101 Series: How to Wash Denim

These days, a great pair of jeans is an investment, an absolute wardrobe essential. Therefore, keeping them looking great is a priority. Denim might be durable, but it does require special care, especially the popular colored and printed denims currently in style, and anything with a deep indigo wash that has not been pre-washed by the manufacturer. Here are the key tips to keeping your denim looking fabulous.

First, wear your jeans before you wash them. When you do wash them, consult any care instructions that might be on the garment’s inside tag. As a general rule, use cold water and a laundry detergent that will respect the denim’s color and wash. It’s fine to wash denim in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with other deep-colored clothing, preferably turned inside out.

Do not mix jeans with whites or bright clothes. Many labels suggest doing initial washings by hand in the sink (again turned inside out) or, ideally, in the bathtub where they can be placed flat. In this instance, put a small amount of detergent in the water and gently agitate the pants occasionally as they soak for 45 minutes. Then rinse them thoroughly with cold water and hang to dry.

One secret to prolonging the wear of jeans between washings is to hang them when you are not wearing them. It will help the fibers recover from stress and stretch, especially in the knees and the seat.