If no one has ever shocked you by telling you that you shouldn’t wash your jeans, you’re probably wondering what this blog post is all about. (“How do you take care of your denim? Uhh, you wear them, wash and fold them, duh!”)
Frankly, that’s what I thought too, and I never thought much of it until a friend of mine admitted that during her entire 9 month trip around the world, she didn’t wash her jeans – and still hadn’t. Did you know that was even a thing? I didn’t. But it occurred to me that I may be doing something wrong when my favorite high waist blue jeans started to fade and lose their shape before my eyes. We’ve all been there, so maybe we have indeed been doing it wrong. You’re probably not saying “Duh!” anymore, right?
In an effort to save our blue jean babies from weathering and withering, I’ve done some research and am going to share 11 practical tips for taking care of your denim. Having just picked up a pair of (almost) new, high waist Goldsign jeans from Crossroads, you and I both could use the help.
1. Make sure you have the right fit. Okay, so the first tip may seem like it has nothing to do with taking care of your jeans, but hear me out. If you buy a pair that doesn’t fit properly, as you wear them they will stretch out as jeans do, and the extra, slouchy fabric will make them look more worn and older than they actually are. A Nordstrom sales associate told me that you should make sure they fit right before you buy, and if the jeans have a lot of stretch in them (likes Sevens), get the smallest size you can get on your body without busting the button. This, she said, would avoid “The saggy butt thing.”
2. Wait as long as you can between washes. There’s an entire school of jean connoisseurs that say you shouldn’t wash your jeans for at least the first six months, and some say you should refrain from washing them period. Apparently the body needs time to break them in and form them, while washing detergents and the dryers harm the wash and the fabric you’ve been molding. Personally, I can’t endorse not washing them at all or even waiting six months, but it is safe to say that you should wait as long as you can to wash them, and that length of time is relative to you.
If you are going to wait six months to wash them…try and keep them fresh by 3. Airing them out with dryer sheets in their pockets. A sales associate at Levi’s also told me that you can 4. Freeze them to kill any bacteria. Just be sure you’ve wrapped them up well before you put them between your food. And of course, 5. Spot clean when necessary. Some people also Febreeze their jeans if they start to smell and they still don’t want to wash them…but seriously, if your jeans are to the point that they smell, just wash them. Instructions ahead.
So now that we’ve got through that, let’s talk about Team I am going to wash these jeans.
6. Hand wash jeans. Ideally, you’re going to hand wash your jeans because it’s so much gentler on them, but if not, at least be sure to use the gentle cycle on them.
7. Wash them inside out to prevent fading as much as possible, and if fading occurs, at least it’s even. This also prevents the outer fabric from rubbing against the inside of the machine.
8. Wash them with cold water to help them from fading.
9. Wash them with non-biological washing powder. A biological washing powder, basically, can break down stains, dirt and oil – it’s your regular washing detergent. A non-biological washing detergent is easier on the fabric and your skin, and helps retain that “broken in” shape and fade you’ve created.
10. If you’re going to use regular detergent, use liquid detergent instead of powder – the wash and fade will be more even.
11. Air dry. Avoid the dryer for more unnecessary wear.