The Proper Way To Wash Jeans

Jeans are one of the most fashionable items you can have in your wardrobe. They’re durable, attractive, comfortable, and strong. They also come in different colors, meaning you can choose one that suits your taste and needs. Nonetheless, keeping jeans clean can be tough. So, what’s the best way to wash them?

Jeans can be hand or machine-washed. If you’re using a machine, make sure to use cold water, and choose an appropriate detergent, preferably one designed for jeans. You can line dry jeans or use a dryer. If you want your jeans to last longer, don’t wash them too frequently.

Let’s take a closer look at how best to wash and dry your jeans so that you can get the most out of every pair. Whether you have dark or light jeans, skinny or baggy, we’ll cover everything you need to keep them looking good and in good condition.

What Is the Best Way to Wash Jeans?

Washing clothes

Some people believe that jeans should only be hand-washed, while others insist they shouldn’t be washed at all. There’s still another group of people who simply toss them into the washing machine alongside other clothes. So, what’s the best way to wash jeans?

Whether you’re dealing with old or new jeans, machine-washing is one of the options available to you. But before you toss the jeans into the washer, turn them inside out. This will minimize friction that can fade your jeans as well as wear and tear that can happen along the waistband edges, fly, pockets, and hems.

Also, remember to fasten the snaps and buttons and zip all the zippers. This will prevent your jeans from snagging the other clothes you have in the washing machine, and it’ll help keep the jeans in the proper shape.

If you want to wash ripped jeans, clip the edges or openings together at the frayed holes or hems. This will protect your jeans from further fraying.

Next, choose a mild detergent that won’t cause your jeans to fade or bleed. A good detergent should help the jeans hold onto the dyes and prevent fading by deactivating the chlorine used to treat the water. We recommend The Laundress Denim Wash (on Amazon).

Finally, set your washing machine to a cold, short, and delicate cycle and allow it to run.

How to Wash Jeans Without a Washing Machine

Sometimes it may be necessary to hand-wash your jeans. It might be because you don’t own a washing machine, or you just feel that hand-washing will give you a better result. Hand-washing may also be necessary if your jeans have some delicate beading or embroidery that can get damaged in the washer. 

You might also decide to hand-wash your jeans if you’re concerned about color transfer to other clothes or if the jeans are new. Whatever the case, you can follow the steps below to wash your jeans by hand.

  1. Remove everything from your jeans’ pockets.
  2. Fill a sink or bathtub with clean water. Make sure the amount of water you use can submerge the jeans. Check the care label of the jeans for any information about the right temperature of water to use. If such information is not available, using cold water is the safest option.
  3. Add a mild or organic detergent to the water. Just a small amount of the detergent will do. Using too much detergent can be disastrous. It can also result in water wastage at the rinsing step. Mix the detergent well into the water.
  4. Submerge the jeans into the water-detergent mixture. Move the jeans around in the water for about two minutes. This will ensure the jeans get adequately wet and all the dirty parts are well soaked. Let the jeans stay in the water for a few minutes for the detergent to work on the dirt.
  5. Once again, move the jeans around, squeezing them lightly to remove the dirt and stains. Remove the jeans from the dirty water, then drain the water off.
  6. Re-fill the sink with clean water and put the jeans back in. Once again, move the jeans around and allow them to stay in the clean water for about 10 minutes to soak well. Again, move it around to remove any dirt or stain that might have remained.

    If you feel the jeans are not thoroughly rinsed, you can drain off the water and refill the sink with clean water once more. Move the jeans around in the water, then remove them from the water.
  7. Fold or roll the jeans and squeeze them to remove excess water. Don’t wring the jeans, as this may cause wrinkles or even damage the delicate parts.
  8. Finally, air-dry your jeans. You can check the care label on the jeans for any information about how to dry them.

How Often Should You Wash Jeans?

The frequency of washing your jeans depends much on how you use them. For example, if you use them for heavy-duty jobs like landscaping or construction, or if you frequently wear them in humid and warm weather, you may need to clean them more often.

On the other hand, if you wear them for casual outings or for work, you may need to wash them only once in a while. 

You can simply spot clean jeans after wearing them and then keep them in the wardrobe. It’s worth mentioning that it’s better to wash your jeans only if it’s absolutely necessary. Constant abrasive agitation by hand or by washing machine can wear them down with time and reduce their lifespan.

Washing Black or White Jeans 

Black jeans are prone to fading, and when this happens, they’ll have a “whitish” appearance. To prevent this, use a gentle cycle and detergent. It’s best to use cold water and to separate the jeans from other clothes, especially the ones with light colors.

Make sure you turn the jeans inside out before washing them, and make sure the detergent you use is formulated for dark clothes.

Unlike black jeans, white jeans will prominently show stains on them. Don’t mix white jeans with other clothes in the washer. If the jeans are lightly soiled, use cold water to clean them; otherwise, use warm (not hot) water.

Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle and choose the extra rinse option to ensure the jeans are thoroughly rinsed. Don’t use any bleach, because it can damage your jeans or cause yellowing.

What’s the Best Way to Dry Jeans?

Jeans in water bucket on washing area

Whether you hand-wash your jeans or use a washing machine, the drying method is the same. Make sure the jeans are inside out, then tumble dry them on a low heat and delicate cycle setting.

If the care label doesn’t allow tumble drying, then you can hang them to dry naturally. When using a dryer, throw in a few dryer balls (on Amazon) to help the clothes dry evenly. 

Also, remember to remove the jeans from the dryer before they dry completely. Remove them when they’re slightly damp, then air dry them.

When you over-dry them in the machine, they may shrink, and the elastane or spandex material in them can get damaged. Check if your jeans are over 3% spandex. If so, just line dry them.

Suggestions for Long-Lasting Denim

Don’t Cram the Washing Machine Full

The more clothes you have in a washing machine, the faster you’ll be done with your laundry work. However, overloading the machine causes undue friction between the clothes, which may result in wear and tear.

Also, if the clothes have no room to move freely, the rivets and zippers can nag, and the clothes can tear at the stitches. Your jeans should tumble or circulate freely for proper cleaning and drying.

Remove Stains as Soon as You Notice Them

Your jeans are bound to get stained when you wear them. In most cases, these stains are easier to remove when they’re still fresh.

If you allow them to stay for a long time, it’ll be difficult to remove. If you don’t want to wash the entire jeans, you can just do spot cleaning.

Separate Dark and Light Jeans

You might be tempted to toss both your dark and light jeans in the washer at the same time. However, doing this may cause staining of the light-colored jeans by the dark-colored ones. It’s good to wash jeans of the same color together to avoid discoloration.

Check the Care Label

The care label provides all the information you need to care for your jeans. From the label, you’ll know how to clean and dry them. You’ll also know which detergents are most suitable to use.