When it comes to care and maintenance, few types of clothing seem to inspire more passionate opinions than premium denim. Denim lovers swear by techniques that range from straightforward to bizarre (oven-baking and freezing, for example) in the quest for clean jeans. This has resulted in an overwhelming amount of information and how-tos, but your search ends here. We’re breaking down the dos and don’ts so that you know exactly how to care for your favorite pair of premium denim.
Everyday denim care
One popular rule is that jeans should not be washed after each wear—and we fully agree! Over-laundering can cause your jeans to warp and fade. By limiting washes, you’ll help extend their lifespan. If your jeans just need a little pick-me-up, hang them in the bathroom while you shower. The steam will freshen them up without shrinking them.
TIP: We don’t recommend the freezer method. It doesn’t kill all the bacteria that may be hanging out and won’t give you the clean of detergent and water.
How to wash your jeans
Premium denim only needs to be washed when it’s actually dirty. If your jeans have Lycra and stretch, wash them every 3–5 wears. Stiffer (or raw) denim can be washed every 8–10 wears (again, unless it’s really dirty).
When washing, turn your jeans inside-out to preserve the color and any special washes or finishes that may be on the surface. Machine-wash in cold water on the gentle cycle and use a mild detergent.
How to wash brand new jeans
It's really important that when you bring home a pair of brand new jeans you wash them before wearing or even storing with other items of clothing. The indigo dye used in darker denim will likely bleed or rub off onto other materials. Most care tags indicate that this can happen and recommend washing before wearing. The first time you wash a new pair of jeans you wash them by themselves to ensure the dye doesn't bleed onto other items in your laundry load. Dye transfer may continue to occur even after a few washes so we recommend always washing your denim with like colors.
How to clean denim jackets
Denim jackets are a year-round favorite and get a lot of wear. That said, jean jackets should only be put in the washing machine when they are truly dirty. We recommend spot-cleaning denim jackets and resorting to the washing machine only when necessary. If you decide to toss your favorite denim jacket in the washing machine, be sure to follow the tips above for washing denim. Hang your denim jacket to air dry to maintain its shape and elasticity.
TIP: To prevent dark dyes from bleeding, add a cup of white vinegar to the water while washing. It helps lock in the color.
How to dry your jeans
Air-dry premium denim when possible by laying your jeans on a towel or a rack, ensuring they’re flat with no folds or wrinkles as they dry. In a pinch, you can throw your damp jeans in the dryer, on low, for 10–15 minutes.
Need help with the rest of your wardrobe? Check out our complete Caring for Clothing Guide.