Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss, made an appearance at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference last week to discuss the denim company’s practices in sustainability. Bergh mostly promoted the brand’s new “WellThread” capsule collection, which are mindfully produced with less water and energy. The denim is also made with modified materials and more durable hardware, extending its lifespan and allowing you to hang dry your jeans rather than throw it into an energy-sucking dryer machine. He also gave a bit of cleaning advice for your denim — don’t clean it. In fact, the jeans that Bergh was wearing during his appearance have never been washed:
These are one of my favorite jeans. These jeans are maybe a year old and these have yet to see a washing machine. I know that sounds totally disgusting. I know it does. But believe me, it can be done. You can spot clean it, you can air dry it, and it’s fine. I have yet to get a skin disease or anything else. It works!
Bergh suggests using a sponge or toothbrush with a little bit of laundry detergent when you spot clean. If you want to get rid of bacteria, throw the pair in the freezer. And although the CEO thinks the idea of ditching the wash cycle sounds “totally disgusting,” it’s not because it’s a pretty common practice. Surveys have shown that an average age of denim in a woman’s wardrobe can go up to six years, which they only wash after multiple wears. A researcher from Melbourne once conducted a study that proved that you could wear your jeans five days a week for up to three months without a wash.
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