How To Wash Coated Leatherette Wax Jeans


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How To Wash Coated Leatherette Waxed Jeans

I’ve received lots of questions in the past about how to wash your coated jeans, you know the ones which are waxed with a leatherette appearance? These jeans are gorgeous and they are a great way to get the leather look while being animal friendly and not blowing your budget (my favourite pairs above), however, they can be quite tricky to clean. As a true denim addict and enthusiast myself, I rarely wash my jeans at all as I don’t feel like they get dirty. I rotate my numerous pairs all the time, but if I have a favourite pair of jeans that I’m wearing constantly and I feel like they are dirty, only then will I wash them inside out on cold, but as many jean enthusiasts would agree, washing your denim usually ruins it and causes the detailed wash and colour to fade out, the fit to end up slacking and more, so we generally, as a rule, don’t do it.

Understanding that this is not practical for plenty of you out there who love to wash your jeans and wear them freshly laundered, when it comes to coated denim, it’s more tricky than throwing them in the washing machine. If you do this, the coating will come off and you will be left with a pretty much plain pair of jeans or a pair that’s patchy with wax. I had someone mention to me that they took their jeans to the dry cleaners as the care label states, but when they got them back, the jeans were minus the coating as well. So, I’ve put together a list of tips which can help you when washing your coated and waxed denim. Just keep in mind that heat is the number one enemy to coated jeans, you don’t want to melt the wax off.

Freeze Your Coated Jeans

You may think this is a crazy idea. Freeze your jeans? But it works. The cold temperatures keep bacteria at bay and it eliminates odours too, so it’s a great option to keeping them clean by killing off the germs. I read online that someone put their jeans in the freezer for a week and they didn’t use a zip lock bag, in the end they came out smelling like freezer and were disgusting, so you definitely don’t want to go to those extremes.

First you start by spot cleaning stains with a little cold water to remove them if they are dirty, and then let them dry completely. You don’t want to put them in the freezer wet as the water will freeze into ice on your jeans. To avoid wrinkles and creases, fold your jeans lengthwise twice and then smooth them out, then place them into a zip lock bag and close tightly, without any air in the bag. Put them like this into the freezer for 24 hours and once you take them out, they should be good to wear again! This is a simple and easy way to remove bacteria and the zip lock bag will keep any odours from the freezer from penetrating your denim.

Hand Wash In Cold Water

Hand washing delicately in cold water is another good option for your jeans, just make sure that you turn them inside out so that you protect the coating from rubbing off due to friction of movement. Use a very gentle washing powder for this and I wouldn’t use a huge amount either, just focus your attention on the parts that can get dirty the most like the seat area and crotch. Do be careful with how vigorously you wash them though, you have to be gentle or the coating can come off in parts, but this can also give them a worn in feel which is great. Just make sure the water isn’t hot so it doesn’t melt the wax.

Dry Cleaning Your Jeans

The labels usually do state that you should dry clean your coated jeans, however you need to make sure that you do this right. You need to go to a dry cleaners that specialises in difficult fabrics and knows what they are doing. You also need to make sure that they use environmentally friendly dry cleaning techniques, which uses low heat and not a high heat. If the dry cleaner uses a high heat then the wax will melt off your jeans and you will come back with a pair of plain jeans, which isn’t what anyone wants. So please do make sure that you do your research thoroughly in choosing your dry cleaner and you make sure they understand fully that they are not allowed to use a high heat on your jeans. It’s extremely important.

Spot Clean As You Go

If you are more of a denim enthusiast and you don’t like to wash your jeans, like me, then I recommend spot cleaning them as you go. If you get a stain on them or some dirt, just gently wipe it off with some cool water and you are good to go. If you are concerned about bacteria build up though and you don’t want to use the freezer just yet, the only place that generally gets dirty on your jeans is the seat and crotch area, so you can turn your jeans inside out and you can clean that area with some baby wipes gently until you feel like it’s clean enough. This is what I have done in the past with raw denim, so it does work quite well.

– So these are some of my tips on how to wash your coated and waxed jeans. Just remember the number one rule is to not use heat on them, I can’t stress this enough as I’m sure you understand it’s the same as a candle. Candles melt when they are hot, the same thing happens to your jeans as the coating is usually wax. Don’t melt it, keep it cool. Secondly, don’t be abrasive and rub the coating too hard, like a wax crayon drawing that you used to draw as a kid, if you rub those or scratch them, the wax can chip off, the same thing happens to the coating on jeans, so do treat them with care! Good luck with your washing!



