Jeans are amazing when it comes to hiding dirt, making washing them a decision that can be postponed indefinitely. While some people choose to wash their jeans regularly along with the rest of their clothes, others wait until there’s some smudge on them in order to get them inside the washing machine. Levi’s CEO Chip Burgh controversially stated that jeans should never be washed, since this affects the quality of the fabric.
But is there an actual health risk to never washing your jeans? Will your skin get some sort of rash and will you walk around all smelly through life? These are complex questions since people have strong beliefs when it comes to their laundry habits and cleanliness.
Men’s Health conducted a survey, asking how often people washed their jeans. While a few said that they washed them after one wear (public transportation being a big concern for them), most participants tended to wear their jeans between 5 to 10 times before deciding to wash them. The survey shows that people really don’t like to wash their jeans, which is a little gross but also perfectly fine.
Dr. Steve Xhu told Men’s Health that the odds of contracting some infection or rash due to wearing dirty jeans is very low. “The skin is a pretty good barrier against infections,” he said. Exceptions are more likely to occur if people have skin conditions, eczema or athlete’s foot. In the case of the latter, putting jeans on without wearing socks could lead to contracting a rash or infection in the groin. If the jeans aren’t washed and continue to be worn, the fungus and bacteria in them could continue to grow and lead to some trouble.
If you’re sort of healthy and have no skin conditions, you may as well follow Burgh’s advice and lead a dirty jeans life. If there’s a smudge or something gross on them, just give them a hand wash.