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Don't Be Gross! Here's How Often You Should Wash Your Dirty Ass Jeans

Okay, it’s honesty time. When was the last time you washed your jeans? Don’t give me the answer you think I want to hear; tell me the truth. Because if you can’t even remember the last time you washed them, you’re not alone. 

For some reason, we all collectively decided that jeans were one of those things we could just get away with not washing as often as our other clothes — and there’s kind of some truth to that. Jeans, by definition, are made of denim, which comes from cotton. “Cotton, in general, is one the most antimicrobial fabrics, as well as one of the most breathable materials,” Raymond E. Kleinfelder III, DO, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist, tells Betches. “As such, denim is probably the most resilient type of pant, requiring the least amount of washing compared to regular pants or pajama pants.” 

But before you think you’re off the hook entirely, this doesn’t mean you can just skip the wash for as long as possible. How often you should wash your jeans has a lot to do with the microbial organisms that transfer from your skin to the inside of your favorite pair of jeans when you wear them.

How Often Should You Wash Your Jeans?

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The longer you wear your jeans without washing them, the more susceptible they become to harboring organisms that can be transferred to your skin. This can cause a lot of problems, including bacterial folliculitis (red, itchy bumps on your legs), staph infections, yeast and fungal infections, and odor. 

“Some of these organisms will be picked up in the environment, while others are already on all of our skin and get transferred from you to your clothing,” Kleinfelder says. 

According to Kleinfelder, you should wash your jeans every three to five wears. Oops. You might have to wash them a bit more depending on how you wear your jeans. For example, we all know that if we get a gross stain or spot on our jeans, it’s time to clean them. But did you know that if you like wearing thongs, you should wash your jeans more often? This is because of potential “bathroom bacteria,” as Kleinfelder calls it, that might be rubbing up on your jeans. He also says this is the same reason anyone who goes commando should be washing their jeans more, but if you’re someone who doesn’t wear underwear beneath your jeans… I recommend you see a therapist because something is definitely wrong with you.

Also, if you’re wearing your jeans on the subway or going out dancing in them a lot, just go ahead and throw them in the wash for me.

But What If I Have Fancy Designer Jeans? 

“Jean manufacturers would love it if you never washed your jeans to maintain the high quality of the denim,” he says. “Unfortunately, this is not practical.”

I totally get it if you’re worried about ruining your jeans by washing them so often. But the solution here isn’t to skimp on washes because your skin will pay the price. Your best bet may just be finding really great jeans.

“There is high-quality denim and low-quality denim,” Kleinfelder says. “The former will be more resilient to more washes, while the latter will start to tatter with frequent washing. While this does not change my washing recommendations above, it may be something to consider before you swipe your credit card.” 

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.