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The Truth About Washing Denim - How to Care for and Wash Denim

The Truth about Denim Care

Denim is synonymous with style and comfort. This sturdy, versatile fabric is a staple in most of our wardrobes, yet the question of how to care for denim has given rise to some interesting myths. From removing stubborn odors to treating deep stains to washing denim dos and don’ts, there is no shortage of advice out there, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.Our cleaning experts weigh in to set five of the biggest misconceptions about denim care straight.


Myth 1. Never Pretreat Your Denim

From permanent marker to tomato sauce, there are some tough stains that need a little extra attention before they hit your machine’s wash cycle. Pretreating denim with Stain Solution or the Wash & Stain Bar effectively removes unsightly spots, splatters, and smudges from your favorite jean jacket to your prized dark wash denim skirt, and everything in between.  

Have raw denim? Presoak it in a bath of cool water and Scented Vinegar to avoid dye transfer and bleeding. Most importantly, remember to always wash denim separately and turn it inside out prior to laundering, in order to extend its lifespan. 

While Stain Solution gets messes out of most denim, learn how your waxed denim jackets, shorts, and skirts require slightly different TLC to keep looking their best.


Myth 2. Wash Your Denim in the Ocean

Some dyed-in-the-wool raw denim aficionados swear that sea washing jeans is the best way to clean them. However, washing denim in the ocean is analogous to brushing your teeth with sandpaper. Sand and seawater are corrosive agents that can cause your denim to fade and “wear and tear” much faster. Washing your jeans in saltwater can give them a softer, subtle fade, but this denim washing process can also leave behind a musty, hard to get rid of smell. 

Instead, wash your light and dark denim jeans inside out, using your machine’s cold-water setting and The Laundress Denim Wash.  

Have white denim? To keep it looking clean and vibrant, add bleach alternative like the All-Purpose Bleach Alternative and wash in hot water. It’s color-safe and can be used with all fabrics except silk, woolens, and leather.


Myth 3. Launder Denim After Every Wear

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to wash denim after every wear. Reduce the size of your laundry pile and stop contributing to the demise of your cherished pair of jeans by washing them less often. 

Before you go months without washing your denim, you should know that there's a lot of dirt, skin, and odors that can build up in the fabric. Therefore, while you don’t have to wash your favorite jean shorts or denim skirt after every wear, you should know that they do benefit from your machine’s wash cycle from time to time.  

There’s a wrong way and a right way to wash denim. Turn your denim inside out, put it in a Mesh Washing Bag and add the Denim Wash to your machine. When the wash cycle is done, hang your denim out to air dry or place it on a towel. If you have raw denim, wash it separately to prevent dye bleeding and to protect the original color of your clothes.


Myth 4. Clean Your Denim in the Freezer

Putting your jeans in the freezer won’t make them any less dirty. Most germs that live on your skin can survive freezing temperatures. Steaming denim will remove bacteria, and spraying a scent with antibacterial properties like Fabric Fresh Classic will add the ultimate clean laundry smell to your denim. 

Plagued by persistent odors? Presoak your denim for 30 minutes in cool water with ¼ cup of Scented Vinegar.


Myth 5. Wait Six Months to Wash Denim

You’ve probably heard the myth: wait six months before washing your jeans to break them in and give them a personalized, enviable fade. While this holds true for raw denim, regular denim pieces are often pretreated and prewashed, so they already have that distressed quality everyone wants to own. 

If you’re on a mission to rarely wash your jeans, we recommend storing them with drawer liners like the Classic Drawer Liners. You can also reduce odors by occasionally airing your denim outside and spraying items with Fabric Fresh Classic

Want more tips on how to extend the life of your denim? Check out our denim laundering guide.

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Denim Wash 16 fl oz
$19.00

Preserves Color & Softens

Fabric Fresh Classic 8 fl oz
$16.00

Freshens & Deodorizes

Wash & Stain Bar
$6.00

Spot-treat Stains

Stain Brush
$10.00

Stain Removal Tool

Stain Solution 16 fl oz
$18.00

Removes Old & New Stains

Mesh Washing Bag Bundle
$15.00

Wash & Protect your Items in the Wash

Scented Vinegar 16 fl oz
$12.00

Clean & Deodorize

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