Denim Care Guide: How to wash jeans 2024

Jeans are a wardrobe staple for many, but keeping them clean, fresh, and long-lasting is often a challenge. Fear not, denim enthusiasts! In this comprehensive guide on how to wash jeans, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to help you better care for your favorite pairs of jeans, from determining when to wash them to maintaining their appearance for years to come.


  • Find the right balance between keeping jeans clean and making them last
  • Wash when you notice odors or dirt, depending on activity level & personal preference
  • Follow care labels, use mild detergent in cold water (max 30°C/86°F), avoid fabric softener, and air dry them. 


A person washing a pair of jeans in a washing machine

It might be a challenge to determine when your jeans need washing. Factors such as odor, dirt, activity level, and personal preference come into play. We recommend not washing our jeans after every wear. Instead, consider 'spot cleaning' any areas as needed before deciding to wash them entirely. While some individuals might wash their jeans frequently, it's often best to wait longer intervals between washes for optimal care.

The key is to strike a balance between maintaining cleanliness and preserving the quality and appearance of the denim.

Odor and Dirt

It’s undeniable that jeans can accumulate dirt and odors, making your jeans dirty. If you’ve been wearing your favorite pair for a while and notice unpleasant odors or visible dirt, it’s time to give them a wash.

Additionally, stains or bodily fluids on your jeans are a clear sign that they need a good cleaning.

Activity Level

Your activity level also plays a role in determining how often to wash your jeans. If you wear them for light activities, such as working at an office or running errands, you might be able to get away with washing them every 10 wears, or even every two months.

However, if you’re more active and wear your jeans while exercising or working outdoors, you may need to wash them more frequently to keep them clean and fresh.

Personal Preference

Those, who prefer less obvious fades might opt for more frequent washes. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your comfort and desired jean appearance.


A person sorting jeans by color

Proper preparation prior to washing your jeans is key to achieving optimal results. This involves checking the care labels for washing instructions, turning your jeans inside out to protect the fabric, and sorting them by color to prevent dye transfer.

Care Labels

Before washing, make sure to read the care labels on your jeans as they provide valuable instructions for proper cleaning. This not only helps you wash your jeans correctly but also prevents potential dye transfer, which can ruin both your jeans and other clothes in the wash.

Following the care label instructions can help you keep your jeans looking their best for longer.

Turning Jeans Inside Out

Inverting your jeans prior to washing is a crucial step. This protects the fibers on the outside from friction and detergent, and helps prevent fading.

It’s a simple yet effective way to keep your jeans looking their best for longer.

Sorting by Color

Sorting your jeans by color can help prevent dye transfer and maintain the original color of your jeans. Separate light and dark-colored jeans, washing the light ones together in one load and the dark ones in another.

This simple step can make a significant difference in preserving your blue jeans’ appearance.


A person reading a care label on a pair of jeans

Choosing appropriate detergent and water temperature plays a significant role in preserving the quality and look of your jeans. Mild detergents, cold water max 30°C/86°F), and specialized denim detergents are your best friends when it comes to washing jeans.

Mild Detergents

The use of mild detergents, known for their gentleness on denim, aids in color retention. They’re less harsh on the fabric, making them ideal for preserving your jeans’ appearance.

Follow the detergent label’s instructions and use the right amount for the size of the load to ensure the best results.

Cold Water (max 30°C/86°F)

You should wash jeans in cold water to avoid shrinking and color loss. In addition to preserving your jeans’ appearance, cold water is also more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, making it a win-win choice.

Specialized Denim Detergents

Specialized denim detergents, designed specifically for washing jeans, can provide better results than regular detergents. They’re formulated to be gentler on denim fabric and contain enzymes that break down dirt and oils, making them more effective at cleaning jeans.

It's essential to choose the right detergent, especially for dark-colored garments. We recommend using a detergent specifically designed for black textiles to maintain the color's intensity.

Additionally, be cautious as some detergents may contain hidden fabric softeners, which might not be suitable for all types of clothing. Ensure you read the labels and select a product that aligns with your garment's care requirements.


A person washing a pair of jeans

There are several strategies to remember when it comes to the proper machine wash of your jeans. Using a gentle cycle, never use fabric softener, and preventing dye transfer can help maintain the quality and appearance of your jeans.

Gentle Cycle

Using the gentle cycle on your washing machine is beneficial in preserving the denim’s shape and color. It’s particularly useful for preserving delicate denim fabrics and ensuring your jeans stay looking their best for longer.

Avoiding Fabric Softener

Avoid using fabric softener when washing jeans as it can lead to buildup on the denim. The chemicals in fabric softeners can wear down the fibers in denim over time, potentially causing damage.

Instead, rely on mild detergents and proper hand wash techniques to keep your jeans clean and fresh.

Preventing Dye Transfer

When washing jeans with other clothes, it’s crucial to prevent dye transfer. To avoid discoloring your other clothes, wash jeans separately or with similarly colored items. This helps maintain the original color of both your jeans and other garments in the wash.

