When denim is a way of life, you go to great lengths to care for your jeans. And here at Levi’s®, we’ve heard some wild ideas — like freezing jeans to kill bacteria or washing them in vinegar. But according to the Levi’s® team’s most serious denimheads, you don’t need to do any of that. Here are their simple hacks for keeping jeans looking fresh (without smelling like salad dressing).
All of our experts agree: denim rarely needs washing. Two in-house fanatics — Steve Burns (Director of Levi’s® Men’s Bottoms) and Isaac Starr (Levi’s® 3D Visuals Manager) — both keep their jeans unwashed for as long as possible with the intention of never washing them. Michael Giordano, Levi’s® Men’s Stylist, only launders his about twice a year. Why? By not washing your jeans, you preserve the fabric, color and distinct patterns where the denim naturally creases each time you wear them.
When your jeans finally start to feel gross and genuinely need a wash, our team is adamant that washing jeans inside out in cold water is the way to go. It keeps indigo dye from fading and protects denim’s finish. You can hand wash your jeans, like Una Murphy, Levi’s® Senior Innovation Designer, does with her vintage jeans, or use the washing machine
Spot treating denim is a good way to get rid of stains without fully washing your jeans. Gem Mateo, Levi’s® Senior Graphic Designer, uses a dry brush and a tiny bit of liquid soap to lift stains, similar to how you might clean sneakers. When the entire garment needs cleaning, follow Una’s lead. She uses a denim orange oil wash to clean her vintage pieces by hand, and she told us that liquid castile soap is also good. She recommends looking for a detergent with non-oxidizing bleach to help jeans keep their color.
Take it slow. The gentle cycle helps protect the finish of your denim. Una told us that she chooses the lowest setting on the washing machine because, “The no spin cycle stops the crack marks from forming on denim.”
Sometimes the answer is blowing in the wind. All of our experts line dry to save energy and preserve their garments’ fit and quality. Bonus: Steve says that hanging unwashed jeans outdoors helps get odors out of denim.
And in case you were wondering about that freezer hack, our denimheads agree: it’s a myth. Case closed.