Levi's CEO: Stop washing your jeans

05/23/2014 9:45 AM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

You probably own a pair of jeans, if not several. And like the average human, you probably wash them regularly.

But according to Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh, you shouldn’t. Put down the detergent and step away from the washing machine, he recommends.

"In real rough terms, 50 percent of the water usage is consumed by the time the consumer gets their jean," Bergh told Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference. "The other 50 percent is after the consumer buys them in the store and is washing them all the time."

Then Bergh pointed to the dark denim Levi's he was wearing and noted that although they were a year old "they have yet to see a washing machine." Then he added: "I know that sounds disgusting."

When asked how often jeans should be washed, Bergh responded: "Not very often." Instead, he suggested that spot-cleaning with sponges, toothbrushes and Tide pens and air-drying would usually be sufficient.

If you’re willing to follow Bergh’s advice, go ahead and mark those jeans as one less item to add to that ever-growing pile of laundry.

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