Finally, you found a perfect pair of jeans. They fit great and feel fantastic. You want them to last forever, but that's not going to happen. In fact, just the opposite is what I'm hearing from my readers: These days, jeans seem to rip and fall apart long before their time. This problem sent me in search of a solution.
What I learned is fascinating. The problem is our laundry habits. We're pretty much washing our jeans to death!
Truth be told, your dream of your favorite pair of denim jeans lasting forever is not that far from reality. They really should, and they can if you learn these seven simple secrets.
Wash rarely. And when I say rarely, I mean once every few months, not every wear or even every week. The trick is to immediately spot treat any spills or stains and then launder the jeans much less frequently. Levi's CEO Chip Bergh says that a good pair of jeans needs to be washed in the washing machine infrequently, once every six months. (While I'm not quite ready to follow that extreme practice myself, I have no doubt that I've been guilty of washing jeans to death.)
Cold water only. When jeans need to be washed in the washing machine, use cold water and just a small amount of detergent, and run it on a delicate or gentle cycle. And make sure they're turned inside out. Even warm water will cause denim to shrink and fade, albeit a little at a time. There goes that great fit and perfect length. Cold water with detergent will clean jeans sufficiently.
Dark color. When purchasing denim, keep this is mind: Darker colors are going to last longer. That's because stonewashed or faded denim has been treated with chemicals and harsh conditions to get that look. The lighter and more distressed the color, the more worn out the denim. Darker-colored denim promises a longer life.
Set the color. When washing for the first time, add 2 tablespoons of ordinary table salt to help set the indigo dye. This will keep your dark denim dark.
No bleach. You may love your Clorox Bleach Pen, but keep that thing and all bleach-like products like hydrogen peroxide away from the jeans. Not only will it mess with the color but it could also deteriorate the yarn in denim.
Super rinse. Add ½ to 1 cup white vinegar (depending on the size of the load) to the last rinse. This will not affect the color but will coax out every last bit of detergent.
Air-dry. Air-drying is ideal if you want to expand the life expectancy of your jeans. Hang them from the ankles (to preserve length) indoors and out of the sunlight to preserve the color. Your jeans might be a bit stiff afterward, so do this: Stick them in the dryer on the lowest heat setting for a couple of minutes. This will break them in so they soften up as soon as you wear them.