by Brandi Savitt - February 15, 2012
6 Tips to Preserve Your Favorite Denim
Six months ago, I invested in a pricey pair of dark denim jeans that I absolutely love. I thought I was doing everything right when it came to caring for them. I turned them inside out in the wash to help preserve the color. I washed them in cold, and I usually - but not always - hung them up to dry. And while there's still some life left in them, sadly my favorite pair of jeans has seen better days…
You want to know the worst part? I only bought one pair, and now I can't seem to find the same style in my size…anywhere! So, in effort to stretch out the life of my bootcut bad boys, I thought it was time to get educated on the best way to care for denim!
Stop Washing Your Jeans
It doesn't matter who you ask, all experts say that washing your jeans wears them out way more than wearing them. In 2010, Carl Chiara, Design Director of Premium Brands at Levi's, told The Wall Street Journal that throwing your jeans in the washing machine agitates the cotton in the fabric causing it to 'bloom' and then tighten up and shorten the fibers. In fact, Chiara is so serious about preserving his personal denim wardrobe, he only officially washes (or should I say soaks) each pair of jeans in the bathtub every six months. He fills the tub up with cold water and Dr. Bronner's soap, and then soaks each pair lying flat for 20 minutes. Chiara never scrubs the fabric, and after rinsing, he hangs his jeans up by the belt hooks, and let's them air dry.
-This sixth month rule may sound disgusting and a little extreme for us laundry obsessed ladies. Of course, these are not the care instructions listed on the Levi's label, but do take note… If you want to make your jeans last longer, washing them less is the answer!
Keep in mind, Chiara does not suggest that you walk around wearing filthy jeans either! When you take your jeans off at night do a little spot cleaning to remove any stains or dirt. Chiara likes to use a damp cloth with a cleaning agent like Windex to blot out the dirt, but a drop of Woolite or Dr. Bronner's will do the trick too. Avoid using any chemicals if cleaning up any sensitive areas (if you know what I mean)…
After cleaning any stains, hang your jeans on by the belt hooks (to help keep the shape) in the bathroom while you take a shower. The steam will help to freshen and restore the shape to the fabric while steaming out creases and wrinkles.
Keeping the Color True Blue
As the directions on dark jeans indicates, always turn your denim inside out while washing to help preserve the color. Whether you choose to soak your jeans in the tub, or wash them in the laundry machine, Chiara suggests adding 1/8 cup of vinegar to any dark jean wash. He says that the vinegar helps to set the indigo color into the the fabric fibers, protecting the fabric from fading.
The Dryer Rules
The heat and vigor of the dryer is a no-no when it comes to preserving denim. However, we all know that most women's jeans these days are not made from 100% cotton, and they have little elastic stretch. If you feel you need to tighten up the stretch an extra notch, throw your jeans in on low for half the cycle and let them air dry the rest of the way. While the dryer will restore that glove-like fit, remember, it will also wear out the fabric out faster - so be mindful. Also, avoid using fabric softener - it can soften the fabric too much causing it to wear out faster!
Avoid the Inner Thigh Rub
As women know, it's hard to avoid the inner thigh rub that contributes to the wearing out of our jeans. While there may not be the928174BAB326399043BFB6BFAC8274 perfect solution to this problem, there are a few options:
- Turn your jeans inside out and sew some silk or soft fabric patches on the inner thighs as a preventative measure. We can't vouch for the comfort, but it will help reduce the friction!
- Some people swear by spraying a little Scotch Guard on the inner thigh. Scotch Guard will help protect the fabric a little, but it may also make it a little stiff…
- Try wearing boy shorts for underwear. No one wants to line their jeans entirely with expensive silk, but wearing boy short as undies - or even boxers - may just do the trick!
Create a Jean Rotation
So… If washing your jeans less is the key to preservation, than investing in your denim wardrobe and rotating the jeans you wear on a regular basis is the key. If you find a jean (like I did), try and buy at least two pairs. While you may not be able to afford to stock up during the same shopping trip, budget and save so you have enough of the essentials to make the jeans you adore last for years to come. Believe me, investing in a couple of pairs of high quality jeans and caring for them properly will save you BIG in the long run!
What are your jeans preserving secrets? Do share!
Read more at Fabandfru.com