Yes, You Should Wash Your Jeans, Says the CEO of Levi's. But His Unexpected Method Might Raise Some Eyebrows. Laundering denim is a controversial subject.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • In 2014, Levi's CEO Charles Bergh said that "real denim aficionados" would never put their jeans in a washing machine.
  • Today, Bergh defends that stance, but he also recommends alternative ways to maintain your denim's hygiene.

People can't seem to agree on washing jeans: Some launder their denim after each wear, after every few, or not at all.

Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Charles Bergh discredits the latter option: You definitely should wash your jeans, he says, though not any old method will do, CNBC reported.

Image Credit: Mint | Getty Images

Related: Levi's AI Models, Meant to Up Diversity, Raise Serious Questions

Where does all the confusion over jean hygiene come from? It might have something to do with a conversation Bergh had back in 2014; the CEO revealed he was wearing an eight-year-old pair of jeans that had "yet to see a washing machine" — and that "real denim aficionados" will tell you never to wash your jeans.

"There is one rule to washing your jeans: Do it as seldom as possible to preserve their shape, quality and color," fashion stylist Rinske Fris told Real Simple last year. "This is especially true when it comes to dry denim, which gets its good looks and personality by wearing — not washing."

Washing jeans has a significant impact on the clothing's carbon footprint too, Bergh told CNBC. A single cycle in the washing machine can use as many as 40 gallons of water, National Geographic reported.

Related: Rare Vintage Levi's Sell for More Than $87,000 at Auction

Bergh maintains that jeans should never be washed in a machine — with an important clarification. He spot-cleans them, or "if they get really gross," he'll "wash them in the shower," per the outlet. Yes, the CEO suggests wearing your jeans into the shower and lathering them with soap as you would the rest of your body to keep them clean.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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