Clean Your Jeans-- The RIGHT Way

By Kerri Winick, GalTime Beauty & Style Expert

I've got the blues. Actually, I've got a whole shelf full of blues. I'm talking about denim. Wide leg styles, skinny jeans, bootcut pairs, even jeggings. Nothing satisfies a fashion craving like some brand new, "fit-like-a-glove" jeans.

When they start to warp, stretch or fade? Now, that's a serious style problem! Keeping your jeans in tip-top shape doesn't take much, but it does take more than simply throwing them in the washing machine. Here are some tips for babying your blues!

Before the laundry room:

You can slow fading…by waiting! Stylesight Denim Editor Amy Leverton says wait as long as you can before that first trip to the laundry room. Think 2 to 6 months, if possible.

Then, continue to practice the "art of not washing." Personally, I've been known to wear a pair for weeks straight, or even longer, before throwing them in the machine. Yes, it may sound "ick," but Leverton says it will keep your jeans looking fresh. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like caked on stains and strange smells!

PS: If you need to spot treat in between washings, use a damp sponge and a mild detergent. Be sure to test your stain lifter in a hidden area, like under a back pocket. And never underestimate the power of Febreze! (Denim devotees swear by it!)

Related: Hide the Muffin Top Plus 9 Other Secret Hollywood Fashion Fixes

In the laundry room:

You've waited, and waited…and waited some more. Now, it's time to wash your jeans. First, turn them inside out. Jaime Palmucci, AKA the Denim Debutante, says this little step will make a big difference when it comes to color. Make sure the buttons are buttoned and the zippers are zipped. If you're going the machine route, use cold water to prevent your blues from bleeding and warping. If you want to hand wash, Leverton recommends bathing your denim in luke warm water. Try a mild detergent, like Woolite.

After the laundry room:

Drip that denim dry! It's the best way to prevent "shrinkage." Palmucci recommends laying your jeans on a flat surface to dry naturally. I'm a big fan of the drying rack. You can find one at any home or department store. If you hang your jeans (Maybe you even hang them by the belt loops…gasp!), you risk warping the waist band.

To prevent the dreaded "crispy denim" that comes with drying naturally, try a little fabric softener in your next wash.

Finally, if you absolutely must throw your jeans in the dryer, Palmucci recommends using a low setting for 10 to 15 minutes only.

Related: Off the Shoulder Fashion for Fall and Winter

At the tailor:

Think before you hem! Denim is notorious for shrinking! If you let your jeans "air dry", this shouldn't be a problem, However, if you're a big fan of throwing your jeans in the dryer (despite our warnings…hint, hint), the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals recommends going through the wash and dry cycle two, preferably three, times before heading to the tailor.

What is your favorite go-to tip for saving your I'll-never-throw-these-out jeans? Let us know!

More from