Denim was first introduced to the US by Levi Strauss during the California Goldrush in the 1850’s and quickly set off as the workwear of choice for miners, farmers and cowboys. Over the past 120 years, it has become a staple in our daily wardrobe. Whether for work or fashion, it’s safe to say that denim is one of our favorite things to wear. Sometimes we can be pretty tough on our jeans and they start to wear out quicker than we’d like. While not all good things last forever, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks on how to better care for your denim to give them a longer life.
You Don’t Have to Wash Every Time You Wear
Depending on what purpose you wear your jeans for, did you know you don’t have to wash your denim every time you wear them? Some people have even opted for not washing their jeans at all and putting them in the freezer to reduce odors. While that would be near impossible to do if you are working on a farm or in construction, it’s recommended that you wash your denim every 2-5 wears to help with longevity. Washing them every time you wear them may cause the color to fade.
Read Your Label
Make sure to read your label to take the best care of your jeans. Blingy pockets? Dark wash? We recommend following those instructions to keep the wash dark or bling attached. If you have a darker rinse, you may want to wash your jeans before you wear them. With darker rinses, you’ll find it more likely for the color to bleed onto other fabrics you are wearing.
Spot Treat Your Stains
In-between washes but have a couple stains? Instead of just throwing them in the regular wash, spot treat, dab with cold water and dry.
Wash in Cold Water, Gentle Cycle
For best results, wash your jeans in cold water on a gentle cycle. While denim is a sturdy workhorse of a fabric and can take quite a beating, washing them in a heavy cycle will wear out the fibers quicker. Opt for cold water, lighter cycle and color-safe detergent.
Turn Your Pants Inside Out
Turn your jeans inside out before you wash to preserve the color. Doing this will reduce the amount of rubbing up against other items in the wash that will in turn wear out your jeans quicker. Anytime I have washed a pair of pants inside out versus outside in, I can always see the difference.
Separate Your Colors
It may be tempting to wash all your colors together, but for best results – wash darks with darks and lights with lights to reduce colors bleeding onto your lighter washes. To keep your black denim looking true black, search for a detergent specific for dark colors to reduce color fade out.
To reduce shrinkage (unless that is what you want), air dry or hang out your pants. If you hang dry, hang dry by the legs instead of the waistband which will keep the waistband from stretching out.
Done with Your Denim? Donate or Recycle
Has your denim seen better days? Instead of just tossing them in the trash, save them for Wilco’s Blue Jeans Go Green event. Your old, worn-out denim is collected is transformed into natural cotton fiber insulation for homes where a portion of the insulation is used to help with building efforts around the country.