How often should you wash your jeans and other clothes? Doctors give some shocking answers

Originally published at: How often should you wash your jeans and other clothes? Doctors give some shocking answers | Boing Boing


I try to wash my jeans before I break out in a rash, thanks.

I’m surprised there’s no mention of freezing them. (No, I’ve never done that).


… unless you are part of the labor force comprised of proles working dirty jobs, or live in hot places with minimal or no cooling inside one’s living space, or have kids who play outside (or inside) and get their clothes dirty, or … etc.

Thanks are due, I reckon, to Dr. Rossi, who has been conserving water and power by not washing his jeans so that I may wash my filthy clothes at the end of my work day.

If you don’t work a dirty job, wash jeans inside-out in cold water, gentle cycle, with limited soap, drip dry in the shade, and don’t carry a lot of pointy stuff in the pants pockets.

If you already have holes in your favorite jeans, you can mend them:

(as has been discussed on this bbs previously)


I’m vindicated!


This has been my MO for some good amount of time. Thing is with my 501s, after a while, they get, I dunno, stretched out a bit and thenI get droopy drawers. I wash and dry them and they tighten right back up again, feeling goood. Sometimes I can go for days in a t-shirt, but other times, it starts hummin’ after a day or two.


I’d always washed trousers, leggings, and jeans after wearing 'em a coupla times.

A major flood a coupla summers ago put two feet of water in our basement. We haven’t yet got the basement cleared out and sanitized, so since then we’ve had no laundry room - the damned flood murdered our washer & dryer. It’s driving me nuts!


Aren’t there people who wear raw denim jeans every day and never wash them to get a natural wear pattern in them?

On the other end of that spectrum (I guess?), I cracked up a coworker when (after complimenting me on my new trousers) she found out that, rather than doing my laundry, I went out and bought a new pair of pants. (The rationale was 2+ hours @ laundromat; finding enough single bills &/or quarters, etc. vs. <1 hr. trip to Mervyns & back)


Weird to me that people would get so hung up on things like jeans when everyone ignores the belts that hold them up.

How often do people on this forum ever wash their belts? Pretty much never, right? Yet that’s one of the first things you touch after using the toilet, and it’s always before you’ve washed your hands.


It’s… interesting… that doctors would be seen as the obvious people to ask about this.

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You don’t have to wash your jeans every single time you wear them, but for crying out loud… Clean your clothes you filthy animals!

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Yea, I have a couple pair. I did a cold water rinse on them first, then wore them for a long time before washing in cold, then hanging to dry.
I don’t wear jeans or any long pants that often since I work from home, but when I do, I just hang them up to air out.
I always wash towels in hot, anything else that can take it in warm, then everything else in cold.
Drawers and socks, always in warm.


Doctors don’t seem like the obvious choice so much as the obvious potentially interesting choice.

Having people respond ‘meh, if it doesn’t smell bad it’s probably fine’ doesn’t make for much of an article; where doctors are more likely to be able to tell you that actually unbroken skin should be able to handle not washing your clothes far longer than your social life will; or that apparently-pristine clothing is actually capable of causing ghastly scrotal necrosis syndrome within 4 hours; which is the sort of thing that makes for a more interesting answer.


Neat. Does it only work with certain jeans or is it the not washing that does it? I swear my jeans did it naturally when I was a kid.

I wash pillow covers, duvet covers and what not in hot water, but I do that because my partner has allergies and it helps control dust mites. I’m nervous about things shrinking, so clothes go in warm or cold, but now that I think about it that might not really kill everything even with detergent.

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If I’m just wearing the clothes around my house then every couple days.

Once the clothes leave my house out in the real world full of real world dirt and germs then they go in the wash as soon as we walk in the door.

Street clothes never touch our furniture.

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Once upon a time I spent a stupid amount of money on selvedge jeans. The directions specifically said not to wash them or only wash them once every 6 months or something crazy.

… um how much sweat is “a lot” :confused:


I wear socks and shirts once, slacks 2-3 times, and jeans or cargo shorts maybe 6-8 times. Good to know that’s not too unusual.

Can the item be wrung dry?

Few belts have had the ability to withstand my great and powerful waistline long enough for that to be a concern.


I see this every few years, sometimes on Boing Boing.
“I’ve determined that soap does nothing and I just wash with water now.”
Uh, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Let’s see about twenty people take a wiff of you and see if your own impression of how you smell matches other people’s.

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Once you’re adjusted to it, water will get most of the natural sweat and stuff off of you, and you can stay pretty fresh. Your body’s not too bad at keeping itself clean if you rinse off regularly.


Water alone will not get the OTHER stuff off of you, like cosmetics or germs or any of the kind of grime and nastiness that you tend to get on you by going places and touching stuff and doing things. That shit requires soap, and occasionally something more serious.

I’ve spent a lot of time around both old hippies and stinky hippie kids. There’s a difference.