Care myth #1: Clean raw denim in the freezer

Wiki home » Raw denim care myths » Myth #1: Freezer

This is arguably the most hyped myth; the one about freezing your jeans.

The premise here is a flawed idea that low temperatures remove unwanted odours in your jeans (and other clothes for that matter) by killing the bacteria that cause the smell.

raw denim care freezer
Photo curtesy of Jeff Marini

We’re talking about bacteria that amass as sloughed skin and dirt ends up in your jeans when you do not wash them. And these bacteria thrive at the temperature of the human body.

But some bacteria can survive even very low temperatures, Stephen Craig Cary, who’s expert on frozen microbes, explains in the Smithsonian. What’s more, it takes only one survivor to repopulate your jeans when they warm up again.

Victor aka @selvedge1 on Instagram explains the science of body odours:

“The source of the smells in body odour is skin gland secretions and bacterial activity. Many of these secretions are broken down by bacteria into molecules that we recognise as body odour,” Victor says.

These molecules transfer into the cotton fibres in denim when you sweat,” he adds. “And freezing does not remove the molecules already embedded in the denim fabric.”

Sub-zero temperatures do put the molecules to sleep, so to speak. Danny Hodgson from Rivet and Hide isn’t one to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your jeans. But he’s experienced himself how the freezing works only until the jeans defrost and the bad odour returns.

The only way to ensure you get rid of the cause of the smell is through washing!

The bottom line is that freezing your jeans will not remove the smell and magically clean the denim. For that, you need water and soap.


Wiki home » Raw denim care myths » Myth #1: Freezer

Scroll to Top