Should We Trust LEVI’S CEO About Freezing Jeans?

by on May 27, 2014

in consumer

The other day Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh made the statement that in order for customers to have their jeans last longer, that we should not wash them.  Instead, we should freeze our jeans, spot cleaning when necessary, but never machine wash them.

Supposedly freezing jeans will kill the bacteria that creates the smells and it’s been said by the non-technical gurus who are trying to sell their genes, that freezing kills germs and microbes that create the smell.

And in this day and age, it was also noted how “green” it would be to not wash your jeans as often as you might.

They’ve said that it takes 999 gallons of water to create and keep jeans clean, ranging from the watering of the cotton crops, washing them to give them the jeans look, and then, your own cycle of laundering.

Nice.  I thought.

But what I found odd about this bit of advice might be a short-lived version of Bergh’s memory.

Back in 2011 he apparently made the same statement but then was corrected on the stance of freezing.

The University of Delaware frozen microbes expert Stephen Cray, said the following:

“While some of your jeans’ germs might not survive the freezer, some will, because they’re hardy like that. They mostly come from you, and thrive at body temperature. So when you put on your frozen jeans and your warm body heats up those chilly germs (Cray says it only takes one survivor), they will repopulate and have a microbial party in your pants.”

It’s not that we don’t like parties in our pants, but this party does not seem worthy!

But then there’s the interesting flip-side of this conversation.  That being, that even machine washing does not remove all the microbes that have parties in your pants.

So where does that leave us, the consumer?

Well, like I always say, unless you’ve tried it first, ya can’t knock it!

So how do you do this jeans freezing process??

  • Flay them flat, brush them off.
  • Empty pockets,
  • Fold neatly,
  • Place in plastic bag,
  • Press the air out of the plastic bag,
  • Put in freezer

I don’t know how long, but I’d suspect over-night.

There was also a different study that focused on a pair of frozen jeans versus washed jeans and they found that the microbe count was similar between the two test processes.

I’ll let you decide for yourself what’s up. Me?  I’m not sure I have the room in my freezer.

[ gizmodo. ]

UPDATE: Apparently someone took up the cause and decided to test this theory at Stanford, and they’ve proven you don’t kill germs with freezing.  In fact it’s been noted that scientists actually freeze bacteria to preserve and keep them.

After this, LEVIs has reversed their position on the issue, and has said that they “never endorsed such a method, but rather had encouraged Levi’s consumers to conserve water and be mindful of their environmental footprint.

Give them a few years and I’m sure they’ll be saying this again, like they did this time around.  It’s fun to say and got them lots of media exposure.

[nbc bay area]

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