We love white jeans when we’re feeling glam, when we’re feeling summer, when we’re feeling psychedelic (nothing looks better with a tie-dye tee). The only downside to wearing white jeans? They don’t stay white. Here are our tips for removing (or embracing) stains.
Wash your jeans less
Just roll with it. Gregory Gordon (pictured, above), our 3D Art Director (you can thank him for every Levi’s® window in the world, plus a DIY video or two) says, “I’m a let-’em-get-dirty white jeans guy.” Washing every five wears is better for the environment and better for your denim.
Or use a little creative triage
“When there’s an unsightly stain,” Gregory adds, “I splatter it with a little white paint and call it a ‘happy mistake.’”
Give them a soak and some sun
If you’re not a “happy mistake” type, there’s hope. Men’s Stylist Michael Giordano, who launders his blue jeans only once a year, takes a more pragmatic approach. “I soak my white jeans in hot water and some eco-friendly detergent and line dry them in the sun.” Don’t use scalding-hot water — any hotter than 85° and that stain’s yours forever — and stay away from bleach (unless you like thin, yellowed denim). Also, remember that a dryer is basically an oven and will bake in any stains. Sunshine, by contrast, has a mild bleaching effect. And we love its scent of happiness.
Spot clean right
Avoid commercial spot cleaners and don’t treat all stains the same. Ink blot? Use rubbing alcohol. Wine? Dab with seltzer (if you’re at a restaurant) or — better — hydrogen peroxide (if you’re home). Coffee, food and grass stains? Use bar soap, dish soap or even shampoo. “I’ve read that you can even use meat tenderizer,” Michael says. Hmm. Maybe stick with shampoo. Scrub with a sponge, a cloth, or a toothbrush, respectively, for light to heavier stains. Let it sit for half an hour, then rinse in warm water and line dry.
Spot clean stains ASAP. Every passing moment is an opportunity for stains to set.
Give your denim a steam bath
Steam loosens light stains, so hang your jeans up at the far end of the stall while you take a shower. If you sing to them, even better. It’s an extra bonding moment for you and your white jeans.
Looking for more than just white jeans? Shop all white denim for men and all white denim for women.