The ultimate guide on how to wash Jeans to keep shape and color

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Finally, you have found the perfect jeans. Of course, you want your new favorite piece of clothing to last as long as possible. Therefore, your jeans’ shape and color must be preserved so that the pants will look like new for a long time.

This practical guide tells you everything you need to know about how to keep jeans from fading. You will learn how many degrees you have to wash your denim, which detergent you should use, with which textiles you should wash them together, and other important aspects of cleaning your favorite pants.

How to wash Jeans the right way?

It is optimal to wash your jeans at 90°F/30°C with a closed zipper with color or mild detergent without using fabric softener after wearing them 3-5 times. The jeans should be turned inside out during the washing process and washed together with similar textiles in jeans shades to avoid loss of shape and color.

Washing jeans at all?

clean jeans, pocket, daisies

Because jeans can lose color with every wash, many people try to wash their favorite denim as few as possible. Some manufacturers even recommend not washing the jeans at all, if possible.

One study goes even further and proves that there are hardly any differences in the bacteria levels of the pair of jeans you wear, whether you wear them for two weeks or a whole 15 months. But of course, we don’t have to go that far.

Nevertheless, it would be best if you washed your jeans from time to time. Smaller stains can be removed with a little water. Moreover, you can get rid of unpleasant odors, such as cigarette smoke, by airing them out.

How often should you wash jeans?

While you should throw sweaters, tops, and other clothes into the laundry after just 1-2 times of wearing them, you can wear your jeans 3-10 times without hesitation before washing them. For many, it may sound surprising that your pants can be worn up to 1 ½ week without being washed in between. The average jeans wearer washes his pants after wearing them about 5-6 times.

The fact is, the less you wash the jeans, the better the fit, because the jeans adapt to your body by wearing them regularly. Maybe you have already noticed this “stiff feeling” after washing until you have worn your jeans long enough that they “feel right” again.

One of the most famous jeans manufacturers, Levis, recommends cleaning your jeans after wearing them about 10 times. However, if you wear your jeans in the warm season or if you are very active, it might be worth throwing them into the laundry basket earlier. If your pants smell unpleasant or have stains, you might also want to wash them. If this is not the case, you can wear your jeans for 10 days straight without hesitation.

Can I machine wash jeans?

Your jeans can easily be machine washed. A gentle wash program is best suited for this. Some washing machines even offer a special jeans program. Also, make sure that the spinning speed per minute is not too high. No more than 700 – 1000 revolutions per minute are recommended.

How many degrees to wash jeans?

It is ideal is to wash your jeans at 90°F/30°C. On the label inside the jeans, 30°C is the ideal washing temperature. If you want to wash your jeans at 110°F/40°C (with other colors), this is usually no problem either.

At how many degrees you wash your jeans is not only important to keep them looking like new for as long as possible but also to avoid shrinkage in the wash. If the pants are washed at too hot temperatures, they can quickly come out of the wash a little smaller than before entering it. Especially with stretch jeans, caution is advised.

Washing my jeans at 130°F and above (60°C)?

However, if your pants are very dirty or have a bad smell, you can wash them at 130°F/60°C as an exception, provided they are pure cotton jeans. However, you should avoid washing them regularly at such hot temperatures, which can damage the fabric.

You should rather play it safe with stretch jeans or mixed textiles and not expose them to hot temperatures. In case of doubt, a dry cleaner can take over the stain removal for you.

Which detergent is best for jeans?

Drying jeans clothespin

When washing your jeans, the most important thing is that you don’t use detergents or products that wear out or lighten the jeans too much. It is, therefore, best to use a colored or gentle detergent to wash your denim textiles.

It is best to use liquid detergent in most cases because washing powder often contains brightening substances or can form white stains on the textile.

Can I use a fabric softener to wash my jeans?

In general, you should not use fabric softener to wash your clothes. Since the fabric softener makes the laundry softer, the jeans might lose their fit. Not only does this feeling of the jeans adapting to your body get lost, but the softener can also cause unsightly bulges on the knees of your pants.

Especially with stretch jeans, you should avoid fabric softener at all costs because it attacks the elastane in the textile, which is responsible for the jeans’ suppleness and stretch effect.

