Like a best friend, a well-fitting pair of jeans should be treasured—if you’re lucky enough to find them. But while there are lots of myths about how to prolong the life of denim, not all of the advice will actually add extra wear to your favorite pair. Here, we share the real deal on caring for denim.
Myth 1: Freezing jeans can rid them of bacteria.
False. While some germs die off in the freezer, the hardier ones live on. And since most of the germs on your jeans come from you, once your body temperature warms the fabric, the germs come back just like before.
Myth 2: If you must wash your jeans, do so sparingly.
True. Washing your jeans rarely can help preserve their shape. This is especially true of denim that hasn’t been prewashed, which takes longer to mold to your body’s contours. When it comes time for laundering, always wash jeans inside-out in cold water—to preserve their color—with a specially formulated cold-water detergent. Lay them flat on a towel to dry.
Myth 3: Never put your jeans in the dryer.
False. If your jeans are stretched out, a quick tumble in the dryer can help them regain their shape. Follow the care label and remove the jeans when they are slightly damp to prevent unwanted creasing.
Myth 4: Wearing your jeans in the bathtub can ensure a perfect fit.
False. In general, wearing jeans in the tub and then keeping them on until they’re dry is a waste of time. There is one major brand, however, that makes a jean specifically designed to shrink to fit the wearer’s body. The manufacturer recommends soaking the jeans in the bathtub and then putting them on when slightly damp so that they dry on your body and retain your shape.
Myth 5: The more stretch, the better.
Maybe. It really depends on your body type and how “clingy” you want your denim to be. Look for jeans with a low Spandex-to-cotton ratio (2% to 5% Spandex to 98% to 95% cotton), which will give you a look that hugs your shape without making you feel like a sausage.