It’s a question we often get asked, and the answer we give often surprises people.
The real jean aficionado likes to wash his jeans as rarely as possible; the reason being that every wash degrades and weakens the denim fabric.
Now, if you get mud and muck on your jeans, you’ve got no choice but to put them in the washing machine on a 30°/40° wash, but if you just want to get rid of the odours the solution is to put them in a resealable bag and put them in the freezer for a few days.
Sounds crazy, I know, but it kills the germs and doesn’t harm the material in any way. We recommend the same thing with protective jeans, especially those with a Kevlar lining.
Kevlar degrades when it comes into contact with chlorine or bleach, and these ingredients do sometimes feature in washing powders. Kevlar is also affected by UV light, so hanging them out in the sun can also cause damage.
Now, what we are told is that other weaves that are blended with aramid fibres are less affected. But the fact is that if you want your protective jeans to stay effective for longer, the freezer compartment may be a good idea.
Does this mean that protective jeans lose their effectiveness over time? Well, the answer is yes, but depending on how much you wear them, and how often you wash them, it could take many years for them to lose their protective qualities.
Our view, though, is that if you’re wearing jeans that are five years old or older, they’re almost certainly not going to give you the levels of protection they did when you first bought them, and the reality is that it might be time for a new pair.
Helmets only have an effective life of five years, and the same almost certainly applies to riding jeans.