How to WASH and Care for your JEANS

How to properly clean and maintain jeans to ensure their longevity and appearance; How to keep dark colored jeans from fading when washing and how to wash ripped jeans without damage.

There are many people who do not wash their jeans for months on end when they first buy it – they must love their jeans, so much. This is especially true of raw denim jeans. (This is a secret but there are people who do not wash jeans for even two years – they love the natural fade marks that denim develops in time with wear). Raw denim jeans have a beautiful charm and owners of these jeans do not want that to go away. 

how to wash jeans

Indigo vat dye which colors your jeans is very prone to fading – which is its charm. But maybe that is not what you want.

How to wash jeans for the first time?

If you do not like the idea of fading much, one way is to soak new jeans in water mixed with a small quantity of vinegar. The vinegar in the water help to fix the dye and prevent the jeans from bleeding. Salt is also supposed to do the job.

You can also try dry cleaning your jeans if you don’t want to wash them at home for fear of fading of color. The chemical processes in dry cleaning will make sure that the dyes do not wash out. I would do this for the first one or two washes atleast

Another way (very obvious) is to buy the best quality denim – some of the most premium brands are made with yarns which are multiple dip dyed. The saturated color as a result of better penetration of dye and the resultant rich color will not fade un-attractively.

Proper care of jeans in washing 

One of the best things about a pair of jeans is that with proper care you can use it as long as you want it – because it is made of a very tough fabric (denim) and the sewing construction is also foolproof. Though the fabric is quite strong and long-lasting, and there is no question of seam slippage and other such problems that plague most clothing, there are other variables at play that can make jeans vulnerable when it is washed.

But, just a little care and you have a multi versatile, ever-lasting classic clothing that is all acceptable all over the world in your wardrobe forever and ever.

Can you clean jeans without washing?

Keep it in a freezer!

freeze jeans to freshen it up

A cleaning hack to freshen up jeans between washes.

The first time I heard this, I was choked. How can I keep jeans in my freezer! But desperate situations call for desperate actions.

If you want to freshen up your jeans without touching water, this is one hack you can try. If your jeans are stained, spot-clean the stain before storing them in the fridge. Tightly seal the plastic bag where you have placed the jeans, removing all air from the inside.

Place the bag in the freezer for at least a few hours or overnight. Keeping it in the freezer kills bacteria and reduces bad smells.

The slight dampness makes it feel fresh. After taking it out, hang it to dry and iron it.

There is a theory going around that you should not wash your jeans. So Not good and So Not practical. Imagine carrying all that germs and dirt around for the sake of soft denim. It is true that due to the heavy nature of the denim fabric, jeans become crisp and dry after washing, which is not very appealing or comfortable. When you wear jeans for some time it becomes soft and becomes the perfect casual wear that looks wonderful and feels comfy.

What you can do is to reduce the frequency of your washing. Follow the general jeans care tips given below; And also take extra care if there are special washes, effects, printing, etc on your jeans.

How to prevent fading of jeans?

Yes, this is the most important question nowadays. Sometime back, this did not matter.

There was a time when motley shaded, faded, damaged jeans were in fashion. But today the “ripped and faded to its last fiber” trend is almost over. Light-colored jeans are in fashion, but it is not the distressed fully ripped war-zone look that is in favor. Dark indigo-colored jeans are also popular. Jeans with lots of print, tie-dye look, etc are much in demand and nobody wants these things to fade after you have bought them for a lot of money.

Here are a few tips to prevent fading of the color of the denim and increase the lifespan of your jeans.

How to wash Jeans

Jeans are better washed after more than one use. If it is not too dirty, hang it for another wear and maybe more.

Abrasion because of rubbing with other clothes is a concern when you are using a washing machine to wash your jeans. As an alternative, you can hand wash your most precious jeans – the ones which you definitely do not want to change. Hand washing and drying is a chore but if you are really concerned about retaining color on jeans this is the way to go.

The first step to take care of when you decide to wash your jeans is to turn them inside out. Remove all things from pockets. Zip the fly.

jeans - wash

Jeans, especially the dark-colored ones, must be washed separately from other clothes. Washing them with light-colored cotton clothes can accumulate white lint on them which will be difficult to remove. Another reason why you should do this is that dark colored jeans, when they are new, are prone to bleed a little and this can cause damage to other clothes.

Related posts : How to remove lint from clothes.

Liquid detergent or powdered detergent?

I would say, it’s always better to go with a good quality liquid detergent because powdered detergents can sometimes leave a residue. And also may cause color fade, because powders are stronger.

Use cold water. Hot water is not so good for the fibers and will cause color fade.

Usually jeans dry to a crisp feel – this is not a very comfortable texture on your skin. You can add a fabric softener to avoid this in the rinse cycle.

Drying the jeans

Washed jeans can be either be dried in the open or in the dryer. In both cases make sure your jeans are always kept inside out.

If you are drying them in the open, do not hang them directly under the harsh sun. It’s better to dry them in the shade to prevent color fade.

washing jeans properly

Do not hang them folded at the legs. The fold will dry in place and will be difficult to remove later; Fold near the waist or better use a clip-on hanger and hang from the legs.

If you are using a dryer to dry your jeans, choose the regular setting and never the high heat setting. Too much heat will cause color fade and may even damage the fabric. Generally drying in the dryer may cause some shrinkage. So better to avoid the tumble drying.

As soon as they are dry, take them out of the dryer to avoid wrinkles.

Make sure your jeans are slightly damp when you iron them. If they are completely dry, spray some water before ironing. Care should be taken not to damage the original creases.

How to wash jeans in a washing machine?

It’s always better to wash jeans in cold water rather than hot water. So, set your machine’s temperature to the lowest and wash them in the gentle cycle to treat them delicately.

Add fabric softener to your wash cycle. Jeans tend to be stiff once they are dry. Use of fabric sooner will soften them up.

Some people prefer hand wash rather than machine wash. In that case, soak your jeans in water and detergent for some time. Then give it a few swirls and squeeze out the water. Don’t wring them too tight or it will cause wrinkles.

One important thing to take care of in machine washing is the distressed areas – if there are tears, the friction inside the washing machine is bound to make the tears bigger. If you do not want this, wash it by hand or at least reduce the number of clothes inside at one time and also use a gentle cycle.

Nowadays the exaggerated ripped trend seems to be over and people are looking to repair their jeans tears somehow or the other. Check out this post on fixing holes in your jeans. 

What to do with jeans faded in the wash?

If you have not followed a single thing in this article and your jeans have faded into a color you do not want, there is still a way out – re-dyeing. Buy an appropriate color dye and use it to dye your jeans.

If you do not like the fold lines that jeans develop when you fold them after a wear and you do not want to iron, just hang them by the belt loops.

hang jeans with belt loops

If you have problems with other aspects of your jeans you may want to check out these posts : All about jeans repair

Related posts: 12 washes and finishes that jeans undergoesHow to buy jeans – for your bodyshapeHow to distress your jeans – 15 ways ; How to make ripped jeans ; Jeans alterations

History of jeans : Different types of denim; Different types of jeans; Best Jeans brands

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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