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The Proper Way to Care for Denim Jeans

You wake up every morning and most likely reach for your favorite pair of denim jeans to start the day on the right foot. You know that favorite pair of jeans — the ones that always feel and look great no matter how many times you wear them. But as much as you love them, are you taking the best care of your denim jeans? Probably not.

There are plenty of tips, and even myths, on how to properly care for denim jeans. From never washing them to putting them in the freezer, it’s hard to know what to believe. We’re here to set the record straight. As American growers of upland cotton (the type of cotton used to make jeans), we know a few things about caring for your beloved denim. Here are our recommend ways to properly wash, dry, and maintain your jeans to maximize their lifespan and quality.

How to Wash Jeans

To wash or to not wash your jeans, that has been the big debate across countless blogs. The “never-wash” crowd claims that washing jeans will break down the fabric and deteriorate its quality. While that is partially true, not washing your jeans can also result in deterioration as dirt and your natural body oils build up in the fabric and cause the material to fall apart. And overall, consistent wear over time will cause denim jeans to fade.

But there is a happy medium between the two sides of the debate — wash your jeans, but not often.

This is our recommended process for washing your jeans so they always look and smell fresh and new:

  1. Always wash your jeans inside out. Make sure zippers are zipped and buttons are buttoned to avoid snags and tears during the cycle. Washing jeans inside out helps to maintain their indigo blue color.
  2. Wash your jeans with other, similar colored ones. Don’t wash them with towels or delicate clothing. Loading and washing your jeans separately helps to prevent friction on the denim fabric which can lead to tears and thinning.
  3. Wash your jeans in cold water on a delicate setting.
  4. Use a mild detergent and choose one that is designed to wash dark clothing to preserve the color and prevent any fading.
  5. Avoid washing your denim jeans frequently. After wearing them about 10 times, it’s time to give them a wash.
  6. If you spill something on your jeans before it is time to wash them, do a spot clean. Gently scrub the stained area with a wet cloth and a combination of cold water and a mild detergent. Hang them to dry after spot cleaning.
Always wash your jeans inside out. Make sure zippers are zipped and buttons are buttoned to avoid snags and tears during the cycle.

How to Dry Jeans

It’s true that heat is the enemy of jeans. You should avoid the dryer to maintain their quality and lifespan. Instead of tumbling them around in high heat, hang them to air dry or lay them flat after a delicate wash. Since cotton is prone to shrinkage, this method will also prevent your favorite pair from becoming two sizes too small.

However, sometimes you may not have the time, space, or weather conditions to air dry your jeans. In this case, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place your wet jeans inside out in the dryer with other pairs of jeans you may be washing. Don’t dry them with abrasive clothing or bedding, such as sweatshirts, towels, or sheets.    
  2. Dry the jeans at the lowest heat setting. The jeans may shrink if you set a high temperature or if they are left in the dryer for too long.
  3. Take the jeans out of the dryer halfway through the cycle. The jeans should be slightly damp.
  4. Tug and smooth the jeans into shape and let them finish drying on a pants hanger or laying flat.
Dry the jeans at the lowest heat setting and take them out halfway through the cycle.

How to Maintain Jeans

Denim jeans are made from 100% upland cotton. The cotton thread is then used to make a particular weave. Once the fabric is ready, indigo dye is used to give the jeans its iconic blue color. When you purchase a new pair of jeans, there may be excess color in the fabric. To prevent staining, rinse the jeans in cold water after purchasing them.

Here are a few more ways you can take proper care of your jeans so they look brand new despite habitual use.

  1. Follow any additional care instructions on the label.
  2. When hang drying your jeans, avoid placing them in direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  3. When putting on your jeans, avoid tugging and pulling on the belt loops to get them on. This can cause tearing and thinning.

Just like upland cotton, it doesn’t get more American than denim. That’s why our cotton is only grown right here in the United States by family farmers. Now you can wear those favorite pair of jeans knowing that they have strong, American roots. Learn more about our 100% verified cotton here


Whether you’re a manufacturer looking to enhance your cotton products or a customer just wanting to know a bit more, we’d love to hear from you.

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