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How to Wash Jeans So They'll Last Longer and Look New

How to Wash Jeans So They'll Last Longer and Look New

How to wash jeans, how often to wash jeans, how to dry jeans and the best way to care for denim so it looks new and lasts long.

You may have noticed that many of Rockstar Original's jeans descriptions read "dry-clean only" or "dry-clean recommended." You’re probably wondering why.

The answer is simple: Dry cleaning makes clothing last longer. The more you wash and wear your denim, the quicker it deteriorates. The same goes with other types of fabrics, not just denim.

And this might shock you (it surprised us when we first learned it): You do not need to wash your denim after every wear. Yup. Denim is durable and designed to be worn multiple times before washing.

Here we will lay out some of the best tips for cleaning jeans effectively without using a washing machine.  

How to Clean Jeans Without Washing Them

How do you properly care for denim? To get the most out of your denim, whether from Rockstar Original or other brands, it is highly encouraged to rarely wash them and when you do, use care! 

Learning how to clean your denim jeans without washing them can extend how long they last. Plus, it allows you to keep them looking new. With RSO's designs, which feature patchwork, rhinestones and graphic accents, it's especially important to wash your clothes with care. 

Washing denim speeds up its destruction. Not only that, but it’s also bad for the environment, as the average washing machine uses 40 gallons of water in each load, according to the National Park Service

The best way to clean your denim is to hang them outside. Sunlight can eliminate odors and kill bacteria. The myth of freezing your clothes to eliminate germs is exactly that - a myth - and it isn’t recommended. If there are stains on your pants, spot clean them with warm water. 

Guide to Washing Denim Jeans

Honestly, the less you wash your jeans, the better. You can use an antibacterial spray with odor-neutralizing features between wears. Simply spray your jeans inside out and wait several minutes for them to dry before wearing them. For a more natural alternative, combine white vinegar and water with essential oils such as oregano or fennel to help with killing bacteria effectively. 

How often to wash jeans?

There is no clear-cut answer to how often you should wash your jeans. The best washing frequency has to do with your activity level. If you’re doing manual labor or something where you’re sweating, wash every few wears. However, if you’re wearing them for leisure, you can easily wait for up to 10 wears.

Some people believe that washing frequency depends on the material of your jeans. Levis recommends washing jeans once every 10 wears or until they don't smell fresh anymore. For instance, classic denim should be cleaned in cold water every five wears, while blended denim with lycra, poly-cotton, or spandex should be washed as soon as it begins to lose its shape. 

What settings to wash jeans

Many fashion junkies recommend soaking your jeans in warm water before their first use. Some recommend washing them because of the fear of dye transfer. If they are dark denim jeans, wash them inside out in cold water, as warm or hot water can cause shrinkage. We've heard some people recommend boiling denim, but we can't figure out why. Don't boil your jeans. Cold temperatures are best for washing jeans.

If you choose to machine wash your jeans, wash them on their own to ensure that any dye released during the cycle doesn’t stain other clothes. Add vinegar to your cold water rinse, as it helps to lock in dye and is a natural bacteria killer. 

If you want to hand launder your denim, you can soak them in a vinegar bath or cold water and vinegar mixed in a bucket or in your bathtub. Leave your jeans to soak for about an hour. Wring out any excess liquid and hang dry by their waistband or belt loops to help them keep their shape. To avoid your jeans getting stiff, soak them in a mixture of water and fabric softener overnight and rinse them the following day.  

What About Drying Jeans? Does Drying Jeans Shrink Them?

As mentioned before, it’s not recommended to dry your jeans in the dryer. Air drying is the best idea for those that don’t want that stiff jean feeling and want their denim to hold their shape for the longest time possible. Line drying is recommended. In fact, all the lint that your dryer collects is your jeans breaking down. Protect your jeans by keeping them out of the dryer. You’re helping the environment too by not using energy unnecessarily. 

How do you make your jeans smaller? What about shrinking jeans?

Fabric goes through shrinkage and relaxation processes, depending on how it's woven and what type of fibers it's made from. As Clorox explains, the first time you wash jeans, they'll shrink the most. Jeans shrink 3% to 4%, but after five washes, shrinkage should stop.

If you've lost weight and want to make jeans smaller, or you simply want a different fit, consider finding a good tailor! Most dry cleaning stores either have seamstresses and tailors on staff or they can recommend one for you.

To tighten loose jeans, you can wash and dry them, but if you're doing this too often, you may need to consider buying new jeans in the right size, rather than wasting resources and ruining your jeans through repeated laundering. 

So... can you put jeans in the dryer?

Yes, but your jeans will last longer if you line-dry them or dry-clean them.

Can you wash jeans with other clothes?

You can wash jeans with similar fabrics and colors, but generally, it's recommended that you wash jeans together with nothing else.

What about ironing jeans? Is this OK?

You can iron your jeans, if you must. To get wrinkles out of denim, it's better to iron them with a steam iron, rather than throw them in the dryer at a high heat setting. 

Getting Stains Out of Denim

Most stains can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap. An old toothbrush can also be used with a mild detergent or liquid soap. Gently rub the stain and rinse with cold water. Steam cleaning can also help with dirt, debris, or minor stains. It also makes it easier to get your jeans clean without washing them. Run a steamer over your jeans to loosen up the material and then use the spot clean instructions.