8 Care Tips to Make Denim Last Longer

8 Care Tips to Make Denim Last Longer

In the realm of fashion, denim is one of the most iconic fabrics as we all know. It’s our favorite and we can’t be without our jeans and denim jackets. They’re versatile, comfortable, made to last, and can keep up with the demands of the world’s toughest jobs. Unfortunately, no matter how tough they are, denim can also get ripped and discolored if they’re not well taken care of. One of the biggest culprits behind this is incorrect washing.

Although denim is known to be durable, washing denim clothes the wrong way can cause their fibers to break down quickly. This results in premature wear and tear, as well as color fading. Over time, the fabric will become thinner and lose the qualities that make it a fashion classic. Fortunately, you can maintain the appearance of your denim items and make them last longer with the help of these tips:

Only Wash Them When Needed

Denim clothing doesn’t require frequent washing. In fact, washing your denim too often can make the fabric thinner and duller. To keep your jeans looking great and longer-lasting, only wash them when necessary. Instead of a strict schedule, use your judgment. If your denim is visibly soiled or has an unpleasant odor, it’s a sign that you can throw it in your washing machine for cleaning. However, if the stains and odors are minimal, simple spot-cleaning and air drying will do the trick.

Wash Them Separately

To maintain the color and quality of your denim, it’s essential to wash them separately from your other garments. This is especially helpful when your denim clothes are in their “raw form”, or denim that’s unwashed and unshrunk. It’s important to separate raw denim from other clothes when washing because the indigo dye used to create denim’s iconic color can bleed and potentially stain the other clothes in the same load. The only time it’s safe to wash your denim items with your other clothing is when you’re sure that the color no longer bleeds.

Use Cold Water When Washing

When you do decide it’s time to wash your denim, opt for cold instead of hot water. Washing your denim garments in hot water can cause them to shrink and fade. On the other hand, cold water is gentler on denim and is capable of preserving the color and integrity of the fabric, keeping your clothes looking like new. We did a post before on how to care for your designer denim, and using cold water is a vital step.

Use Mild or Denim Detergents Only

When washing your denim items, be selective about the detergent you use. It’s best to use mild or a specially formulated denim detergent, as they’re designed to clean your denim without causing excessive fading or damage. Avoid using harsh chemicals (e.g., fabric softeners and bleach) or heavy-duty detergents. These chemicals can strip the natural oils from the fabric and lead to premature wear.

Wash Them Inside Out

Preserve the outer appearance of your denim items by washing them inside out. This practice helps minimize abrasion on the outer surface of the fabric, reducing the chances of fading and damage. It’s especially important for jeans and jackets. The “distressed” look can be cool to look at, but actually distressed and ruined denim isn’t.

Wash Them on the Delicate or Gentle Cycle

When using your washing machine, select the delicate or gentle cycle when washing denim. The minimal agitation provides a gentler washing process, as opposed to high-speed, vigorous washing cycles that can be harsh on denim and cause unnecessary stress to the fabric.

Don’t Leave Them in the Dryer for a Long Time

After washing your denim, it’s important to handle the drying process with care. While it’s tempting to speed up the drying process by using high heat and leaving your denim in the dryer for an extended period, this can be detrimental to the fibers of your clothes. The heat can cause your denim clothing to shrink and fade more quickly, as well as damaging the stretch, so, to extend their lifespan, we recommend air drying them and not even using the dryer, however, if you do, remove your denim from the dryer as soon as they’re dry. Ideally taking them out even if they’re still slightly damp and just hang them to finish drying naturally. Be sure to only use the dryer on the cooler setting though. No high heat!

Iron Out the Wrinkles

Wrinkles can develop on denim over time, especially after washing. To keep your denim looking sharp, you can iron them—but do so with caution. Ironing your denim garments on high heat can ruin the fabric, so set your iron to low heat and iron the denim inside out. This prevents direct contact between the hot iron and the outer layer of the fabric, reducing the risk of damage or fading.

Following these denim care tips might seem a bit excessive to some. However, taking that extra mile to maintain the style and function of your denim jeans, shorts, and jackets ensures that they stay in good condition for a long time. When your denim clothes stay pristine, you can mix and match them with several outfits and make the most of your wardrobe for years to come.



  1. Russ
    November 22, 2023 / 7:28 am

    Hi Lorna

    Just to clarify, is 20c or 30c too warm to wash my jeans in? I’m currently washing my clothes in non-bio Smol detergent which comes in small capsules. Living in a very hard water area I add a Calgon tablet to each wash. As for conditioner, I stopped using that during lockdown as there was a shortage. And guess what? I haven’t noticed the difference! What detergent do you use?

    Thanks as always for your updates


    • November 23, 2023 / 11:47 pm

      Hi Russ, usually 30C is the standard cold wash, so I assume that it’s ok. It’s what I use when I wash my denim. I just use a non bio laundry pod, not sure what brand as it varies, and I don’t use any conditioner either. I hope that helps! Always make sure it’s gentle 🙂

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