  1. Davis
    May 22, 2015 / 1:31 am

    Great post! Love the freezing idea!!! Have a great night!

    • Lorna
      May 22, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      Glad you liked it!

    • Noah
      March 27, 2020 / 8:38 pm

      Recently I discovered waxed/coated denim! WoW! How sleek and polished looking. Problem is it wrinkles easily, and these jeans you’re not supposed to tumble dry or iron I believe! I thought PERHAPS you would know of the solution? Happy Friday and thanks again for the awesome blog! I have a NEW podcast, we could even collaborate on the answer! Cheer! ~Noah

  2. Mary
    February 4, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    Before I had the chance to turn my coated jeans inside out or to hand wash them, somebody else in the house carelessly flung them in the washer and then most likely in the dryer without turning them inside out, as I assumed this person would understand to do. Now my leatherette pants simply look like black, sparkly denim jeans. I was wondering if there is any way to restore them to their original shine? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    • Lorna
      February 15, 2017 / 12:35 am

      Hi, I’m sorry someone did that to your jeans! That’s terrible! Unfortunately there is no way to get the waxed coating back unless you manage to find some wax you can reapply to the jeans yourself. You’d need to redo the coating is possible.

  3. Louie
    February 23, 2017 / 10:38 am

    Good article! Any advice on how to restore the gloss on coated jeans or enhance them to get more shine?

  4. Rune
    December 22, 2017 / 1:23 am

    Hey. Thank you for the great information 🙂

    • Lorna
      December 22, 2017 / 11:20 pm

      No problem 🙂

  5. Poly
    March 20, 2019 / 9:33 pm

    I have recently bought a pair of coated jeans but I’ve threw away all the tags and stuff and noticed some slight scratches on the knees, is there a way to get rid of them? I was thinking of washing them inside out and maybe that would soften the fabric in order to softer the scratches? Probably sounds stupid but it’s the only thing I could think of??

    • Lorna
      March 21, 2019 / 12:47 am

      Hi! What brand are they? Washing coated jeans can often ruin them, so be careful with that! I’m not sure if scratches will come out though from washing, usually it means the coating fades off. It depends on how they’re coated.
      I hope that helps!

  6. Noah
    March 27, 2020 / 9:03 pm

    How does one get wrinkles out of coated/waxed jeans? I see some say lives with the wrinkles; but they tend to bother me! I’d appreciate the help!

  7. Lin
    May 14, 2020 / 2:12 am

    How long would the costed jeans last if using this method of cleaning?

    • lu
      May 20, 2020 / 4:57 pm

      Haven’t tried it but presumably pretty long however it would be great to know if the same wax treatment used in production is available commercially so it can be applied as needed.

  8. Nicole
    January 26, 2021 / 9:36 am

    Do you know how to repair heat marks on black coated jeans? Black crayon, LOL? Someone touched an iron and left a “V” on the rear end. Trying to repair.

    • Lu
      August 20, 2021 / 10:19 am

      I’ve been trying to find out if there is something commercially available that can be used to restore the coating but unsuccessful so far.

  9. Steven
    December 11, 2021 / 9:00 pm

    Freezing the jeans help but some bacteria just goes in a dormant state until revived by room temperature. Another approach to kill off bacteria and viruses is mix vinegar with cold water but do not agitate in the washing machine. Gently agitate with your hands so as not to rub off the coating. Use about 1 to 2 cups of vinegar per gallon of cold water and let soak for a few hours. Air dry outside but not directly in the sun.
    If you decide afterwards to freeze the jeans make sure they are completely dry.

    • Lorna
      December 14, 2021 / 11:27 pm

      Does this not make the jeans stink of vinegar?

      • Steven
        December 15, 2021 / 2:43 am

        It can, if you don’t rinse again with just water. So rinse and smell the fabric on the inside before drying. If the jeans still smell of vinegar soak and rinse again. If you are a bit hesitant try doing it on a lesser expensive jeans.
        I usually use a cup of vinegar in the final cycle of my other laundry also.

  10. Mthembeni
    November 24, 2022 / 8:49 pm

    Hi, I just bought a per of wax trouser, please tell me, must I put it immediately into the freezer or after I wear it? Please email me the here [email protected]

    • Lorna
      November 26, 2022 / 3:45 am

      No, you only need to do the freezer when they have been worn a lot and you are wanting to kill germs.

  11. cornelius
    April 8, 2023 / 7:45 am

    greetings I washed my BLACK wax jean with pure water and it has changed colour how do i bring back its colour

    • Lorna
      April 10, 2023 / 10:13 pm

      Hello, you mean you faded them?

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