Skip links

Keeping Your Jeans Fresh & Lasting Longer

How do you keep your favorite jeans looking new and fresh? I’ve got the perfect guide for you. Washing jeans is more complex than it might seem. It’s a fine art requiring some know-how to prevent fading, shrinking, and other denim disasters.

Selecting the Right Detergent

We can only discuss washing jeans while considering the essential role played by an unsung hero, the detergent. Often, we overlook its significance, focusing solely on the water temperature and wash cycles. However, the detergent determines how effectively your jeans are cleaned and what remains behind on the fabric.

First things first, seek out a liquid detergent. Liquid detergents tend to dissolve faster in water than powdered ones. Additionally, they’re less likely to leave residue on your beloved denim.

Next, I suggest using a detergent designed specifically for dark or colored clothes. Such detergents are engineered to protect and retain color, reducing the chances of your jeans fading with each wash. Remember, fading is the enemy when it comes to maintaining the original look of your jeans.

The question of quantity arises. How much detergent is enough? Well, less is more here. You will need more than just using detergent to make your jeans cleaner. It could lead to detergent buildup in the fabric, which may cause skin irritation and negatively affect the jean’s color. I’d recommend using half or three-quarters of the amount suggested on the detergent’s bottle.

Last but not least, the environmental impact must be considered. Nowadays, several detergent brands offer eco-friendly options. These detergents are typically free of harsh chemicals, making them kinder to your jeans and the planet. So, if you have the option, consider giving these alternatives a shot.

The choice of detergent plays a significant role and is undeniably a key player in the game of jean-washing.

  • Prefer a liquid, dark-clothes-optimized, eco-friendly detergent.
  • Use less than the recommended amount to avoid fabric irreversibility.
  • Remember to consider the environment in your selection process.

Sorting Your Jeans

Let’s move on to an equally essential step in maintaining the longevity of your jeans—sorting them correctly. It’s not merely about separating darks from light. Instead, it’s about preserving your jeans’ quality, color, and fit.

Before we get into the “how to,” let’s acknowledge the undeniable value of this step. Sorting your jeans can prevent dye transfer during washing, ensuring your favorite white shirt doesn’t have an unwanted blue tint. It also reduces the chance of rougher fabrics damaging the delicate material of your jeans in the wash.

So, sorting isn’t as mundane as it might seem. But how do you sort your jeans properly? Unlike what you might think, it’s not rocket science.

Decipher the color code. It’s not just about categorizing into whites and colors. Create separate piles for dark jeans like blue and black and lighter hues like white or grey. This division helps in preventing color bleeding or dulling of brighter hues.

Remember the fabric weight. Heavier jeans made of rugged denim can damage lighter-weight, softer jeans in the wash. So divide them into two groups—regular and heavy-weight—to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

Consider the age of your jeans. Older, worn-out jeans can potentially bleed dye, causing discoloration in newer pairs. It’s recommended that older jeans be washed separately.

Remember that adequately sorting your jeans is as crucial as choosing the suitable detergent. Now, with the sorted piles ready, you’re one step closer to achieving that perfect, well-maintained pair of jeans every time you wash. With this simple yet essential method, we can make our jeans last longer, look better, and wash cleaner. Stay tuned as we delve into the next vital step in maintaining denim – the washing process.

Choosing the Proper Water Temperature

Setting the right water temperature is pivotal in washing jeans, just as sorting them. I often encounter this question when discussing laundry best practices: Warm? Cold? Hot? Let’s clear up that mystery once and for all.

Cold water is your best bet when washing jeans. It helps maintain their color and prevents unnecessary shrinkage. Everyone loathes, pulling out their favorite pair and finding it has magically downsized one size to too skinny. This is a common laundry mishap that can easily be avoided by using cold water. Plus, washing in cold water is economically and environmentally friendly because it uses less energy, according to Colorado State University.

Sure, washing with warm or hot water may be more effective in removing serious stains and dirt, but here’s the catch: it’s more likely to lead to color fading and fabric wear over time. If you’ve got a particularly stubborn spot, consider a spot-treating method rather than subjecting your whole jeans to the warm wash cycle.

Determining the right water temperature isn’t just about selecting a dial point on your washing machine; the type of jeans and their specific care instructions should always take precedence. Some jeans will even specify ‘cold wash only,’ and that’s an instruction worth following.

