Apparently many young men don’t like to wash their clothes. Countless websites have featured urban hipster males who refuse to wash their artisan-made raw denim jeans because they’re searching for the perfect fade, which washing would wreck. Even the CEO of Levis stated that he has gone a year without washing his jeans. Wool & Prince, whose Kickstarter project of woolen business shirts that supposedly resist B.O. even after 100 days of not washing, has also been profiled widely. I get a sense of a lot of grubby young men looking for a justification to not do their laundry.
Fellas, I hate to tell you this, but speaking as a woman, you definitely need to wash your clothes more often than one to three times a year. I know we’re all trying to reduce our carbon footprints and save the planet, but throwing out basic hygiene is not a good place to start. Long ago and far away I was an undergraduate with very little money for the laundromat, and I remember vividly that a pair of jeans begins to generate a unique and uninviting smell during its second week of going unwashed. This odor is definitely not a good way to greet your date if you are hoping to get lucky later in the evening.
It’s quite true that Americans probably wash too much. Many of us probably know a neurotic friend who maniacally washes every single garment, every single day. That’s obviously too often. If you haven’t spilled pasta sauce on yourself, and if you don’t have smelly feet, and if you don’t have overactive armpit glands, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear your pants, shirts, and socks more than once. But even so, this long-term refusal to wash your jeans and shirts smells to me more like juvenile mud-puppy behavior rather than something that grown men should boast about doing.
Going for months without washing, and ignoring the odor that wafts up out of the groin of your jeans, might prove your authenticity and individuality, but it also means that you’re a scuzzy dog. As per the claims of Wool & Prince, wool fiber will indeed resist B.O. for many days, but dirt is another matter. Your skin’s natural oils (and your zillions of sloughed-off skin flakes) are all soaking into the fabric of your shirt right now, nonstop, day after day. As a hand-knitter who doesn’t like to wash a carefully crafted sweater more often than absolutely necessary, I can vouch from personal experience that a sweater that looks clean to the eye will nevertheless emit an astonishing amount of crud when gently washed in soapy water.
It’s very simple, guys: if you smell bad, you won’t get dates. Don’t feel you need to need to wash everything on a daily basis, but please, for everyone’s sake, do consider a weekly laundering. Your nearest and dearest, and all those strangers who happen to be standing near you in public places, will thank you for doing so.