric. Really? Seriously? People sweat. People get stains on their clothes. Pollutants are floating around everywhere. I do not subscribe to this way of thinking when it comes to my denim. I confess, I may tend to be a little obsessive when it comes to laundering my clothes. 

Yes, be careful when washing certain pieces of clothing. No, don’t be lazy and believe this ridiculous notion of never putting your jeans in the washing machine. Denim is NOT a delicate fabric. That is why it has been worn by labourers, miners and cowboys for decades. It is no different from any other fabric when it comes to the necessity of laundering. It is not invincible. It is not the superhero of fabrics. Like any other piece of clothing in your wardrobe, it is not immune to stains, bacteria, accumulation of body oils and dead skin and above all SMELL. Some “experts” suggest placing your favourite pair into the freezer to kill bacteria and eliminate odour. Come on, really?! Honestly, that is ridiculous!! As soon as they thaw out, I promise they will still stink! Do you really want people around you singing “Ooooh that smell, can't you smell that smell” in their heads?

The benefits of washing your denim go beyond hygiene and smelling fresh. Your jeans will not feel limp and stretched out. They will regain their shape and those “loose knees” will tighten up. 

Keep in mind, most fashionable jeans today are a little worn and distressed from the get-go, so washing them regularly won’t necessarily make them look older. 

Here is the best way to wash your denim…

Make sure the pockets are empty.

Button and zip them.

Always wash them inside out. This retains the colour and removes more of the body’s oils and bacteria. 

Use liquid laundry detergent to eliminate the chance of soap residue. 

Fabric softener really isn’t necessary, but if you must, then use it sparingly because it can make your jeans feel too soft and limp.

Limit dryer time to maximum 15-20 minutes then hang them up to prevent shrinkage and fiber breakage. This is especially important if your jeans are stretchy. This means they contain spandex or lycra which break down when put in the dryer. 

My “expert” advice is to wash your jeans every few wears and just be gentle and kind to them!

Karen has had a passion for style and fashion most of her life. Her lifelong dream came to fruition 17 years ago when she opened her boutique Moda Elle in Plaza Pointe Claire. Karen prides herself on excellent personalized service and truly loves to make her clientele happy. She recently doubled the size of the boutique in order to serve the well-dressed West Island women better.