Consider creating a table that categorizes your jeans according to their washing temperature preferences. This could serve as a useful reference point. Here’s a simple example to get you started.

  • Colored Jeans: Cold
  • White Jeans: Warm
  • Heavily Soiled: Warm
  • Delicate Fabrics: Cold

Remember, every pair of jeans is unique and deserves the best care. Consider this mantra: sort, select the right detergent, and choose the correct water temperature. Jeans care is a comprehensive process where all elements depend on each other. It’s a balance, a dance, if you will, between different factors that, when done right, ensure your jeans’ longevity.

Understanding the Washing Machine Settings

Let’s simplify things and explore the best settings for jeans.

Regular cycle is one setting that’s good for denim. This cycle uses high heat and fast tumbling, so it’s particularly effective for heavily soiled jeans. But be careful! This aggressive cycle can lead to wear and tear in the long run.

When your jeans need a quick refresh, consider the delicate cycle. It’s gentler due to the slower tumbling speed and reduced heat level. Although it’s not designed to handle tougher stains like its counterpart on a normal cycle, it does the trick for lighter cleaning needs.

The color cycle is your best friend for your brightly colored and dark jeans. It uses cold water, which limits the color-fading process. However, due to the lower temperature, it could be more effective against tough stains.

Then there’s the perm press cycle. This setting is a middle ground between normal and delicate. It uses warm water and slower tumbling than regular but faster than delicate. This cycle is a top choice for everyday jeans without major stains or dirt.

If your washing machine has a jeans or denim cycle, you’re in luck! This cycle is tailor-made with the appropriate washing time, temperature, and agitation speed for your jeans.

Cracking the code of your washing machine settings gives you much more control over your laundry outcomes. So next time you load up your jeans in the washer, remember to select the best settings to ensure they look their best.

Air Drying vs. Machine Drying

Let’s delve into another crucial aspect of washing jeans—drying them correctly. I’ll explore two popular methods: air drying and machine drying.

Air drying is a natural, eco-friendly way to dry your jeans. It’s also gentler on the fabric and can prevent shrinkage, an excellent trait for jeans that already fit perfectly. If space permits, lay your jeans flat to dry. This method helps preserve the shape and ensure even drying. But if you’re strapped for space, hanging them up will do, too. Remember that direct sunlight might fade the color, so a shady spot is optimal.

On the flip side, there’s machine drying. It’s fast, convenient, and requires little effort on your part. But there’s a catch. Machine drying your jeans can be harsh on the denim, often leading to shrinkage and wear and tear over time. If you opt for this method, I recommend using the lowest heat setting and removing the jeans while still slightly damp. This way, you’ll minimize the risk of damage and maintain the shape and fit.

But wait – what about those damp wrinkles that remain after air or machine drying? Don’t fret; you don’t have to resort to an iron. Hanging your jeans in the bathroom while you take a hot, steamy shower will do the trick. This trick helps naturally iron out wrinkles- without the risk of burning your treasured denim.

Between the two, it’s clear that both methods have their perks and pitfalls. Air drying your jeans can extend their lifespan and maintain fit, but it’s time-consuming and requires space. Machine drying is a quicker alternative, but it can lead to long-term damage if you’re not careful. Depending on your priorities, you can choose the method that best fits your needs and keeps your jeans looking their best.


I’ve shown you how to wash jeans without compromising fit and appearance. Remember, understanding your washing machine settings is critical. It’s about cleaning your jeans and protecting them from damage. When it comes to drying, you’ve got two choices – air drying or machine drying. Air drying is gentle and eco-friendly, while machine drying is quick and convenient. Remember to lay your jeans flat if you opt for air drying, or use the lowest heat setting for machine drying. And that little trick to iron out damp wrinkles? It’s a game-changer. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Pick the method that suits your lifestyle, and your jeans will thank you.

Clotheslyne: Your Denim Care Partner

While these steps can help maintain your jeans’ look and feel, we understand that life gets busy. Clotheslyne offers convenient and free laundry pickup and delivery services in select areas, including New York, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Alaska, and Massachusetts.

Our Clotheslyners are individuals from your community who understand the importance of caring for your garments. Trust us to wash, dry, and fold your clothes, including those well-loved jeans, ensuring they return to you clean, fresh, and ready to wear. Let Clotheslyne take the chore out of laundry day, providing professional care with the convenience and warmth of local service.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!