how to wash jeans

How to Wash Jeans

Jeans are a staple item in most wardrobes. They can be smartened up and worn to work, dressed down for relaxed days out, and even glitzed out for nights on the town!

Jeans have got so much to offer us. So, the one thing we can give back to our faithful companions is the right care!

Read on to find out how to wash your jeans, so you continue to get years and years of use out of them.

When it comes to keeping your jeans clean, you can either wash your jeans in a washing machine, or take the manual route and wash the jeans by hand.

You can generally clean most jeans in a washer, but do make sure this method is suitable for your jeans.

Tip: Don’t assume that all of your jeans can be washed in the same way, even if you bought your jeans from the same shop, or they’re the same pair but in a different colour!

You should read each individual clothing tag before you clean each pair of jeans.


How to Wash Jeans in the Washing Machine

jeans in washing machine

Tip: If you’ve bought ‘raw denim’, jeans that haven’t been pre-shrunk or faded, you need to use cold water to clean them.

Jeans that are ‘raw denim’ will fade naturally and will change shape to suit your body as you wear them, so don’t panic if you see the jeans changing slightly.

Steps to follow:

  1. Empty everything out of your jeans’ pockets: coins, tissues, slips of paper, and sweets, for example.
  2. Turn your jeans inside out. This’ll stop the zip from catching on anything and will protect the material’s fibres.
  3. Read the tag on your jeans to make sure they’re washer safe.
  4. Choose an appropriate cycle. Gentle/hand wash cycles are often used to clean jeans as this will reduce the agitation, and in turn, should minimise the general wear and tear on the material, including colour damage.
  5. Pick a water temperature that is 40°C or less. Hot water can shrink jeans and can make the colour of your jeans fade.
  6. Add a gentle detergent to the machine. Make sure you’ve pre-tested this detergent on a seam before you use it to clean your item. Don’t use bleach or products containing bleach to clean your jeans.
  7. Pop your jeans in the drum alongside jeans of a similar colour.
  8. When the cycle ends, air dry or tumble dry your jeans. See the care label to make sure the jeans are dryer safe. If you plan on using a tumble dryer to dry jeans, use a low temperature and only dry your jeans for short periods of time.


How to Wash Jeans by Hand

wash jeans by hand

Washing any kind of clothing by hand is usually a lot gentler on the material, and can protect the item from washing-related damage.

It does, however, take a touch more effort and time to clean laundry by hand, so try not to rush the process below.

Steps to follow:

  1. Clean out your sink and make sure it’s free from any food residues. Alternatively, you can use a bucket or a bathtub.
  2. Pop some gloves on and take off any jewellery you’re wearing.
  3. Fill your washing area up with cold water.
  4. Add a measure of detergent to the water. Something with ingredients to help protect the colour of your jeans would be good, like Persil Colour Protect liquid. Test out your chosen cleaning solution beforehand.
  5. Grab your jeans and make sure you’ve emptied out all the pockets.
  6. It might be better for you to clean one pair of jeans at a time, and then to repeat these steps for your other pairs of jeans. Remember to empty away the dirty water before you clean another pair of jeans.
  7. Turn the jeans inside out.
  8. Put them in the cold water and make sure they’re submerged.
  9. If you see any obvious dirty spots, gently massage some detergent into them.
  10. Leave the jeans alone for 45 minutes to an hour.
  11. Remove the dirty water from the washing area.
  12. Rinse the jeans under cold water. Remove all the soapy residue. Take your time doing this.
  13. Lay an old, neutral coloured towel on a flat surface. Make sure you don’t use one of your best towels as the dye on the jeans could find its way onto the towel and dye it.
  14. Pop the jeans on top of the towel and start to roll the towel up with the jeans inside.
  15. Press down on the towel to extract moisture from the jeans.
  16. Dry the jeans on a line, in a tumble dryer, or on a heated airer.


How to Dry Jeans

Jeans can be dried in several different ways. Here are some ideas to get your started:

Option 1: Clothesline

dry jeans in clothesline

It’s better for your jeans to be dried naturally. So, if you have a line outside, it would be a good idea to pop your jeans on it and let the breeze and some sunlight air dry your items for you.

Make sure you don’t expose your jeans to too much sunlight as the rays can fade jeans.

