08/05/2014 10:42 BST | Updated 08/07/2014 06:59 BST

To Wash or Not to Wash?


Anyone reading this will probably have one thing in common when it comes to their wardrobe, and that is the feature of jeans. The comfort of a good pair of jeans can resemble the same that comes from receiving a hug off your mum, or having a coffee with an old friend. Whether you like yours baggy, tight, ripped, embellished, cut off, high wasted or low riding; we all have a well-loved pair of jeans that we turn to in times of need.

However when it comes down to denim there is one fact that can be as mystifying as the world's greatest conundrums... The Bermuda Triangle, Stone Henge, Big Foot ... all similar in comparison to the enigma that has probably entered each and every one of your heads at some point. It entered mine one wild Saturday night when I sat staring at the reddish spaghetti stain that had appeared on my favourite pair of denim pipes... and that is how you should actually wash your jeans?

The threats with washing jeans are numerous; losing shape, colour, style, length (potentially the worst one, boot leg ankle swingers will never look good on anyone), and everyone will have their own tips and tricks that you've probably test ran over the years. Old wives tales ranging from a cold soak, bathing them in vinegar (that's genuine, apparently the odour does disappear after drying), wet wipes, freezing, washing them after every wear, not washing them at all (you know who you are) or the classic steam shower (apparently). Despite there being a world of washing opportunity out there we are all pretty clueless about what road we should actually go down. So before you go reaching for the balsamic or having your jeans join you in the shower, how should you actually wash them?

Well in a nutshell, you shouldn't, or as little as you can get away with without causing someone to heavily sniff in your company. However before you're enlightened on the correct formalities when it comes to washing your denims, let's take a look at what you as a whole opt for in the first place. New Look commissioned a survey asking 2000 of the general public their habits when it comes to the trouser department....

Out of this survey 524 said they wash their jeans after only wearing them a couple of times or less, and 971 washing them after getting 'quite a few' wears out of them. 43 said they would only wash them if someone commented on the smell (still a worryingly high number) and 10 of you said 'other'. This allusive 'other' is both intriguing and slightly alarming, so please get in touch and enlighten us. They'll be no judging.

One surprising conclusion from this survey was that 32 females said that if they were to spill something on their jeans they would bath it in vinegar... whereas interestingly, a higher 48 males would do the same. Boys, where did you learn this jewel of cleaning wisdom and why have you not been sharing? Another fun fact was that 25 males said they would think to cover the stain with a patch, whereas a mere 8 ladies said they would do the same.... so needle and thread out fellas, there is no excuse now.

Another determination that can be made from this survey is that females revert to the washing machine after a few wears, whereas males tend to see it out a little longer (probably because they are busy persisting with the malt vinegar or adorning their Levi's with patch work). Overall, 64% of people aren't actually aware of the recommendation not to wash your jeans, and only 6% of this number will actually follow this advice through. 64% of you wash your jeans after only wearing them 2-5 times, and only 17% will consider washing after 10+ wears.

So it looks like not many of us will be taking Tommy Hilfiger's stance on washing our denims, once quoting "I never wash my Levi's. I love them broken in'. However, if we are all going to be persistent with our washing then here are some pearls of wisdom to help you on your path to denim enlightenment.

This psalm of washing philosophy? Well it all actually depends what kind of denim you have, this is where most of the confusion lies. Look upon denim like human beings. We are all predominately made of the same stuff, but the male and female genders can react and behave in different ways. The same with denim, like humans are categorized by being either female or male, with denim you have either 'raw' or 'treated'. Raw, is unwashed and dry. It never receives a wash after drying, so the colour isn't locked. Therefore, the part of the jeans that receives the most stress (thigh and upper knee) will react by fading over time. Whereas treated, is already washed. This means it is more stable during the washing cycle because it's already been washed out, so doesn't react as much as raw denim does. So avoid washing your raw, but cleanse away your treated. As for the male and female comparison, you can decide who is who.

This information opens up an entire new realm of opportunity, now you can choose. Opt for raw denim and own a jean that you can make your mark on, being eventually able to read your life story from by just looking at the fibre of them. If not then treated is your pairing, seeking comfort and care. Knowing that even though you may be making less of a mark on them, what you see is what you get.

Whether this article has completely changed your perception on the subject of denim as a whole, driven you to sniff your jeans and wonder 'how many wears could I actually get away with then?' or made you look at your boyfriend and think 'I've always fancied a patch work quilt....' then it has achieved something. Thanks to New Look we are now a lot clearer on how we can finally treat our jeans the way they deserve to be treated. Now, where's the vinegar...