We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t wash your hair every day, or even every other day, but what about your favorite jeans? This article details all the reasons you should never wash your jeans, and while I see the validity, I have trouble with the idea of literally never washing my jeans. Ever. Making them last as long as possible between washes, though, I can definitely do.
There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve started wearing out your favorite pair of jeans or that perfect denim jacket that took you months to find. A few unraveling seams leads today means an accidental hole a week down the road, but luckily, I have some secrets to share with you to keep your denim looking like new.
3 Secrets to Making Your Favorite Denim Last
1. If your denim has wrinkles
I love my denim shorts, but one wear, and the hems are all rolled up and the shorts have kind of turned to underwear. I’m not especially handy with an iron (honestly, I don’t know that I own one), and my straightener just doesn’t get the job done. I used to think the only way to completely refresh my shorts was by cycling them through the wash, but I’ve recently found another trick.
Wet a washcloth (like, all the way wet) and throw it in the dryer with your shorts, jeans, jacket, whatever you have. Let it run for 15 or 20 minutes, and the moisture from the washcloth will release any wrinkles, folds, or creases in your clothing. This method works best if your article of clothing and the washcloth are the only things in the dryer, but you can use this technique on practically anything to get the same refreshed result.
2. If your denim is a lil’ smelly
Okay, sometimes it’s seriously hot outside and the only parking spot is like, four blocks away. Uphill. Both ways (just kidding). Sometimes getting a little sweaty in denim is unavoidable, I mean, it’s a heavy material and not the most breathable. That doesn’t mean your jeans are necessarily dirty, though, and need to be washed after every wear.
DISCLAIMER: I wash my jeans, people. I’m not saying this is a replacement for washing them all together, only that if you’ve worn them once or twice, it’s still okay to wear them again– so long as they are without any spills or stains.
If you’ve only worn your jeans for a day, but feel like the need a little scent refresher, try this: fabric refresher and the dryer (honestly, your dryer is your best friend). I like to use Febreze Free Nature Fabric Refresher because it doesn’t have added perfumes, and I spray my jeans (or whatever) until they’re pretty damp. I throw ’em in the dryer with a few dryer sheets and leave them long enough to dry completely. When they come out, my clothes are smelling fresh and ready to wear!
3. If your denim has a stain
The darker the denim, the better this trick will work. Unfortunately, lighter denim can hold on to stains pretty tightly, so this isn’t always a sure trick and your jeans might need to take a trip through the wash.
The first thing you should do if you get a spill is immediately run it under cold water. If the stain dries, it will set in the fabric, so keeping it damp is key to getting it out. Next, do not rub the stain. Rubbing = spreading it around and doing nothing. Blot the stain with a towel or napkin as best you can. Finally, when you can, take your stained garment and create a mixture of detergent and stain remover. I like to spray Shout on my stains before sprinkling some OxiClean on top. Then, I work the two into a paste and into the stain, usually with my finger. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before spot rinsing, and voila! Your stain should be gone.
If your stain persists, recreate the mixture and send your jeans through the wash! Hopefully they’ll be good as new and you can go back to trying to wash them as little as possible.
Remember: It’s okay to wash your denim!
Sometimes, I get so obsessed with the idea of making things last (healthy hair, good jeans, nice clothes) that I have a little panic if I have to wash them. Remember: washing your jeans a few too many times isn’t going to cause them to spontaneously unravel. If your jeans are nasty, smelly, gross, PLEASE WASH THEM. The integrity of your jeans is not worth your integrity as a clean, hygienic person. Also, no one thinks your ketchup stain from yesterday’s lunch is cute, either.
Avoiding washing your jeans can help make them last as long as possible, which we all want when we find that perfect hip-hugging pair, but it’s still okay to wash them. I find the idea of never washing them to be just as crazy as washing them all the time, though, so use my secrets and you’ll find a perfect balance to keep your denim lasting as long as possible!
Photography: Aaron Cage