Learn how to wash jeans! Jeans are a standard item of clothing worn by men, women and children of all ages. These utility pieces of clothing can be dressed up or played down, but they are hard wearing and useful in everyone’s wardrobe! Jeans are made of denim which is a strong cotton fiber. Most people just throw jeans in the wash, but with some careful washing techniques, they can have an even longer life.
How to Wash Jeans
Start out with some pre-wash tips:
- READ - Always read the washing labels and follow these instructions in order for your jeans to last the longest.
- TURN - Turn your jeans inside out before washing. This will prevent the fabric from catching and prevent fading or darker colors. Make sure the zipper is up so it won't catch on anything else in the wash. Do up the top button. This should go without saying but we all forget sometimes - check the pockets are empty. You don't want the tissue or piece of paper you've left in the pocket being shredded in the wash.
- PREPARE - Trim the edges of ripped jeans together to avoid further ripping or fraying. If you have a large hole then learn how to sew a patch.
- SEPARATE - Wash heavily dyed jeans separately so the color does not bleed onto other items. Always wash your jeans separately the first time to assess how much color runs from them. Anything labeled raw denim will lose a lot of color as it has not been washed or treated previously.
- DETERGENT - Choose a washing detergent suited to darker fabrics to prevent fading. Avoid bleach, unless you want to change the color of your jeans. Bleach will cause color fading or blotching. Most (but not all) of us don't want our jeans to look like the 1980s acid washes.
- METHOD -Jeans can be hand washed or machine washed. Hand washing will extend the life of your jeans, but it is not always convenient. Avoid cramming jeans into the machine and making them squashed.
Follow these steps for hand or machine washing.
How to Wash Jeans By Hand
How to hand wash a pair of jeans:
- WATER - Fill a sink or container with enough water to completely cover the jeans. Use cold water and your chosen gentle detergent or washing powder. Always dissolve powder in some hot water first before adding to the main water.
- SOAK - Submerge the jeans and soak for 15 to 20 minutes agitating gently.
- RINSE - Drain the water and rinse the jeans ensuring all detergent is thoroughly removed. Rinse several times to get rid of all the washing detergent if necessary. The water should run clear.
- ROLL- Take a towel and roll the rinsed jeans in the towel to remove as much water as possible. Just squeeze, don’t wring or twist because you don’t want too many creases or the jeans to go out of shape.
How to Wash Jeans in a Machine
Machine washing your jeans is quick and convenient:
- CHECK - Spot check stains beforehand so you are not putting your clothes through a rough cycle for one or two dirty marks which could be removed with a sponge.
- DON'T OVERFILL - Denim is a heavyweight fabric so avoid putting too many pairs of jeans into the machine at once. If there are too many jeans in one wash they will not move freely and get clean.
- WATER - Set your machine on a cold wash cycle.
- WASH CYCLE - Choose a normal to delicate cold wash.
How to Dry Jeans
Avoid putting jeans in the tumble drier because frequent tumble drying can make denim fabric shrink. If you must use the dryer as you are in a hurry, take the jeans out when they are slightly damp then air dry to completion.
For air drying, lie the wet jeans on a flat surface or hang them on a hanger. A clothesline can also be used. Open zips and buttons to allow good airflow and easy drying.
Washing White or Colored Jeans
Jeans can be also made from white or colored denim. The biggest difference is that these lighter or block colors are more likely to show marks and stains. Light colors may need to be washed separately to prevent other items from staining or bleeding on them in the wash.
Wash white and colored jeans separately either by hand or machine using a mild detergent and gentle cycle. Powdered detergents may leave marks so ensure it is thoroughly dissolved before adding it to the wash.
Check the label before adding bleach to white jeans as it may result in yellowing and may not have the desired effect.
For drying, use a tumble dry machine on low or best of all, air dry in the shade to prevent fading or shrinking.
How to Stop Jeans Shrinking
Unless pre-shrunk, heat can shrink the fibers used to create jeans and end up you have a pair that is way too tight. Avoid hot water in your wash cycle and do not use a tumble dryer. If you must iron your jeans, only do so on low heat and use a pressing cloth between the iron and your fabric.
Conversely, if you do want to shrink clothing including jeans, then use a hot wash, tumble dryer and hot iron.
How to Stop Jeans Fading
Overwashing, hot wash cycles and tumble dryers can cause darker denim to fade over time. Harsh detergents can strip color so always use a gentle detergent designed for dark colors.
In order to set the dye in dark jeans, add some white vinegar to the first wash. This is an old home remedy that actually works! The vinegar sets dye better and prevents bleeding. Of course, make sure it is white vinegar. Balsamic vinegar belongs only to your favorite salads.
The heat from tumble dryers can fade jeans so air dry only in the shade. Never put jeans the right way out in the sun unless you actually want them to fade.
How to Wash Jeans - In Conclusion
Jeans have become the ‘go-to’ item of clothing and the most important part of everyone's wardrobe. They pack well and in fact don’t have to be washed every day. Learning how to spruce them up with some vinegar in a spray bottle is a handy travel tip. Take a toothbrush and a jar of extra detergent to brush away the odd stain and viola you will have a clean pair of jeans in no time at all.