Levi’s CEO Explains Why You Should Never Wash Your Jeans


The Levi’s CEO is sounding a shocking fashion alarm, advising people to abandon the very notion of washing their jeans. While the common consensus has always been to launder clothes after a few wears, the denim titan Charles ‘Chip’ Bergh, at the helm of the $5.82 billion Levi Strauss & Co, contends that denim, particularly in the form of iconic Levi’s jeans, is exempt from such conventional laundry norms.

Bergh, who’s led the clothing behemoth since 2011, divulged his denim care secret to Fortune in 2014, asserting that a high-quality pair of jeans rarely needs the brutal treatment of a washing machine. In a jaw-dropping revelation, he confessed to not washing his favorite jeans for an astonishing decade, according to The Evening Standard.

This denim heresy prompted Bergh to clarify his remarks on CNBC, emphasizing, “I never said don’t wash your jeans.” However, he stood by the notion that true denim enthusiasts, the ones who genuinely cherish their denim, advise against machine washing.

John Reid, the managing director at clothing retailer Garment Quarter, echoed this denim dogma, cautioning that washing denim is a cardinal sin for those in the know. The sheer volume of water in a washing machine, Reid warned, can irreversibly alter the appearance and color of denim, causing it to fade over time. He pointed out that cotton-based denim jeans with minimal stretch become more comfortable with age.

The shocker doesn’t end there – not washing your jeans, according to Reid, extends their lifespan by preventing the fibers from wearing down, averting the dreaded scenario of holes or rips. Bergh, in the event of a spill on his prized denim, prefers spot-cleaning or, in extreme cases, a shower wash.

For those still flabbergasted by the audacity of not washing jeans, Levi’s has graciously provided a guide on its website, outlining the supposedly correct way to clean denim. The guide insists that denim, having originated as ‘workwear,’ is far from delicate and can handle being wet without damage, rendering dry cleaning “pretty unnecessary.”

If, however, one chooses to defy the no-wash doctrine and toss their jeans into the machine, Levi’s recommends turning them inside out to shield the color, closing the zipper to maintain shape, and opting for cold water to prevent shrinkage and fading. The guide also advocates infrequent washing, suggesting a maximum of once every 10 wears to preserve the ‘distinct lines and creases.’

In a defiant stand against conventional laundry wisdom, Levi’s champions the mantra that less washing equals more stylish longevity, challenging the very fabric of our laundry habits.