What do you wash jeans with?

Ideally, you will want to wash your jeans together with other denim fabrics. Often, however, you don’t have enough of them to fill a whole machine. In this case, you can wash your jeans with clothes in similar colors. It is better to avoid fine and thin fabrics.

How to wash black jeans

When washing black jeans, it is all the more important to wash them together with other dark fabrics. To protect them from fading, you should definitely use a detergent specifically for dark or black clothes. Otherwise, you can wash your black jeans just like regular blue jeans (at 90°F/30°C).

Washing new jeans

New jeans often stain the first time they are washed, but it is still recommended that you wash your new pants before wearing them. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you wash them with similar colors, preferably other jeans textiles. To avoid discoloration, you can soak your jeans in a cold vinegar bath (water with vinegar added) before the first washing. This strengthens the color of your jeans and prevents unwanted discoloration.

To be on the safe side, you can also use a color catcher laundry sheets when washing. You can find such sheets in many drugstores and also at great prices online at Amazon here.

How to wash ripped jeans

The jeans in the used-look are really trendy for years and are worn again and again with pleasure. But of course, jeans that already have holes in them are even more susceptible to hot temperatures and strong spin. Therefore, it is all the more important to ensure a gentle wash cycle in the gentle program. Ripped jeans can also be washed by hand to avoid excessive wear and tear.

In any case, you should try to wash your jeans as little as possible.

Can I dry my jeans in the dryer?

Jeans outside to dry

In general, it is recommended not to dry jeans in the dryer but in the fresh air. In this way, the sensitive fibers are protected. It can also happen that your jeans shrink in the dryer at high temperatures. Especially with tight-fitting pants, you should not use the dryer.

If you really need your jeans to dry quickly, you should make sure that your jeans are 100% made out of cotton before you put them in the dryer. Other kinds of denim fabrics should not be put in the dryer because their fibers are easily damaged during drying and therefore tear and wear out more easily later. The same applies to stretch jeans.

FAQ about washing your jeans

Why wash jeans inside out?

If you turn your jeans inside out before washing them, you will prevent excessive bleaching from the detergent. In this way, the pants’ color can be protected and remain vivid for a longer time.

Why wash jeans without fabric softener?

The fabric softener makes the jeans soft and ensures that they lose their fit and firmness. It can also cause the jeans to wear out more easily and tear faster due to their soft structure.

What can I wash with jeans?

You should primarily wash your jeans together with similar colors. Also, make sure that the other textiles are not too fine, as the jeans’ zippers and rivets can damage them. Also, the textiles should not have rivets or similar that could damage your jeans during washing.

How hot to wash jeans to make them tighter?

If your jeans are a bit bigger than you wanted, or if the jeans are worn out, you can try washing them at 130°F/60°C (inside out – without fabric softener). In some cases, the jeans’ fibers will shrink at these temperatures so that the jeans will be a little tighter.

Wash jeans at 90°C/above 130°F??

It is not recommended to wash your jeans at 90°C at all. If the jeans are very dirty, you can wash them at 130°F/60°C from time to time (not regularly!). If shrinkage is desired, you can also wash them one time at 130°F/60°C. 90°C is clearly too hot, so your jeans’ fibers will be damaged, and the whole pants can shrink extremely.

White stripes on the jeans after washing – what now?

The white stripes on the jeans after washing can be caused by creases or detergent residues stuck to the jeans. In most cases, shaking out or brushing the affected area will help. To avoid white stains in the future, wash the jeans inside out, and use liquid detergent.

The jeans smell musty after washing.

A bad smell is often caused by the washing machine itself and not by the laundry. Ensure your washing machine is clean, and try our practical tips on making your laundry smell good.

What if the jeans are worn out after washing?

Frequent washing can cause the jeans to wear out. An old trick is to put the jeans in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight. The cold causes the fabric to shrink, and the jeans might fit again.

Can I hang my jeans up to dry inside?

Although the jeans usually take a long time to dry, you can hang them up to dry indoors. However, to prevent mold growth on the walls due to humidity, make sure to follow our tips for drying your jeans indoors.


Do you have any further questions? Or maybe you even have the ultimate jeans washing tip for us? Please let us know in the comments below!

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