Before you put the jeans on the line, stretch the seams ever so gently to make sure the jeans go back to their normal size.


Option 2: Tumble dryer

jeans on tumble dryer

Most jeans can be tumble dried, but before you jump in and try this drying technique out, you should check the label on your jeans to make sure they’re dryer friendly. If the label says that your jeans are not dryer safe, you should find another way to dry your jeans.

To dry jeans safely in a dryer, it’s best to use a low heat setting and to run short drying cycles (cycles that are no more than 10 to 15 minutes in length).

Exposing your jeans to intense heat for prolonged periods of time can shrink the material!

You should also take your jeans out of the drum before they are fully dry, hang them up and continue to dry them in this manner.

In addition to choosing the correct type of cycle, you should dry your jeans inside out, and add a couple of dryer balls to the drum. Dryer balls help to agitate the jeans and dry them evenly, and reduce wrinkles too.

Ideally, you shouldn’t make a habit of drying your jeans in a tumble dryer as this can impact the material and its colour. So, if it’s possible, try to mix up your drying methods, so you protect the lifespan of your jeans.


Option 3: Heated airer

dry jeans fast with heated airer

If you’ve got a heated airer at hand, hang your jeans up or drape them over the airer, and wait for your jeans to dry.

Give your jeans a gentle stretch at the seams before you pop them on the dryer, and keep an eye on them throughout the drying process.


How to dry jeans quicker

How to Dry Jeans Fast

There are lots of ways to speed things up and dry jeans fast. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Iron your jeans
  • Use a hair dryer to dry your jeans
  • Tumble dry your jeans
  • Use a heated airer


FAQs on Washing Jeans

Should jeans be washed inside out?

Yes, jeans should be washed inside out. This is to protect the colour of the jeans and to stop them fading.

Plus, turning your jeans inside out protects the material’s fibres during the washing process. (The agitation during the wash cycle can encourage general wear and tear).

jeans and laundry detergent pods


How often should jeans be washed?

Jeans don’t actually need to be washed very often. And in some cases, over washing your jeans can do more harm than good. If you clean your jeans too much you might shrink them and make the colour fade!

As a guide, you should wash your jeans when they are obviously dirty or every five to ten uses.

But you can increase this frequency if you wear your jeans a lot, or if they’re exposed to a lot of grime.

You can also decrease this time if you don’t wear your jeans that much, or they don’t get very grubby. Some people don’t wash their jeans for a few months at a time!

In addition to the above, you should spot treat stains on your jeans in between cleans. Just be careful if you’re treating untreated (raw denim) jeans, as sometimes the patch you’re cleaning can fade.

You should also air your jeans out on a line to remove any pesky odours from them.

If you’re not sure when to clean your jeans, keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs:

  • Obvious dirt
  • Smelly jeans
  • Knee section is getting saggy
  • Bad creasing
  • Jeans are too loose on you


Can you wash jeans at 40°C?

Yes, you can wash jeans at a 40°C. This temperature should clean the jeans, but won’t be too hot to cause any shrinkage or significant damage to the material.

It is, however, often recommended that you clean your jeans in cold water (30°C or below).


Do jeans shrink in the wash?

Do Jeans Shrink Over Time

Jeans can shrink in the wash. But you’re most likely to see the effects of this shrinking after you clean your jeans for the first time.

Once you start to wash your jeans regularly, you won’t notice much shrinking from then on.

Of course, if you adhere to the washing instructions on the tag, and you clean your jeans in the right way, your jeans shouldn’t succumb to much shrinkage or damage.

It’s also worth looking for and buying jeans that have been pre-shrunk during the manufacturing process. And although these jeans can still shrink, they may not shrink as much as say ‘raw denim’.


How do you wash jeans so they don’t shrink?

The best way to stop jeans from shrinking in the wash is to clean them in cold or lukewarm water, and on a gentle cycle/hand wash.

Further to this, you should try and dry your jeans naturally by popping them on a line outdoors. Or you could use a heated airer to limit potential shrinking damage.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re going to dry your jeans in a tumble dryer, that you must use a low temperature, and you should only run short drying cycles. This’ll help to limit potential shrinkage.


Can you tumble dry jeans?

Yes, jeans can be dried in a tumble dryer as long as the tag on the item stipulates it is safe to do so. Follow the steps above to dry your jeans in a tumble dryer.