What not to wash

The other day I came across this doozie from the CEO of Levi’s: don’t wash your jeans

Don’t wash your jeans. Really? Do you know how much time I spend washing jeans? I immediately saw a filmstrip in my mind of me with hours of time granted back because I don’t have to wash jeans: I’m strolling around the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a butt scavenger hunt, something my friend Beth (like me only with more wonderful ideas) said she once did. Now I’m sitting in a comfy chair re-reading some Maya Angelou (I totally forgot why the caged bird sings. How does that happen?) and look! That’s me coming to the end of the Appalachian trail! I have brambles in my hair and a wild look in my eyes, but I’m tan, fit and have an air of accomplishment.

Well, turns out I’m not getting all that extra time. Turns out we are not supposed to machine was our jeans because Mr Fancy Pants CEO of Levi’s wants to be all environmentally responsible. Thousands of gallons of water used in the life of a pair of jeans, detergents going in the water supply blah blah blah. But what he does want us to do is spot clean them with a toothbrush and hang them to dry. Oh, and freeze them to get rid of the germs and smell.



Well, sorry environment, I’m not gonna do that. Toothbrushes are for teeth and I have enough trouble keeping  that up. The whole thing sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. I only use cold water anyway, and freezing probably uses as much electricity. Plus, as this person pointed out, the freezing process might not really work and heating is more effective. As much as it might be fun to stash our clothing in the microwave and freezer, I think that might drive my husband right over the edge.

So, what are the things you really don’t need to wash? I did a little research, and this is what I came up with:

According to http://www.realsimple.com, which recently ran a cover tag-line that read “Easy Ways to Clean Anything” (actually just an alphabetical listing of 26 things that started with different letters, but an interesting read), you DON’t have to wash: the dishwasher (unless it smells, which my family is always saying ours does — so I do clean it with lemishine), your duvet, because it’s the cover that takes all the yucky, and the freezer. Man, I have totally cleaned all of those. They do say you should clean the duvet if a stain gets through the cover, which is what happened to us. And you can refer to this picture of my freezer before cleaning.

So, what else? CNN was inspired by the Levi’s guy and ran this feature about what you don’t have to clean. http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/24/health/gallery/what-not-to-wash/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Here’s my takeaway from that one. Duh! Why would I wash a salad bag that says pre-washed? Though I have heard that it isn’t really really clean, but it was  a neatfreak conspiracy theorist who said that. Also, I think this sneaky article, which is actually titled (after they get you to click with “What you can skip washing”) “What you can skip washing — and what you can’t” is reporting that according to the NIH and the graphics person who handled this story, you are supposed to be washing bananas. Show of hands: who is washing their bananas before eating them? Police, please cuff those hands.

Over on Martha Stewart Living’s website, I searched the site for “don’t wash” and “you don’t have to wash” but there were only articles about how to wash stuff (including jeans, by the way) and, curiously, an article titled “Have you tried figs” which did not have any directions about washing or not washing these figs they want you to try.

There is also an interesting trend of not washing either your hair or your face to maintain its natural balance, but I’m not sure this really counts, because it just means wash less often or with something different from the traditional shampoo or soap formula. It’s funny because this is the same week my 11-year-old son came home with an info-packet from school that read “What’s that smell. Oh no! It’s Me!.”


This story originally appeared at The Ill-Prepared Housewife before my son began taking multiple showers a day. I mean, immediately before.