How To Care for Jeans: Get More Wear for Your Money

by Rose Scott

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You and your jeans can have a long life together if you know how to care for them properly. Use these tips to get more wear for your denim dollars.

Can’t imagine life without your favorite pair of jeans? Maybe you don’t love your jeans quite that much, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want them to have a long life.

Durable, well-fitting jeans don’t always come cheap. But you can get the most wear for your money by following some simple guidelines on proper jeans care. Care that can help maintain their fit, color and overall quality so you can postpone the cost of replacing them for as long as you can.

How To Care for Jeans

Follow these steps to keep your jeans looking their best:

Read the Label

Always check the care label on denim for specific washing and drying instructions. Different materials and dyes may require different care.

Turn Them Inside Out

Before washing, turn your jeans inside out to protect the color and reduce surface abrasion.

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Wash Less Frequently

Over-washing denim can fade the color and weaken the fabric. Wash your jeans only when necessary, typically after every four to six wears or when they are visibly dirty or smelly. Spot cleaning can be a good alternative for minor stains. Use these recipes for homemade stain removers.

Separate Colors

Wash your jeans with similar colors to prevent color bleeding or transfer. Dark jeans should be washed with other dark items, while lighter jeans should be washed with lighter colors.

Use Cold Water

Wash denim in cold water to prevent shrinkage and color fading. Use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent specifically designed for dark or colored fabrics.

Avoid Bleach and Fabric Softeners

These products can damage the fabric, fade the color and affect the fit of your jeans. Opt for a gentle detergent instead.

Air Dry Your Jeans

To maintain the shape and prevent shrinkage, air dry your jeans by laying them flat or hanging them up. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent color fading. Use these tips to air dry clothing without stiffness.


If necessary, iron your jeans inside out on a low-heat setting. Use a steam iron or place a damp cloth between the iron and the jeans to prevent scorching.


Fold or hang your jeans to store them. Avoid cramming them into a tight space, which can cause wrinkles and affect the fit.

Rotate Your Jeans

To extend the life of your jeans, try to have several pairs in rotation. This allows the fabric to recover between wears and prevents excessive wear on any one pair.

Know How To Care for Jeans the Right Way

The only thing worse than outgrowing your favorite pair of jeans is having to finally give them up when they become too worn to wear.

If you purchase good-quality jeans in a classic style and care them properly, you can often wear them for years. Following the tips above, you and your favorite pair of jeans could have a long future together.

Reviewed August 2023

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