How to Wash Jeans
For most of us, jeans are more than just trusty wardrobe staples, they’re dear friends. They go with practically everything. They’re super comfortable. Amazingly durable. Come in a variety of fits, finishes, and colors to match our mood and personality.
The perfect clothing? Just maybe.
But taking care of our jeans can often feel like a bit of a mystery. To wash or not to wash? And if so, how often? Should you turn them inside out? Can jeans go in the dryer?
Denim lovers, we see you, and we’re here to help. Our practical guide on how to wash jeans and keep them fresh and fit for the long term has all the answers.
While you can technically wear jeans right off the rack, showing your new demin some love is always a good idea. To give them a proper welcome to your wardrobe, we recommend gently washing jeans by hand to remove some of the starch and soften them up for a cozier first wearing. Wash in cold water in the bathtub or sink with a mild, plant-based detergent, then hang to dry.
The short answer: less often than you think. It might feel natural to toss your jeans into the hamper after 1-2 uses but washing jeans too often can cause them to fade more quickly. And, unless they’re saturated with sweat from summer fun or mud splattered from a rainy-day hike, they probably don’t need it. We recommend spot cleaning and air drying most of the time, then washing once a month, or around every 10 times you wear them.
1. Read the garment label: You want to ensure your jeans are machine washable and how best to wash them.
2. Turn your jeans inside out: Washing jeans inside out helps preserve their color and finish.
3. Keep it Cool & Gentle: Washing jeans in cold water on gentle cycle with a mild laundry detergent helps protect them for the long term.
4. Dry by Hand: If possible, air dry your jeans to help protect their shape and size. Smooth them out and dry on a flat surface or over a hanger. The shower curtain works great. If you need to use the dryer, always dry on low/gentle and try to take your jeans out slightly damp.
Sometimes, you may prefer handwashing your jeans. If they’re embroidered, or a darker color that’s more likely to fade quickly, washing jeans by hand is highly recommended.
1. Fill a tub or sink with cool or lukewarm water: Just enough to submerge your jeans should do the trick.
2. Add detergent: Pour in a small amount of your favorite plant-based liquid laundry detergent and swirl to mix.
3. Add your jeans: Make sure your pockets are empty, then submerge your jeans in the water. Make sure to wear plastic gloves and don’t make direct contact with the detergent. Using your gloved hands, swish the jeans around for a couple of minutes.
4. Soak: Allow your jeans to hang out in the soapy water for 15-20 minutes.
5. Drain, then refill: Drain the dirty water, then re-fill and let your jeans soak for another 5-10 minutes to remove any soap residue.
6. Remove excess water & dry: Fold or roll (never wring) your jeans to remove excess water, then air dry on a flat surface, or tumble dry on gentle, removing when still slightly damp.
Though grass stains may feel like the death of denim, they’ll soon be a memory if treated properly. First pre-treat the stain with a plant-based stain spray formulated to release tough stains from clothing. After letting the stain remover sit for a few minutes, work the liquid into the denim using an old toothbrush or utility cloth. Then, machine wash as directed above.
And there you have it denim lovers! Washing jeans isn’t so hard after all. We hope that learning the ins and outs of how to wash jeans makes your denim life even more fabulous—and keeps your jeans looking and feeling great for years to come.