How often should you wash jeans? I mean, my jeans are cheap. Does it really matter how often I clean them?
Taylor Thomas, Tempe, AZ
There’s an easy answer to how often should you wash jeans. Use your nose. If they smell bad, clean them.
While some denim experts tell you to never wash jeans, that seems rather unhygienic. Some sources recommend placing the pants in the freezer to kill the odor. But your household freezer doesn’t get cold enough to do the job.
Don’t worry about fading your jeans by washing them too much. I’m about to tell you how to protect to the color. Just so you know, these tips come from our detailed guide on how to wash jeans.
Obviously, if your pants have special decorations like sequins, you’ll need to take extra precautions. But as a rule, plan on turning your jeans inside out, then washing them in the gentle cycle with cold water. Use mild detergent only. Then hang them up to dry.
If you toss them in the dryer, you could fade or shrink them. Of course, if you need to know how to shrink denim that is a bit too large, the dryer can certainly help with that, as does washing in warm or hot water.
If you’re concerned that washing them in the machine is too harsh or if you are not interested in ways to shrink blue jeans right now, why not wash them by hand? It’s simple to do and doesn’t take too much time or equipment.
Fill a bucket, sink, or tub with cold water and add mild soap. Since wet denim is very heavy, allow the pants to soak for 45 minutes. Then rinse well with cold water and let them drip dry. Hang them from the shower curtain rod or on the line outside.
Instead of tossing out old jeans when they fade, give them new life by dyeing them. There are dyes that work in the washing machine. The only downside is that the dyes typically require hot water which could shrink the material. Or you could acid wash them for an entirely different look. Finally, tie-dye them with bleach for a unique appearance.