Simple Denim Care Do’s and Don’ts

by Kristen Philipkoski

Caring for denim is one of those things everyone has an opinion about. That’s a good thing, it means that people are passionate about caring for their jeans! While caring for your jeans can seem a bit daunting when you hear stories about people who wash their jeans every six months, or dry clean them or freeze the bacteria out of them, I think it’s best to keep it simple. Personally, I haven’t reached that level of denim obsession yet. All it takes is following a few simple tips to help protect the wash and maintain the shape of your jeans. Proper care will give denim a longer life,  enabling you to get more out of your investment.


  • Read the care instructions on the inside tag of the jeans
  • Turn them inside out before washing
  • Wash in cold water on ‘delicates’ cycle or hand wash
  • Dry clean (yeah, some people do this, especially for dark jeans)
  • Dry flat or hang dry upside down
  • Wash with Woolite or another gentle detergent
  • If you have to dry them in the dryer, do it on the lowest heat setting


  • Wash in hot water
  • Dry them in the dryer
  • Wash them after every wear

How do you care for your jeans?

Image by Samantha Jade Royds


  • Carrie

    okay. I met the person who told me they washed their jeans every six months to “keep them original” – apparently the denim was a high grade premium?

    I thought he was kidding.


    Great tips here!

  • Tami

    It’s so hard to find jeans I love, so I hand wash them and hang dry each time. A pain for me, but worth it.

  • Jennine

    ❤ carrie.. oh yeah, people do wash their jeans every six months… it’s pretty crazy.
    ❤ tami–oh my goodness, wow, that’s dedication!

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  • Eboni Ife

    wow! hand washing jeans ins intense! lol… but I know what you mean. I’ve got 2 shelve packed tightly with stacks of jeans, and end up rotating the same 5 pairs of jeans over and over! once you find a pair you love, you have to CHERISH them! I wash my jeans inside out in cold water and hang dry, and YES I am one of those people who takes the dark washes to the cleaners…

  • WendyB

    LOL at washing every six months. I WISH I did it that often! Probably everyone around me wishes that too. What can I say, I’ve had some bad shrinkage experiences even with hand-washing and dry-cleaning.

  • Katiewla

    Turn your jeans inside out and use “Woolite Dark:”for your dark jeans and all of your dark clothes. Really makes a difference. Then no need to dry clean. I guess you could also try one of those at home dry clean kits…just thought of it; don’t know if it’d work or not.

  • katiewla

    What do you do about jeans that fit perfect but then sag on the second day? So disappointing. Any ideas?

  • Jennine

    ❤eboni…yeah, with the dark washes, the dye washes out so quickly, so yeah, i’ve taken a few jeans to the dry cleaners too…
    ❤wendy..haha i have a feeling you do wash your jeans more often than six months! but yeah, i wonder how the six month people deal with the stink, it can’t be right.
    ❤katiwla, i’ve used the dry cleaning kits, and they do work, but just not as well as taking them to the cleaners properly. i’ve also wondered about woolite dark, i thought it was just for black clothes? no?
    ❤katiewla, i’ve had the same problem, though with premium denim it happens less, a lot less, they’ll stretch a little, but they won’t sag.

  • fashion butter

    after six months of no washing, I imaging the jeans start walking on their own!

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  • maria

    My hubby never washes his jeans lol and I used to wash my jeans every month but now I haven’t washed any of my jeans in a year!

  • Kali

    So, apparently I’m a horrible jean owner. I wash my jeans the wrong way everytime! I dry them everytime and wash them once a week or so. Good thing i read this post because I apparently know nothing about basic jean care! Thank you I’m sure my jeans will last much longer!

  • Drew

    Don’t dry clean denim. Dry cleaning is expensive but also the process degrades fabric over time. My key tip is washing denim in the washer but inside a bag (I use pillow cases). I recommend you hand-treat major stains or dirt ahead of putting the denim in the bag. Never put denim in the dryer after washing, simply hang to dry. My pillow case method has proven extremely effective over the years and even preserves the color of dark denim. It also preserves the “dust” some denim has to get that faded effect. For example, Diesel dusts some of their denim with this yellowish dust and my jeans have retained this effect years later whereas if you wash them without a bag this yellow dust is gone after 1 or 2 washes (made that mistake once). If you’re serious about caring for your denim, wash in a pillow case, don’t bother dry cleaning or putting them in the freezer.

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  • Yasir

    Don’t wash your denim jeans if it is not dirty. Wash inside out in cold water, gentle cycle and using minimum detergent possible. I personally don’t use fabric softner for denim jeans. Line dry under shade. Don’t iron. If you really have to iron, then do it at the minimum heat settting.
    Regards, Yasir B.

  • Denim Jeans

    You have given some great point to care denim. Great post.

  • nickinoo

    whats a good solution, say for a pair of womens diesel black jeans. That have unfortunately not had a good washing experience, namely creased and with slight whitening along creases.

    any solutions guys. xxx

  • Cynthia Thomas


    This is the blog post I have been looking for all my life – especially because I am such a jean lover! I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I found a perfect fitting pair of jeans only to have them ruined by putting them in the dryer. Every time this happens I am a little more broken hearted, especially because my favorite thing to wear is cowboy boots with my denim.

    Next time I go to wash my jeans I’ll remember not to wash them in hot water, and I’m going to start wearing them more in-between washes so I am not putting them through the washer so many times. Thanks again for the great advice and I will definitely be back to see what you post next.


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