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How to wash jeans

How to Wash Jeans

Our advice on how to wash jeans maintain their look

Denim jeans will withstand long periods of wearing without needing to be washed. In fact, jeans can be worn for weeks and in some cases months before needing to be washed.

The primary reason to avoid regular washing is aesthetic. Every washing of the jeans will remove a slight touch of color; unnoticeable between each wash, but noticeable after several washes.

Maintaining the denim’s original color will create contrast between high-abrasion areas and low-abrasion areas. High-abrasion areas (seat, creases at the thigh and the knee) will lose color naturally from abrasion. The longer the color is kept darker in low-abrasion areas (a result from infrequent washing), the more visible high-abrasion areas will become.

Color variation between high-abrasion and low-abrasion areas is highly desirable. Color variation puts the wearer’s personal, unique stamp on the jean. Greater color variation equals greater visual impact. Color variation is a direct, obvious result of the combination of the time the jeans are worn and the discipline in regards to washing them.

How to Wash Jeans

There are varying sources of information online for how to wash jeans, from the standard to the romantic (wearing jeans while showering or while swimming in the ocean). We recommend simple machine or hand washing methods.

With any wash method it is of utmost importance to wash in cold water, since washing in hot water can induce color loss. Agitation and abrasion will also cause color loss. Therefore, the most desired wash method is hand-washing. Moreover, emphasis must be placed on the importance of not over-stuffing your washing machine, since garments in an over-stuffed washing machine will experience greater abrasion.

Good method: Machine wash cold. Hang dry.

Better method: Turn inside out (to reduce surface abrasion). Machine wash cold. Hang dry.

Best method: Turn inside out. Hand wash in tub or sink. Hang dry.

It will take up to 10 hours for jeans to hang dry. Once dry, the jeans will be stiffer than if they had been machine tumble dried, but they will loosen with wear. If machine tumble dry is necessary, no damage and zero-to-nominal shrinkage will occur.


If jeans are worn regularly and there is discipline associated with the wash regimen, results will become obvious within six months. During prolonged periods of wear without washing, abrasion occurs continuously causing the creation of one’s unique wear marks on the denim. However, these marks are hidden because the white cotton fibers (now exposed from abrasion) are dingy. Once washed, the dingy fibers are cleaned, and the abrasion is distinctively revealed. This is the reward for one’s discipline.

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