When it comes to water conservation, there are two approaches. There’s the wide-sweeping collaborative effort we see happening locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Then ther’s what I like to call the drop-by-drop approach—individuals making adjustments at home and work to save and reuse water. Both are equally as effective and critical to our water preservation goals. What I love about the drop-by-drop approach is that they’re often easier to implement, offer cost and energy savings and, as more people do these things, the impact really adds up. Moreover, many of these opportunities are right under our noses—or, in our closets, as it were!
Take your jeans for instance. Washing and drying jeans consumes a significant amount of energy. In terms of water alone, washing one pair of jeans every week for a year requires more than 460 gallons of water. Here are a few denim Do’s and Don’ts that will both help you save water, money and time and preserve the look and life of your favorite jeans.
- Do buy better quality jeans. Not “cheaping out” will benefit you in the long run because you’ll need to wash them and replace them less. Moreover, the fewer new jeans you buy the lower your water footprint—it takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans.
- Do stretch it out. The longer you can go without a wash, the better it is for your jeans and our environment. Some people never wash their jeans. But if that doesn’t sit right with you, the general consensus is to go at least 5 wears before a wash.
- Do attend to your jeans if they stink! However, don’t automatically resort to machine- or hand-washing. Instead hang your jeans outside on a breezy, sunny day or occasionally try the use of freshener products like Mr. Black’s Denim Refresh.
- Do wash your jeans if you need to change the fit. Washing jeans will return them to a tighter fit and closer to that brand-new fit.
- Do avoid white jeans. White jeans don’t have the washing issues of blue and black jeans; however, they do show dirt and stains more prominently and require more frequent, water-consuming washing.
- Don’t wash your jeans when you bring them home from the store. After that first wash, the look and feel will never be the same. However, if you are at risk for having an allergic reaction from some of the chemicals used for dyeing, you may want to have your new jeans dry cleaned before wearing.
- Don’t wash your jeans after every wear. The longer you can go without a wash, the better it is for your jeans’ longevity and natural faded look. Because denim is not a delicate fabric, it doesn’t require frequent washing. Moreover, if you want that stylish look of natural creases and fades, avoid washing. Washing will breakdown fibers and weaken the fabric and cause color breakdown as well.
- Don’t wash your jeans just because there’s a spot or stain. Before turning to the washing machine, try using a damp cloth to spot-wash the dirt first.
- Don’t wash raw denim—ever—if you can help it. At the very most wash them only every six months to preserve that deep, consistent indigo that inspired you to buy them in the first place. The same applies to black jeans.
- Don’t worry about microbes. As a rule, any microbes your jeans pick up after you wear them are harmless.