How to Wash Jeans: Tips & Tricks to Perpetuate Your Denim

Men's Fashion

Knowing how to wash jeans is an essential skill for anyone looking to keep their denim looking its best. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of denim care, offering you expert advice on everything from the ideal washing frequency to the best drying techniques.

Whether you’re a denim aficionado or simply cherish your favorite pair of jeans, this article on how to wash jeans is your go-to resource for maintaining the quality and longevity of your denim. Keep reading to embark on a journey of denim mastery, where every wash counts and every detail matters.

How to Wash Jeans: The Master Guide

In order to preserve the quality of your denim, we’ve put together a master guide on how to wash jeans, covering everything from your pre-wash essentials to post-wash care. Find it below, filled with expert tips on how to keep your jeans looking brand new for longer.

a pair of jeans hanging from a chair
foretstudio / Instagram

how to wash jeans

Pre-Wash Preparation

Step 1: Empty All Pockets

Before you start the process of how to wash jeans, always make sure the pockets are empty. This isn’t just about avoiding washing small items accidentally; it’s about protecting your jeans and washing machine from potential damage caused by items like coins or keys.

Step 2: Turn Your Jeans Inside Out

A crucial part of how to wash jeans is turning them inside out. This helps in minimizing color loss and protecting the fabric. The inside-out position reduces direct exposure of the outer fabric to harsh detergents and agitation, thereby minimizing fading and maintaining the quality of the denim.

Step 3: Fasten Buttons and Zippers

Secure all fasteners. This helps maintain the shape of the jeans and prevents the zippers and buttons from snagging on other items, which can damage both your jeans and other garments.

a pile of worn-out jeans on a chair
nudiejeans / Instagram

Sorting and Wash Cycle

Step 4: Sort by Color

When learning how to wash jeans, it’s important to wash dark and light jeans separately. Dark jeans, especially new ones, can bleed dye, which can stain lighter fabrics. Sorting helps maintain the integrity of the color of each pair of jeans.

Step 5: Select the Wash Cycle

The wash cycle makes all the difference when it comes to how to wash jeans properly. Here’s a quick breakdown of the main cycles you should be using for your jeans.

Regular Cycle for Heavy Soil: If your jeans are significantly dirty, perhaps from outdoor work or an adventurous day out, then a regular cycle provides a more rigorous wash.

Gentle Cycle for Light Soil: For jeans that have been worn lightly without any visible dirt, a gentle cycle is sufficient. This cycle is less harsh on the fabric and helps in extending the life of your jeans.

a box of natural denim detergent
kronozdenim / Instagram

Detergent Choice and Water Temperature

Step 6: Choose the Right Detergent

Opt for a mild, preferably liquid, detergent. Powder detergents can be harsher on denim and may not dissolve completely, especially in colder water. A gentle detergent will clean effectively without stripping away the natural oils of the denim.

Step 7: Cold Water Washing

Always use cold water for washing jeans. Hot water can cause significant shrinking and fading. Cold water not only preserves the color but also consumes less energy, making it a more environmentally friendly option for how to wash jeans.

loading clothes into a washing machine
nudiejeans / Instagram

The Washing Process

Step 8: Load the Washing Machine

Another key for success in how to wash jeans (or any clothes, for that matter) is this: Don’t overcrowd the washing machine. Jeans need space to move freely in the water for thorough cleaning. Overloading can lead to poorly washed jeans and can also strain your washing machine.

Step 9: Run the Wash Cycle

Once you’ve loaded the jeans and added detergent, start the washing machine. It’s recommended to use a high water level setting if your machine allows it, as this gives jeans more room to move and get cleaned effectively.

drying a pair of jeans from a balcony
nudiejeans_anz / Instagram

Drying Jeans

Step 10: Timely Removal Post-Wash

Remove your jeans from the washer as soon as the cycle is done. Leaving them crumpled up in the machine can cause wrinkles and creases that are hard to get out.

Step 11: Air Dry Your Jeans

The best way to dry jeans is by air drying. You can lay them flat on a clean surface or hang them up to dry. If hanging, do so from the waistband and avoid direct sunlight, which can cause fading. Air drying is gentle on the fabric and helps retain the fit and length of your jeans.

