Introduction: Freeze Wash Your Jeans

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

I recently read an article on abc news about Levi's CEO Chip Bergh not washing his 501 Levi jeans for a year. He wants to preserve the color and shape of the jeans. He mentioned that 501 jeans "do not need to be washed as often as people might think, if ever." He spots clean and air dries his 501's. The don't wash jeans is gaining popularity and some say they use the freezer method to freshen their jeans while others use the sun dried method. Some will spray the jeans with alcohol or vinegar. This method certainly conserves water and reduces the negative impact on our environment. I read several articles that a washer uses 25-40 gallons of water for a full load. Front loaders use much less but it is still a lot of water.The older washers use 40.

I did a little research to see if this was a safe method. According to Stephen Craig Cary, a university of Delaware expert of frozen microbes, freezing will not always kill the bacteria, but rather put them in a dormant state until they come in contact with something warm. Link here:

I also found an article about vinegar killing 99.9% bacteria. Good Housekeeping's microbiologist Gina Morino, mentioned vinegar effectively kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. Here is the link: .

A student did an experiment on the freezer method comparing the bacteria from the no wash jeans; to jeans that had been only worn three days after washing. Both jeans had the same amount of bacteria. Link:

With the information that I found about freeze washing your jeans to preserve the color and shape; I tweaked these methods to give those people who are leaning towards the no wash jeans method but hesitate because they wonder how sanitary it might be. Lets get started.

Step 1: This Is What You Will Need


Distilled white vinegar

Spray bottle

Dirty jeans

Plastic bag

Damp wash cloth

Step 2: Pre-treat Method

Pre-treating the jeans:

First shake out the jeans.

Turn them inside-out and shake again.

Spot clean any stains using the damp cloth.

Step 3: Spray and Hang


Spray the vinegar over the full surface of the jeans.

Turn in-side out and repeat this process.

Hang the jeans in-side out; outdoors in the sun for 20 minutes. This will kill 99.9% of the bacteria.

If it is winter dry them in front of a sunny window or heat vent.

Turn the jeans right side out and if they are not completely dry leave them hanging until they are.

Shake jeans again.

Bring them indoors.

Step 4: Freeze


Fold the jeans inside-out. You can see from the picture I forgot to do this.

Place the jeans in a plastic bag removing all the air.

Seal as tight as you can.

Place the bag in the freezer for 24 hours.

Step 5: Remove From the Freezer and Wear

Remove the jeans from the freezer:

Remove the jeans from the plastic bag.

Give them a vigorous shake.

The freezer method freshens the fabric.

If it is summertime put them on and chill out and stay cool!

If it is wintertime place them near a heater vent to warm up.

Get dressed and go skiiing!

Step 6: Sunshiines Final Thoughts

I can see this method working for expensive jeans that will only be worn for a few hours here and there over a period of time. The reason I hung the jeans out in the sun for 20 minutes was to be sure to kill the bacteria before you froze them. That only leaves 1% bacteria left on the jeans. I froze them after they hung outside with vinegar because I thought the freezer might kill the remaining 1% of bacteria that might have been weekend by the vinegar. I shook the jeans several times to remove any skin cells that might be on the fabric. One could vacuum them.The vinegar smell will go away after air drying. Imagine how much water is saved over a years time. Whew that is a lot of water.

Maybe those who are leaning towards the no wash jeans method will feel a little more at ease using this method.

If not you might want to take a peek at my other green method here:

I always take a moment to thank instructables and contributors for making this community a great sharing experience.

Thank you for stopping by and have a cool summer!


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