How To Care For Jeans

Here are important tips for the best care of your denim jeans. Jeans will last longer and fit better if you treat them just a little differently than your other clothing.

Tag Check

How to Care for JeansCheck the cleaning instructions and type of your jeans which is located on a tag inside your jeans. "Pre-washed" or "pre-distressed" indicates that the jeans have undergone manufacturing processes to create fading and to minimize shrinking. However, these jeans can still fade and shrink if you wash in hot water and dry in hot temperature. To minimize fading and shrinking always wash in cold water and air dry. Even safer is to dry clean.

"Raw" or "dry" indicates that the jeans have not been washed, and the blue color is not set.

"Single wash" means that the jeans have been soaked once in cold water to soften the fabric and set the blue dye.

"Sanforized" means that your jeans have been pre-shrunk. Most jean fabric is processed by this patented technique. It's been around for 70 years. No chemicals are involved. Shrinkage can still occur if you use hot water to wash or tumble dry with hot air.

"Unsanforized" or "shrink to fit" indicates that the jeans will definitely shrink as much as 2" on the waist. The longer you soak jeans and the hotter the water, the more they shrink. Dry them in a machine will increase shrinkage.

Washing & Drying

The more you wash and wear your jeans, the more they fade and the shorter their life span. Some believe that never washing jeans will make them last longer, but this is a myth because the acids and oils in your own skin wears on the cotton fabric. It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation! So the best care is the gentlest washing such as turning them inside out and soaking them in your tub and gently agitating them, and then air drying, and as seldom as possible! Again dry cleaning is the safest.

You can add some table salt to the cold water to further minimize fading and shrinking. Use I cup per bath tub or cup per washing machine load.

Some believe that putting jeans in a freezer bag and then placing them in a freezer overnight will clean them. Unfortunately this is also a myth. Freezing kills odor-causing bacteria, but does remove the oils and acids from our skin or from dirt.

Soap & Detergent

Some jean fanatics use no soap or detergent. They just soak their jeans and freeze them to remove odor. If you want soap, a mild type will minimize fading and deterioration. The mildest soaps are Woolite and Dr. Bronner's. The mildest detergent is Orvus Paste which is used to wash quilts and horses! Turn the jeans inside out and soak them in cold water with the soap or detergent already dissolved for about 45 minutes. Once in a while gently agitate the jeans with your hands. To dry just hang them outside preferably flat.

To machine wash, the best way is to turn your jeans inside out. Set your washer on the most delicate cycle using cold water for both your wash and rinse cycles. Also use the largest amount of water and don't wash the jeans with any other clothing, except other jeans of the same color, but no more than 5 pairs per load. Fill the washer with cold water and dissolve your mild soap in the water and then add the jeans. If you want to use fabric softener never pour it straight into the washer water. Rather, use the fabric softener dispenser. When the washing is complete, hand your jeans inside or outside to dry.

The best way to dry jeans is never in a machine! If you must use a dryer be sure to use the lowest heat setting or no heat at all.

Caution

Hot water and hot machine drying cause fading and shrinkage even if your jeans have been pre-shrunk. Never use bleach unless you want to "acid wash" you jeans - see my instructions for acid washing. Never mix jeans with any other color clothing in your washer. Wash light blue and dark blue jeans separately. The safest way to stretch your jeans is to wear them while they are damp! And believe it or not there are health concerns for both men and women involving tight jeans. Studies show that women who are susceptible to yeast and bladder infections should minimize the wearing of tight jeans. Studies also show that men who constantly wearing tight pants have a decreased sperm count!

Jan Gilbert writes about the best jean care, the fascinating history of denim, and the best deals for Levi 505 jeans.

 

 

 

 

by Jan Gilbert; Thursday, December 8, 2011 @ 07:46 AM [1842]

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