Using a Dryer: If you must use a dryer, choose the lowest heat setting. High heat can shrink and damage the denim. Remove the jeans while they are slightly damp to air dry them completely. This method reduces the chances of shrinking and helps preserve the fit.

a pair of stonewashed indigo denim by apc
apc_paris / Instagram

Post-Wash Care

Ironing Jeans

If your jeans have wrinkles after drying, then use a warm iron. Be sure to iron your jeans inside out to protect the outer surface. Avoid high heat, and if your jeans have any prints or embellishments, avoid ironing those areas directly.

Storing Jeans

Proper storage is key to maintaining the shape and longevity of your jeans. You can either fold them or hang them. If hanging, use a sturdy hanger and hang them by the waistband. If folding, lay them flat and fold neatly, avoiding any unnecessary creases.

How Often Should You Wash Jeans?

When deciding how often to wash your jeans, a good rule of thumb is to wash them only when necessary, which typically means after every 4–5 wears for regular use. However, this can vary based on your level of activity and personal comfort.

Jeans worn in cleaner environments or for shorter periods can go longer between washes, potentially up to 10–15 wears. For jeans subjected to heavy use or dirt, washing after each wear may be required.

Remember, washing jeans less frequently helps preserve their color and fabric integrity, and spot cleaning can be used for minor stains or odors. Ultimately, balancing cleanliness with fabric care is key.

leg pointing upwards from a convertible car
theresortco / Instagram

How to Wash Jeans: Additional Care Tips

Hand Washing Your Jeans

If you prefer or if your jeans are particularly delicate, hand washing is a good option. Fill a tub with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the jeans in the water, let them soak for about 30–45 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Infrequent Washing

Jeans don’t need to be washed after every wear. Washing them less frequently preserves the fabric and color. Unless the jeans are visibly dirty or have a bad odor, you can wear them several times before they need a wash.

Spot Cleaning

For small stains or spots, spot cleaning is a great option. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth or brush. Gently work on the stain and rinse the area without submerging the entire jeans in water.

Freezer Method for Odors

If your jeans aren’t dirty but need freshening up, try the freezer method. Fold your jeans and place them in a plastic bag. Leave them in the freezer overnight. The cold temperature helps eliminate odors without the need for washing.

Avoid Bleach at All Costs

One absolute in how to wash jeans: Never use bleach! Bleach can be very harsh on denim and can cause irreparable damage, including severe discoloration and weakening of the fabric.

Dealing with Stretch Jeans

If your jeans contain elastane or other stretch materials, then they need extra care. These materials can break down in high heat, so always wash in cold water and avoid the dryer. Stretch jeans benefit from being washed inside out in a mesh laundry bag to keep their shape.

man walking towards a plane
tropicfeel / Instagram

Why Trust Us?

At, we are committed to providing our readers with reliable and expert advice on all things fashion. This guide on how to wash jeans is crafted by a team with extensive knowledge in fashion and textile care, ensuring that the advice we offer is not only practical but also rooted in industry best practices.

We understand the importance of your denim wardrobe and are dedicated to helping you maintain it with the highest standards. Our recommendations for how to wash jeans are based on a combination of thorough research, expert opinions, and real-world testing, ensuring that the advice you receive is trustworthy and effective.

Final Verdict

By following these comprehensive steps on how to wash jeans, you can ensure that your jeans remain a long-lasting and stylish part of your wardrobe. Proper care not only extends the life of your jeans but also ensures they look and feel great each time you wear them.

Remember, jeans are not just a piece of clothing; they’re an investment in your style and comfort.


    • To wash jeans without shrinking them, use cold water and a gentle wash cycle, as hot water and high heat can cause denim to shrink.

      • The proper way to wash jeans involves turning them inside out, using cold water, selecting a gentle cycle, and using a mild detergent to preserve their color and fabric.

        • Jeans can shrink in the dryer, especially if exposed to high heat. To minimize this risk, dry them on a low heat setting or opt for air drying.

          • Jeans should be washed inside out to protect the outer surface from fading and to reduce the stress on the fabric during the wash cycle.

            • Soaking jeans before washing isn’t typically necessary, but it can be helpful for heavily soiled jeans or to treat specific stains before a regular wash.

              • The time it takes for jeans to air dry can vary, but generally, it takes around 6–12 hours, depending on the fabric thickness and environmental conditions.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

15 Beauty Products to Stock Up on During the Sephora Sale
Everything We Know About Freaky Friday 2
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Isn’t Just Misunderstood, It’s Actively Neglected
8 Best Men’s Black T-Shirts: Basic, Steady & Stylish in 2024
Who Is Sabrina Carpenter?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *