A Cleaner (Unexpected) Way to Wash Your Favorite Denim

Sustainable Shopping
blue jeans drying on washing line

Written by Emily Heaslip

The process of finding the perfect pair of jeans is like finding the perfect summer bikini, painful but oh so rewarding. After an exhaustive search, you finally find the perfect pair of jeans that compliment your curves and give you that extra boost of confidence in your step. You’ve invested in a pair that should last you years – that is if you could avoid the dreaded washing machine.

Gambling the life of my favorite go-to skinnies on the “start cycle” button is not promising. The alternative option is even more unappealing — avoiding the wash until my jeans are in critical condition. I thought I had tried all the denim washing tricks in the book but it turns out there was a solution for my dirty denim problem right in front of me — my freezer!


Freezing Your Denim

wash denim in freezer


You didn’t read that wrong, and it’s not a typo. I wash my favorite denim in the freezer! If you have access to a freezer, there is hope for your favorite skinnies too. It is as strange and as easy as it sounds. I fold up my dirty jeans and place them in large ziplock bag, then I move over the Ben & Jerry’s to make room for my jeans to be frozen-clean overnight. The freezing temperature eliminates the bacteria build up and smell. This trick has preserved the wash and feel of my favorite denim. My jeans feel crisp and clean when I slip them on the next morning.

Frozen is Green!

wash less infographics


If longer lasting clean denim isn’t enough motivation for you to freeze your denim, consider your environmental impact and your water/energy bills.

Levi’s, a brand synonymous with denim, is leading the way in jeans freezing. Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh, has not washed his jeans in years but that may be a little bit extreme for some of us, myself included. Bergh points out some shocking facts about the environmental impact of washing denim:

“An average pair of jeans consumes roughly 3,500 liters of water — and that is after only two years of use, washing the jeans once a week. Nearly half of the total water consumption, or 1,600 liters, is the consumer throwing the jeans in the washing machine. That’s equivalent to 6,700 glasses of drinking water!”

That is a lot of drinking water to waste for a process that leaves my jeans looking like faded leggings. Freezer cleaning and air drying denim greatly reduces the average household’s carbon footprint, saves loads of drinking water, and cuts down on monthly bills.

Being Green is Easy

Going green is about making small shifts to better the world around us…this is the perfect way to make a small change and a big difference. I know that this is only one “small way” I can help the environment around me, but I am proud to be a little greener every day. Let me know what you guys think of freeze washing your jeans or if you have any other green tips to share!

Also published on Medium.

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