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quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot


February means Fashion Week in New York, where style trends are born and the newest looks are big business. But what about the rest of us? What about you, a randomly chosen non-supermodel reading a short trivia piece on the Internet? What do you know about fashion? Don't get me wrong, you look great today, but there are a lot of sartorial misconceptions that make the rounds in our culture. We've asked Ken Jennings, who is well-dressed at least by the low standards of Jeopardy! contestants, to go through our closets and throw out all the wrong stuff we thought we knew about our clothes.

The Debunker: Should You Freeze Your Jeans?

In 2014, speaking at a business summit on sustainability, Chip Bergh told the crowd that he was wearing a pair of jeans that hadn't been laundered in over a year. That might sound like an odd way to begin a corporate speech, but Bergh had a little credibility: he's the president and CEO of Levi Strauss.

The Debunker

Bergh was just articulating the official Levi's position: when your jeans get smelly, don't put them in the washing machine. Pop them in the freezer next to the Bagel Bites. The theory is that the cold temperature will kill the odor-causing germs on your jeans without wasting water or putting too much wear and tear on the denim. If you have any follow-up questions, you're in luck: there are literally hundreds of YouTube jeans-freezing tutorials out there to fill you in.

If this practice sounds hygienically dicey to you, you're not alone. Craig Cary, a microbial ecologist at the University of Delaware who studies Antarctic bacteria, told Smithsonian in 2011 that many microbes are well-adapted to low temperatures, and it doesn't take that many survivors to get a germ colony back up to speed the jeans are out of the icebox. An expert in skin microflora at the NIH concurred, pointing out that freezing jeans doesn't actually clean anything off of them, so all the sweat and spills and sloughed skin that bacteria feed on are still there. If you want cold jeans, freeze your jeans. But if you want them clean, you might want to give water and detergent a try.

Quick Quiz: What word for denim clothing comes from a village from Mumbai famed for its coarse calico fabric?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at or on Twitter as @KenJennings.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages photospread

Are you referring to dungaree/dungarees?


quality posts: 2 Private Messages kodiak55

I think you're missing a word in the third paragraph: "...survivors to get a germ colony back up to speed once the jeans are out of the icebox.


quality posts: 3 Private Messages deanerino1

why do people feel the need to correct typos on the internet? Did you understand what he was saying? Then, does it matter?


quality posts: 1 Private Messages bfselby

If you do try freezing your jeans, it is recommended you take them off first. Be forewarned that this is grounds for being escorted out of Safeway.


quality posts: 11 Private Messages SurplusHP

Plus I've always wanted to feel smarter than a Jeopardy champon.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages McStagger

This guy has obviously never owned raw denim...

Too many woots, too little time...


quality posts: 0 Private Messages mrklaw

Is the "coarse calico fabric" where we get the name khaki?


quality posts: 57 Private Messages aardwolf64
deanerino1 wrote:why do people feel the need to correct typos on the internet? Did you understand what he was saying? Then, does it matter?

Especially in a news article, it's so that the author has a chance to correct it. I'm sure Ken would have wanted it to be typo free, but he never reads the comments anyway...