A few weeks ago, I asked the question, “Can the freezer really clean your jeans?” After hearing stories from denim enthusiasts who would do anything to maintain the wash of their jeans, by going months without washing them, dry cleaning them, and freeze cleaning. I was intrigued, but skeptical. The theory was that you could kill the bacteria (and smell) by freezing the bacteria, but the typical household freezer does not get cold enough to kill bacteria, certainly not enough to kill the bacteria in food. So if you drop your favorite cookie on the floor, you won’t kill any bacteria by freezing it, so you might as well eat the darn cookie off the floor.
The freeze-clean method of jeans has been around for a few years. I first heard of it two years ago, and people still do it. So there must be something to it, because people keep doing it. I tested it out for myself finally after getting a pair of jeans I don’t feel comfortable washing as it has painted on elements, the Tory Burch Painted Skinny Jeans.
Here is what I did:
Placed the jeans in a large zip freezer bag, then put the jeans in the freezer.
Took them out to see if they smelled clean. They were cold, and smelled like the freezer. No hint of anything else but the freezer.
Some people suggest one day, others suggest one week, so I returned the jeans to the freezer for the rest of the week. After taking them out, they still smelled like the freezer, so I left them out to go back to room temperature. They certainly smelled fresher than they did when I put them in a week earlier. They no longer smelled like a freezer.
Now here comes the major test. Some people doubt the freeze cleaning method because they argue that the bacteria just resumes growing once it goes back to room temperature, so we had to leave the jeans at room temperature to see if this is true, if they would go back to their original state.
I found that after leaving my jeans out a week, after being in the freezer for a week that they were as fresh as the day I took them out of the freezer. From what I could tell with a naked eye, the bacteria did not make itself known to me.
The freezer method really does work to freshen your jeans. I would do this with black jeans, or any pair I want the fabric to be preserved. Initially, I thought I would keep up my waxed jeans the same way, but they got dirt and salt on them from walking in the snow, therefore needing a real wash.
Freeze cleaning is better than using a fabric freshener like Febreze, better than those dry clean in your dryer sheets, but not as good as actual dry cleaning or of course traditional washing. A better term for the “freeze cleaning” would be “freeze freshening” because jeans feel do fresher after they’ve spent some time in the freezer.