Wash, freeze, or … microwave?

Levi’s has been in the news today, and for an interesting reason. A sigh of validated relief rises from every stressed-out college student as they hear the CEO of Levi’s say yeah, you can wear those jeans again. And again. And again.

I’ve heard the argument for not washing your jeans before, but I never heard of how else denim purists would clean their jeans, if not washing them. One option seems to be freezing them. Pretty cool. Pun intended. Obviously I’m interested, since I’ve already been throwing every piece of antique clothing I buy into a few Ziploc bags and in the freezer for a month.

OK so yeah, science says that generally, freezing isn’t going to help reduce bacteria. Maybe if you keep your jeans in the freezer for a month, as I’ve done with my antique clothing, freezing will be more effective. I don’t know; I use it to kill mold and it seems to work really well. The funnier side of this debate is this silly opinion article. The author is pretty anti-freezing, and suggests that microwaving is the most efficient way of sanitizing clothing. In my opinion, microwaving doesn’t sound like a solution. It might set all my ketchup stains, and that’s a bummer. Also, the metal rivets in jeans tend to be metal, and metal and microwaves kind of have this track record thing going on. Obviously I’m interested,  because now I want Mythbusters to do an episode to see if you can really light your pants on fire on the popcorn setting. I’d totally watch that.

There’s a whole other issue here, though, and everybody seems to be missing it. The really crucial debate is if you’ve got anything else in the freezer with your frozen clothing. Even when double-bagged, the clothes tend to pick up smells. Obviously I’m interested, since I now own half a 100-year-old layette that smells like onions and frozen French Toast.

Damn it.


About Amanda Goebel

I'm an Anthropology / Fashion History and Material Culture graduate from The University of Delaware, currently working on a Master's in Museum Studies. I'm a living historian interested in costume and culture from years before. I love researching the mundane and the everyday that has changed or disappeared since. I re-enact the 18th century, and I recreate clothing from that time. This blog is where I'll write about my research and projects. View all posts by Amanda Goebel

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