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The ultimate guide to washing jeans

Whether you want to learn steps for machine or hand washing jeans, we’ve got you covered. Read our guide for how to take care of jeans and keep your jeans looking their best for every wear.

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

Hand placing jeans into washing machine
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Washing jeans is an important part of taking care of them, ensuring they last for a long time and look great for every wear. After all, it’s a horrible moment when your favourite jeans fade. But not to worry - whether you want to know how to wash ripped jeans by hand, or what steps to follow to use a washing machine to clean your jeans, read our guide on how to take care of jeans below.

Even if you know how to take care of jeans, they don’t stay intact forever. Ripped denim doesn’t spell the end, however. You could always patch up your torn jeans or wear them for messy tasks like painting.
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RequiredComfort Fresh Sky Ultimate Care
Comfort Ultimate Care Fresh Sky bottle
  • Washing machine
  • Bathtub or bucket
  • Detergent
  • Fabric conditioner

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How to wash jeans in the machine

If you're looking for the quickest and easiest steps for how to clean jeans, it's likely that the washing machine is going to be the option for you. Here is our guide to washing jeans in the washing machine.

  1. First, check the care label.

    As with any other item of clothing, take a look at the care label to ensure that your jeans can be machine washed. You may find that the manufacturer's recommendations are different so always follow their guide.

  2. Make sure you're washing jeans with similar-coloured clothing.

    Jeans can shed dye in the washing machine, especially on the first few washes, so take care not to wash dark jeans with light or pastel clothing. If you have noticed some colour run in the wash, follow our steps for how to get colour run out of clothes.

  3. Protect your jeans ready for washing.

    To prevent damage and fading, be sure to turn your jeans inside out and do up the zipper.

  4. Set your wash cycle.

    Keeping the temperature down is also a crucial step in how to wash jeans without shrinking. We recommend 30°C or below.

    Did you know lower wash temperature will result in less fading too?

  5. Add in your detergent.

    Aim to use a mild liquid detergent. Powder detergents can cause friction in the wash, which can lead to damage such as fading which you want to try and avoid.

  6. Add in a good quality fabric conditioner.

    Protect your favourite jeans from fading with Comfort Ultimate Care, created with PRO FIBRE technology. Adding in fabric conditioner is particularly key if your jeans are feeling a little stiff and is a great way to help your jeans (and other clothing too!) smell good and stay fresh.

  7. Hang your jeans up to dry.

    Tumble drying can reduce the lifespan of your jeans, so it is always best to hang them in a well ventilated area to dry.

    If you're drying dark jeans, hang them away from direct sunlight which could lead to unwanted colour fade.

How to hand wash jeans

Whether you are wondering how to wash ripped jeans without ripping more, or you’ve noticed that your denim care label says the item is hand wash only, knowing how to hand wash jeans is essential. Here are our six simple steps for how to clean your jeans by hand washing.

  1. Fill a bucket or tub with warm water.

    Add a small quantity of detergent. We recommend using a good quality detergent such as Persil.

    Don't forget, as you're just washing one item, rather than a full load, so you don’t need a full detergent dose.

  2. Submerge the jeans.

    You need to ensure that the fabric is fully covered by the water to allow the entire surface to be cleaned.

  3. Soak the jeans.

    For light soiling, you should soak your jeans for 15 minutes. If your jeans are a little dirtier, leave them for 30 minutes.

  4. Gently rub the your jeans.

    Pay particular attention to any areas of your jeans that are showing signs of staining, or are particularly heavily soiled.

    If you're handwashing ripped jeans, be careful around the ripped areas to ensure you don't make the rips any worse when you are rubbing away the dirt.

  5. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

    Gently press out the excess water against the side of the tub.

  6. Dry your jeans.

    Be sure to check the label for the best way to dry your jeans. For most jeans it's best to simply hang them to air dry.

How to clean jeans without washing

Knowing how to take care of your jeans sometimes means understanding when not to wash them. If you've noticed a little dirt on your favourite pair of jeans but they don't need a full soak and wash, follow these steps to spot clean them instead.

  1. Wet a clean cloth.

    Make sure you wring out the excess water. The cloth needs to be damp, not soaking.

  2. Add a little soap.

    For the best results use a small amount of mild liquid detergent.

  3. Blot away the dirt.

    Avoid rubbing as this could push the dirt into the fabric fibres and lead to staining.

  4. Dry the area you've cleaned.

    Use a paper towel to gently blot the area dry and wear your jeans as normal.

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Jeans are practical, stylish, and worth looking after. Now, with our guide to washing jeans, your know the process for how to care for jeans to ensure they look and feel their best from wash to wear, and last as long as possible.

Frequently asked questions about washing jeans

Can you hand wash jeans?

Yes, hand washing jeans is something that is not only a possibility but in some case actually recommended. For example if your jeans are ripped, hand washing them will help to avoid making the ripped areas worse.

How can I get stains out of white jeans after washing?

White jeans may stain easily, but there are plenty of stain removal options as you don’t have to worry about accidental bleaching. The steps for how to get stains out of white jeans after washing are simple. Try applying a paste of baking soda and water to the stain and leaving it a 2-3 hours. Afterwards, rinse out your remedy and launder the jeans again following the advice on the care label.

How often should I wash my jeans?

You should only be washing jeans when they need it. For example, if they smell bad or you’ve fallen full-length into mud, yes, it’s time for a wash. Over washing your jeans will fade them. The denim will also last longer if it’s washed less.

How can I stop my black jeans fading in the wash?

Washing jeans too often can cause denim of any colour to begin to fade, but the most noticeable fading tends to be on darker colours like black. To avoid this, we recommend washing jeans inside out to help preserve the colour better.

Originally published