A guide to looking after your favourite jeans

Washing denim jeans can be tricky. Read our guide to find the tips and tricks you need!


jeans in a washing machine

Out of all the clothes in your wardrobe, jeans can be one of the more enigmatic garments to look after. There’s so much varying advice out there, from soaking them in coffee to wearing them in the sea, that it becomes more than a bit of a nuisance working out how exactly you should take care of them. How often should you wash jeans? What should you wash them with?

To clear up the confusion, we’ve put together a no-nonsense guide that has everything you need to know.

Air your jeans in a well-ventilated area between uses to keep them fresh for longer.

Putting jeans in the freezer: does it work?

The ‘jeans in freezer’ method isn’t a new one. For years, people have been trying to conserve the colour of raw denim by chucking their jeans in the freezer overnight to avoid washing them, but this is actually pretty pointless.

The idea was that the chilly temperatures would kill off bacteria, but freezers just aren’t cold enough to do that. It also won’t get rid of all the oil, dirt and grime that’s built up on your favourite pair. So, when it comes to putting jeans in the freezer, give it a miss.

Should you wash jeans?

Jeans aren’t delicate, so chucking them in the wash isn’t going to hurt. The main reason denim-lovers hesitate to do this is because they don’t want the colour to fade, but you can prevent this by using milder detergent and fabric conditioner, such as those from Surf (Surf Perfect Black is particularly good for black jeans) and Comfort.

How often should you wash your jeans, though? This depends on how much you sweat and what you’re doing in your jeans (if you spend all day running around a muddy field, they’re probably going to need more regular cleaning). In general, every ten days is a good guide on how often to wash jeans.

Putting your jeans on a colder wash and turning them inside out can also help to prevent the colour fading. If you’re really worried, why not buy a pack of dye that you can easily use at home to refresh the colour of your jeans? It’s not hard and could give them a whole new lease of life!

Never wash jeans?

A lot of people think you should never wash jeans to preserve their unique colour and fade marks. Whilst this is largely down to personal preference, be warned that, just as with all clothing, your jeans will start to smell after some time. We’d recommend washing them regularly.

Always air dry

After figuring out how often to wash jeans, it’s important you remember to stay away from the tumble dryer when it comes to denim. Instead, leave them to air dry naturally. Tumble drying can cause denim to shrink and lose shape, which definitely isn’t what you want. It can also wear down the material more quickly and cause colour fading, meaning you’ll have to buy a new pair quicker than if you just let them dry naturally.

Washing jeans can be confusing, but only if you don’t know what you’re doing. Avoid all the nonsense online about putting jeans in the freezer and keep things simple by washing them with a gentle detergent and letting them dry naturally. Turns out looking after your favourite jeans isn’t too hard after all!

  • Wash jeans inside out and on a cold setting, ideally.
  • Let your jeans air-dry rather than tumble-drying them.
  • Wash your jeans around every ten days; air them between uses to keep them smelling fresh.
  • Originally published