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For most of us, denim is a wardrobe staple. That’s not a matter of debate. But when it comes to washing our jeans, the advice can be a little confusing. Some people swear that you should never wash your blue jeans, which is certainly the easiest tip to follow. But if you like your clothes to be, um, clean, how should you clean them, and how often?
In short, less is more.
“The less you wash your jeans, the better,” AMO founder and designer Kelly Urban told Marie Claire. “This is because your jeans will naturally develop a unique wear pattern, the more you wear your jeans the more they will become ‘yours’ with unique whisker patterns and creases that you’ve made on your own.”
Another argument for washing less, especially when it comes to your favorite pair of jeans? Longevity.
Here’s more advice from the professionals for keeping your denim clean and looking great.
Wait Longer Between Washes
Denim is thicker than most other materials, which means you can get away with more time between washes, Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, co-founders of The Laundress, told Real Simple. They suggest waiting about 10 or so wears between washes (or sooner if your jeans start to smell bad). If you want to freshen your denim between washes, use a fabric freshener, like The Laundress Fabric Fresh ($10 from Amazon).
Spot Clean To Remove Stains
To keep your jeans fresh between washes, get rid of stains by spot cleaning with a warm, wet cloth. “If you can detect the whiff of an unwanted odor, hang them outside to air,” fashion stylist and buyer Rinske Fris told Real Simple.
Don’t Bother With The Freezer Thing
You might have heard that keeping your jeans in the freezer helps keep them clean, but unfortunately there’s no science to back this up. “Science tells us that at-home freezers are not cold enough to kill the gross stuff: germs, bacteria, or odors. You can toss them in the freezer for a little while to get rid of some funkiness, sure, but scientifically you’re not really doing anything to clean them,” Dena Bickerstaffe, head of design at J Brand, told Marie Claire.
Turn Them Outside To Wash Them
When you do wash your jeans in the washer, Fris recommends turning them inside out to help maintain shape, quality and color. “This way, you will remove huddled bacteria but bring the least harm to your jeans as possible,” she told Real Simple.
Use The Delicate Washing Cycle – And Ditch The Dryer
If you’re washing your jeans in your machine, use the gentle or delicate cycle, advises Zahra Ahmed, CEO of premium denim brand DL1961. “I recommend not drying your jeans because it’s eco-friendly and will make your jeans last longer,” she told Marie Claire.