Researcher Proves You’re Washing Your Clothes More Often than You Should

Would you dare to sniff a pair of jeans that haven’t been washed in three months? If the very thought of it seems disgusting, wait till you hear this. This March, there’s going to be an exhibition of thirty such pairs at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

The unusual collection of dirty jeans is the result of an experiment conducted by Tullia Jack, a researcher from Melbourne. In an effort to prove that people wash their clothes way too often, she recruited thirty volunteers to wear their jeans unwashed, five days a week, for three months. Ms. Jack is a student at the Melbourne University and a fashion lecturer at RMIT. “Not washing your jeans isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds,” she says. The experiment is a part of her Master of Philosophy thesis and she wants to use the findings to challenge our ‘extreme clean’ culture.

Photo © Mike Keating

I really don’t get what she’s trying to prove however, since the jeans are still filthy. Sure, denim doesn’t get dirty very soon when compared to other clothes, but isn’t three months stretching it too far? Ms. Jack herself admits that she can smell eggshells and caramel on the test pants. However, she claims that these aren’t ‘socially challenging’ smells. “They just smell like people,” she says.

The participants were selected through social media. Both men and women between the ages of 18 and 56 were chosen. The findings of her experiment with dirt are pretty varied. The most obvious one, is of course the amount of water, detergent and electricity that was saved. But that’s not all. About half the group felt challenged after the first 3 to 6 weeks, not wanting to wear the jeans anymore. However, they got past this phase, and by the end of the three months, about 15 participants wanted to continue wearing the dirty jeans. It was also established that the men washed inner layers more often, as they were conscious of their odor. Surprisingly, the men’s jeans were less smelly when compared to the women’s.


The entire effort put in by Ms. Jack and the participants in three months can be neatly summarized in her own words, “You don’t really need to wash clothes as often as you think. Stains come and go, they just wear off.”

via Adelaide Now

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