by Brandi Savitt – revised March 13, 2014
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 favorite skinnies, 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.| Print
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