Should You Wash Jeans Inside Out?

When it comes to building a wardrobe, nothing compares to a good pair of denim. Jeans are classic, timeless, and have never gone out style. Jeans are also made to last. Their thick fabric provides durability through years of wear. However, if you want to preserve your jeans as best as possible, you need to care for them properly. Proper care includes laundering them the right way. We researched how to do this for the best results!

To best maintain the integrity of the jeans, you should always wash them inside out. This applies to both new and old jeans. All jeans should be zipped up, turned inside out, and washed on a cold setting, with like colors. If possible, they should also be washed by themselves or with other jeans only. 

In this article, we'll dive into lots of information about laundering denim. These tips will help you get the most out of any pair of jeans, no matter the style or the price. Even a pair of inexpensive jeans will last you a long time if you take care of them properly. Keep reading for details, including proper wash instructions, how often to wash, why these care details are so important, and even the best detergent to use!

A woman putting her jeans inside the washing machine, Should You Wash Jeans Inside Out?

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Why Do Jeans Require Special Laundering?

Now that you know you should turn jeans inside out (and zip them up) before washing, you may be wondering why. Turning jeans inside out before washing them reduces the friction that can cause them to fade. Essentially, each time denim is washed, it takes a bit of a beating.

This means that if you wash your denim too often, you are prematurely aging it. If you wash your jeans incorrectly, or if you even wash them too often, you may end up fading the color of your jeans or causing the seams to fray or unravel.

How Often Should You Wash Jeans?

Another great thing about jeans: they can be worn for quite a while between washes. Denim, by composition, is a thicker fabric than most other fabrics that we wear. It's also very durable. This means that denim can go longer than other articles of clothing between washes. Usually, jeans can be worn 5-7 times before they need to be washed. If they smell, you may need to wash them sooner.

A man washing her jeans

Even then, the wash cycle should be gentle and with cold water. Washing your denim the correct way will preserve them for a long time. If they do not smell and are not visibly dirty, you may be able to wear your jeans up to 10 times or more between washes.

To extend the wear time between washes, you can opt for a fabric spray. A fabric spray will improve the smell of the denim without exposing them to a complete wash. It's a quick, inexpensive way to buy you a few more wears. For example, if you are traveling, you may find it very useful to bring a good fabric spray to revive your jeans while away from a washer.

Try this Fabric Fresh spray from The Laundress on Amazon.

Does the Freezer Trick Really Work?

It was said that jeans could be stored in the freezer to kill bacteria and further extend the time between washing. While you could always try this, there is no actual scientific proof that this method works. While the cold temperatures may help with the smell, it does nothing to clean the denim itself.

Can You Wash Jeans With Other Clothes?

Ideally, you want to wash jeans by themselves or with other jeans, not with other clothing. However, sometimes that isn't possible.

If you have to wash your jeans with other clothing items, make sure they are all similar colors. Washing a pair of dark jeans with light clothing items will likely dye all the clothing in the load blue.

A man putting his jeans inside the washing machine

If you are washing an entire load of jeans, you may want to go a step further by separating your jeans by color. Try to wash light jeans with other light jeans and dark jeans with other dark-washed jeans. Washing a pair of dark blue, highly dyed jeans with a super light pair may result in some unwanted dye transfer.

How Do You Wash Jeans Properly?

Before you start, try to accumulate a few pairs of jeans that need washing,  that way, you aren't wasting time or detergent. Once you have your load of jeans, follow these easy steps below to wash denim properly:

  • Zip the jeans up and then turn them inside out
  • Add your detergent (a color-preserving one for darks and a gentle one for lights)
  • Choose a short, gentle wash cycle- Cold water only
  • Low heat dry or air dry (if possible)

Does Washing Jeans Inside Out Keep Them From Fading?

Now that you've learned how to wash your jeans properly, you may be wondering why these special steps are even necessary. Washing jeans inside out keeps the color of the denim from fading by allowing the jeans to get washed but exposing the dyed fibers to the detergent as little as possible.

Your jeans are getting cleaned but not fading because there's less friction between the material (the dyed fabric) and pressured soapy water.

What Detergent is Best for Jeans?

When washing jeans, it's best to use a detergent that can preserve the color of the denim. If the denim is dark, you may want to look for a detergent specifically made for darker colors (linked below).

The detergent will help maintain the dark color of jeans. Please remember to only wash dark jeans by themselves or with other dark jeans/clothing items. The darker the jean, the more dye it contains.

For lighter-colored denim, it's best to use a gentle, scent-free, and color-free detergent. These detergents have fewer dyes and typically fewer chemicals. This means that fewer foreign ingredients are touching your denim which will aid in keeping the color light but will still clean your jeans.

For dark rinse jeans, try Woolite for Darks, linked here on Amazon.

For light rinse jeans, try Tide Free & Gentle, linked here on Amazon.

Should You Put Jeans in the Dryer?

If you can help it, jeans should air dry instead of being dried in the dryer. Sometimes, time does not allow this. If you are short on time and need your jeans dried faster, opt for a low heat cycle. Remember not to overpack the dryer, which will slow the drying process down and potentially wrinkle your jeans.

Note: Keep the jeans turned inside out for the drying process, as the heat could also affect the integrity of the denim.

Do Care Instructions Vary Based on Style of Denim?

Dirty jeans sticking out of the washing machine

As you know, denim comes in a variety of styles, cuts, and colors. For the most part, these variances do not require any different laundering instructions. The only exception you may run into is jeans that are not blue. For example, if you are washing white jeans, you most definitely do not want to wash them with other jeans because they are made of the same material. Always group by color when washing jeans and when in doubt, wash the pair in question by itself.

Summing up

In conclusion, Jeans are a closet staple. They always have been and likely always will be. Jeans are so beloved because anyone can wear them, and anyone can find a style they like because they come in so many cuts and can virtually be any color. The great thing about denim is that it will last you a lifetime as long as you care for it properly.

All you have to do to keep your jeans looking great for years is to turn them inside out when washing, don't wash them too often, and air dry when possible. Always remember to separate your jeans by color (lights and darks) to prevent dye transfer. If you take these simple steps to care for your denim, you'll be wearing your jeans for a very long time.

For more information on denim care and styling, check out these articles:

How To Remove Oil Stains From Jeans 

How Often Should You Wash Pants? [A Breakdown By Type]

Do Skinny Jeans Look Good On Everyone?

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