Don't panic if your jeans feel too tight after washing - after wearing them for a little while, they’ll adapt to your body again. Also be aware of the fact that blue colors will fade naturally in time, as this is a natural characteristic of the dye, which gives each garment an individual look.


For delicate or high-quality denim, hand washing can serve as a suitable alternative to machine washing. The process involves filling a tub or sink with water, adding detergent, and soaking and agitating the jeans to clean them thoroughly.

Filling a Tub or Sink

When hand washing your jeans, begin by filling a tub or sink with water at the temperature recommended on the fabric care label. Ensure there’s enough water to fully submerge your jeans.

Next, add a mild detergent to the water and mix it in.

Adding Detergent

Introduce a modest amount of liquid detergent to the slightly damp water, ensuring it is fully mixed in.

Make sure to use a mild detergent designed for wash denim to ensure the best results.

Remember, a little goes a long way!

Soaking and Agitating Jeans

Immerse your jeans in the water-detergent mix, stirring them gently for thorough cleaning. Let them soak for 15-30 minutes to allow the detergent to work its magic.

After soaking, rinse the jeans with cold water and gently squeeze out the excess water before laying them flat to dry.


A person air drying a pair of jeans

When drying jeans, please always air dry your FITJEANS. Air drying is the most gentle option, as it prevents shrinkage and fading, but prevents the fabric from breaking down. 

Air Drying

Many denim enthusiasts prefer air drying jeans as it helps conserve their shape and color. It's crucial to note that jeans should never be put in a tumble dryer, not even with a delicate cycle.

To air dry your jeans, simply hang them up in a breezy spot away from direct sunlight, or lay them flat to dry. This method is gentle on the fabric and can help prevent shrinking and fading.Preventing Shrinkage and Fading

Implementing measures to curb shrinkage and fading is vital in preserving the look of your jeans. When air drying, hang your jeans on a clothesline or drying rack in a well-


A person washing a pair of raw denim jeans by hand

Different denim types necessitate distinct washing methods for quality and appearance preservation. In this section, we’ll explore how to care for raw denim, black jeans, and stretch denim, so you can keep all your jeans looking their best. Raw denim should be washed as little as possible. It should be hung to air dry and spot

Black Jeans

Preserving the dark hue of black jeans requires particular washing methods. Use a mild detergent designed for dark colors, and wash your black jeans in cold water on a gentle cycle to keep them looking fresh and vibrant.

Turning black jeans inside out before washing can also help prevent fading.

Stretch Denim

Given their small elastane or Lycra content, stretch denim jeans require careful washing and drying to preserve their elasticity. Use a mild detergent designed for stretch fabrics and wash your stretch denim jeans in cold water on a gentle cycle.

When it comes to drying, you should always choose air drying to prevent shrinkage and preserve the stretchiness of the fabric.


A person spot cleaning a pair of jeans

Keeping your jeans looking good need not be an overwhelming task. Here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Spot clean any stains or spills as soon as possible.
  • Refresh your jeans between washes by hanging them outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Properly store your jeans by folding them neatly or hanging them up. By following these steps, you can keep your jeans looking their best for years to come.
  • Spot Cleaning

    For removing small stains or dirt spots without a full wash, spot cleaning proves effective. Using a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the stained area until it comes clean.

    This method is particularly useful for maintaining the appearance of your jeans between full washes.

    Refreshing Jeans

    To maintain your jeans’ appearance and remove odors, consider refreshing them between washes. Airing your jeans out in a breezy spot or using fabric refresher spray can help keep them smelling fresh and looking clean.

    Additionally, placing your jeans in the freezer overnight can help eliminate bacteria and odors without the need for washing.


    A staple of different colored

    In conclusion, proper care and maintenance of your jeans can help preserve their appearance, keep them clean, and extend their lifespan. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your favorite pairs of jeans for years to come. So go ahead, embrace your inner denim enthusiast, and give your jeans the love and care they deserve!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    When it comes to washing your new jeans, the best approach is to wash them by themselves in cold water with the soak cycle and turn them inside out. This will help avoid any dye bleeds while also giving them some early loving care.

    For both new and old jeans, it's best to always turn them inside out before washing. Doing so minimizes abrasion and helps preserve the life of your jeans.

    To avoid shrinking your jeans, use cold water in the washing machine and choose a delicate or gentle cycle. When drying, never tumble dry - air dry it. Also, opt for a mild detergent specifically made for dark clothes if you have darker denim.

    To maintain their like-new darkness, you should hand-wash raw denim inside out in cold water (max 30°C/86°F) in the sink or bathtub, and rinse them thoroughly to get all suds out. If machine-washing, use a gentle cycle with cold water and a high-quality detergent designed to preserve color. Finally, hang them to dry right-side out.

    For most people, the frequency of washing jeans depends on individual preferences and levels of activity. While some individuals might choose to wash their jeans after every wear, others might wait weeks or even months before doing so.

    However, we strongly emphasize the practice of 'spot cleaning' any areas as needed before deciding to wash them entirely. Washing jeans too frequently can lead to them losing their shape and becoming saggy over time. It's always best to prioritize the longevity and quality of your denim.

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    Denim Care Guide: How to wash jeans 2024