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article imageStudent wears jeans for 15 months without washing

By Lynn Curwin     Jan 20, 2011 in Science
A University of Alberta student wore a pair of jeans for 15 months without washing them in an effort to both learn how much bacteria was collected and create his ideal pair of jeans.
Josh Le, 20, wore the tight, raw denim Nudie jeans from September 10, 2009 until December 17, 2010.
Although he tried to keep them clean, the jeans sometimes had food spilled on them. He also wore them during some hot weather, and said that they eventually began to smell.
“There were times when it had a bad odour, like in the seventh month,” The Toronto Star quoted him as saying. “That’s when I threw it in the freezer and magically when it came out it was odourless.”
During in interview with Alberta Prime Time he said that the biggest incident with smell was when he went to California and left them in his luggage for days. When he opened the bag a “big waft of stink” came out.
Le estimates he wore the jeans more than 200 times during the experiment. According to Epost Media, he even slept in them for a month.
Before the garment was washed Le’s textile professor Rachel McQueen tested them for bacteria. She found five types of bacteria, with the highest recordings found in the crotch, but they were normal skin bacteria - with nothing dangerous. She said the fact that he wore underwear was helpful.
After they were washed Le wore the jeans for 13 days and then had them tested for bacteria levels again.
"They were similar," CBC News quoted McQueen as saying. "I expected they would still be much lower than after 15 months."
Le was also surprised.
“I was blown away," The Toronto Star quoted him as saying. "I thought there would be a lot more bacteria than was present. It sort of shows that it is okay to not wash jeans.”
McQueen said she would recommend washing clothing more often so that odour doesn't become a problem.
He has now purchased another pair of raw denim jeans (Naked and Famous) and is taking part in a challenge with a friend to see who has the best pair of jeans after about a year.
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