WASHING denim is a total minefield.
Some people say jeans shouldn’t be washed too often while others believe it’s fine to wash them whenever you need to.
It’s a lot easier with other items of clothing – such as underwear and gym clothes – as it’s obvious that they need to be washed after use.
But while most of us love a good pair of jeans, we all seem to struggle with how often we should – or shouldn’t wash them.
So to answer the mind-boggling question, we’ve spoken to some experts to find out how often you should wash your jeans. Plus, we’ve got the top hacks and tips for keeping them fresh.
Laundry expert Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap said you should wash your jeans every three wears.
He said: “Despite the popular myth circulating the internet that claims you can go up to six weeks without washing your jeans, you should wash them after three wears (give or take a few days depending on whether they’re stained or not).
“When you wear jeans for longer (or any type of clothing), sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells start to build up in your clothes, and they begin to smell.
“Washing your jeans every three wears will keep them fresh and will stop your jeans from losing their shape.”
Elsewhere GAP said frequency of washing jeans is down to the individual, it’s all about how they like their clothes to fit and feel, yet the fewer washes you put your jeans through, the better!
Gap explained that jeans will retain their colour for longer, continue to hold their shape well, and ultimately it will be kinder on the environment.
One wash every nine or ten wears is generally recommended.
At Gap, 91% of the denim is part of the water-saving Washwell™ programme, meaning it’s made with 20% less water, which helps local waterways and minimizes the impact on the planet.
Meanwhile, cleaning expert Joyce French from HomeHow revealed some people make the mistake of washing their jeans too much.
She said: “You should wash your jeans sparingly, people make the mistake of washing their jeans too frequently.
“This ruins the stretch in the denim, when you wash your denim, you’re putting your jeans through a beating and each cycle breaks down the fabric.
“The longer you can leave it between washes when it comes to jeans, the better, because denim is a thicker material than your average t-shirt, there can be more wears between washes.
“We would say you can get away with 10 or so wears before a wash or whenever your jeans start to give off an odour.
“Our tips would be to not wash your jeans in hot water and never put them in the dryer. While you may think this will tighten them, it actually destroys the fabrication.
“This is why jeans lose their stretch and get saggy.”
Maintain the colour of your jeans with fabric dye
Laundry expert Deyan advised that whenever you wash your jeans, you should turn them inside out to reduce colour fade.
He added that if you’ve had your jeans for a long time and they look significantly worn, don’t be tempted to buy a new pair. Instead, invest in some clothing dye!
He explained you can pick this up from most homeware shops in the UK and it will save you a fortune on having to buy new jeans. This works particularly well on dark indigo or black jeans.
Wash with cold water and never use washing powder
Deyen also suggested that you should wash your jeans in cold water (20 degrees or below).
He explained: “This will keep them soft (preventing that scratchy feeling you have with some freshly washed jeans) and will also prevent them from shrinking.
“Make sure you use liquid detergent or pods when washing jeans (and only use the recommended amount!), as powdered detergent can dry out your jeans and leave them feeling scratchy.”
Never tumble dry your jeans
The CEO of Laundryheap also added that one of the biggest ‘jean hacks’ – is that you should avoid the tumble dryer – unless your jeans are too big.
He explained that doing so can over-shrink your denim or cause it to fade. While air drying your jeans will help them maintain their shape and colour for longer.
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Washing up liquid if you spill food on jeans
Deyen also shared his tips on what to do if you spill food or drink down your jeans. And all you need to spot treat stains – without washing the jeans – is to use a bit of washing up liquid.
He said: “This works particularly well if you have a greasy/oily stain on your jeans. You’ll need to apply the washing up liquid directly to the stain, and with a warm cloth, gently rub it in.
“Don’t be too abrasive as you might damage the fabric. Let the washing up liquid do the work! Leave the washing up liquid to settle in for 10 minutes and then rinse under a tap.
“If you’re in a hurry use a blowdryer to dry the stain (again don’t put it too close as you don’t want to damage the fabric).”
Getting BBQ and smells out of your jeans
Laundry expert Deyen also shared his specialist advice on what to do if your jeans are a bit smelly – and you don’t have time to wash them!
He said you can simply make your own deodorising spray by mixing one part water and one part vinegar in a spritz bottle. Shake to mix and then spray over your jeans.
If you have time, Deyen suggested that you let your jeans air dry in the sun, until they’re completely dry.
White vinegar works very well for deodorising any fabric by eliminating odours rather than just covering them up.
Meanwhile, cleaning expert Joyce from HomeHow said you can prevent staining from spills and odours, before washing, by giving your jeans a nice, long, odour-eliminating soak.
She said: “Add 1 cup vinegar to the sink or wash basin, then fill with warm water. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for a fresh scent.
“Soak the garment for 30-60 minutes, then wash as directed.
“Another way to remove smoke smell from clothes is by washing them with a healthy dollop of baking soda.
“Baking soda is a natural laundry booster that will help cut through smoke stains and odours. You can also leave them to hang outside in the fresh air for 24 hours.”
Put your jeans in the freezer
Another tip for keeping our jeans fresh is to put them in the freezer, says GAP.
They explained that you can put jeans in the freezer to clean them and restore freshness. Alternatively, hang them outside on a dry day, to let nature remove any odours.
Meanwhile Joyce from HomeHow agreed and said you can stick your jeans in the freezer for a few hours to temporarily eliminate odors.
She said: “The general idea is that freezing jeans prevents bacteria and other germs from growing.
“When you are finished wearing your jeans, toss them in the freezer until you are ready to wear them again.
“You can place them inside a sealed plastic bag first so that they aren’t touching your frozen foods.”
Soaking your jeans in cold water and vinegar
Elsewhere Joyce revealed another hack to keep your jeans fresh without washing them is to try soaking your jeans in cold water and vinegar instead of washing them.
Add one cup of distilled white vinegar to a cold water bath and soak your jeans for about an hour. Hang or lay flat to dry, and don’t worry about smelling like vinegar—the odour goes away after your pants dry.
She explained this technique locks in the dye’s colour, keeping your jeans colour locked in.
Hang your jeans in the bathroom whilst you take a shower
Another way to keep your jeans fresh without washing them, is to hang them in the bathroom while you take a shower, revealed Joyce.
She explained: “A quick way to freshen them up is to hang them in your bathroom while you shower.
“Steam from your shower will soon have your dark blues smelling new, and a small amount of water vapor won’t make the fabric swell.”
Hang your jeans outside
Cleaning expert Joyce also revealed that hanging your jeans outside will give them a freshen up.
She explained that your dryer could pose just as much of a threat to your denim as the washer as high temperatures will make your jeans shrink, and all the tumbling leads to unnecessary wear and tear.
She said: “If it’s a nice day outside, hang your jeans outdoors. Having your jeans air out gives them a rejuvenated scent—just make sure they’re out of direct sunlight.
“The sun can bleach your jeans faster than you’d think!”
For more cleaning hacks, you’ve been vacuuming all wrong, and leaving your home dirty – here’s how to get it spotless.
And a cleaning fanatic turns laundry capsule into spray to freshen up her sofa and curtains and people reckon she’s a genius.
Plus I’m Britain’s cleanest man, I spend nine hours mopping my kitchen and use a steamer to get rid of dust every day.