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How to Wash Jeans: A Beginner’s Guide

dirty jeans, how to wash jeans
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Is there anything better than a plain ol’ pair of jeans? They’re durable, they’re good-looking, and they get along with most anything in your wardrobe. As it turns out, jeans have yet another advantage: You don’t really need to wash them.

However, that doesn’t mean you can get away with never cleaning your favorite pair of denim pants. While washing sparingly will ensure that your jeans maintain their vibrant color, as with any article of clothing, there will come a time when they absolutely have to go through a sudsy spin in the washing machine.

But never fear! We’ve assembled a guide for how to wash jeans that’ll help keep your denim looking fresh, even after several washes.

The First Wash Should Be By Hand

While nothing horrible is going to happen to your jeans if you throw them into the machine for their first wash, cleaning them by hand is always a safe bet. This will acclimate the fabric to washing and allow you to be in control of how the material’s handled. Plus, you’ll get to see just how much dye comes off when your slick new pants hit the water.

hand washing jeans
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Spot-Clean Stains

Instead of tossing your jeans in the wash every time there’s a stain, consider spot-cleaning the stain. It’s best to get the stain out quick before it soaks in by dabbing the spot with a damp cloth that’s been dipped in a little soapy water. Work from the inside out if possible, and put a clean cloth under the stain while you dab the stain away.

Wash With Cold Water

You can probably imagine circumstances in which spot-cleaning simply won’t cut it. In these instances, soak your jeans in water with a small amount of soap and agitate as necessary. If your jeans are profoundly disgusting, then you can put them in the washer. If you do, be sure to use cold water, which will still get your jeans clean while giving your water heater a break.

Turn Your Jeans Inside Out

When those bad boys are ready to go in for their wash, do both you and the pants a favor and turn them inside out. Not only will you save your ears from the incessant clicking of metal buttons on your dryer walls, the trick will help prevent the dye from seeping from your jeans.

jeans inside out
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Use Denim Safe Detergents

Another safeguard against damaging denim fabric is to use denim safe detergents. Nowadays, there are several brands that have products specifically made to preserve the integrity of jeans. Clorox has the great Darks & Denim Color Protector that’s guaranteed to help retain denim’s color while Tide offers up its Cold Water Detergent, which is perfect for a gentle wash.

Skip The Dryer

Your clothes dryer is one of the most power-hungry appliances in your home. Whenever possible, you should hang your garments on a clothes line rather than put them in the dryer. Sunlight and wind will freshen your jeans in a hurry. Since denim doesn’t wrinkle as easily as other fabrics, you probably won’t have any trouble with stiffness or wrinkles after you put on your jeans. Also, tumble drying your jeans can make them wear out faster. So, it’s better just to skip it.

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TJ Carter
Former Digital Trends Contributor
TJ Carter wears many hats, both figuratively and literally. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011 with a degree…
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