This article was originally published on Better After 50.
Last week, Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Company, caused quite a stir. In response to a question about how often we should wash our jeans, he admitted that he hadn't washed the jeans he was wearing in a year. Really, a whole year.
Despite the uproar and the "ew" factor, apparently it is not unhealthy to not wash your jeans. A 2011 study conducted by the University of Alberta compared bacteria levels on a pair of jeans not washed for over a year with a pair washed after almost two weeks of wear, and found that they were practically identical.
But that's just bacteria levels, after all. I heard about this denim washing debate just a few hours after eating a burrito bowl in my car rushing between appointments. I had the paper "to go" bag on my lap as a napkin and I was careful as could be, but still somehow managed to slobber a little guac, black beans, and salsa on my favorite jeans.
So I say, show me a man who hasn't washed his jeans in a year, and I'll show you a man that doesn't eat in his car.Chip Bergh may be a middle-aged man (he's 57), but if he is suggesting that his women counterparts can go more than a few days without washing their jeans, he doesn't know middle-aged women. Please, ladies, don't listen to Chip. It's imperative that we wash our jeans...here are a few reasons why:
- Who among us has not put their coffee cup between their thighs while backing out of the driveway as we put on our seat belt? Who among us does not toss the plastic sippy tops that come with a hot coffee to go because they are so annoying? Who among us thinks that jeans with coffee stains are a good look?
- Is there anything better than a frozen yogurt cone -- with chocolate sprinkles-- in the car on a hot summer day? Cars are not just for burrito bowls, after all. Obviously, Chip has never eaten a Caesar salad wrap on the highway while talking on bluetooth.
- Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go... but we don't always make it on time. Unless your favorite perfume is eau d'pee, those jeans need to see the washing machine.
- Clean jeans feel oh so good!
- We may fan our hot flashes near our necks and boobs, but they are full body experiences -- legs, crotch and butt included.
- We drink a lot of red wine... and our balance isn't so great.
- We clean kitchens and bathrooms.
- We open pomegranates.
- We eat a lot of chocolate in the summer. And we don't always have a napkin.
- We make tomato soup in the blender and sometimes we don't put the top on tight.
- Lastly, and most importantly, many of us women measure our weight gain by the feel of our jeans. If we never wash them, we never get a reality check. Unwashed jeans for a year may inadvertently result in millions of women gaining weight.
But enough of all that. Time to move on to more important questions: What did I do with my keys? Where are my reading glasses? Who can help?
For sure, I'm not asking Chip.
Read more from Better After 50:
Yes, You Can Ditch Belly Fat After 50
Size 12 And Beautiful
Makeup Over 50: Tips, Tricks and Product Recommendations
I Forgot To Diet For Swim Suit Season