Look after your wardrobe failsafe with our guide to taking care of your denim
Words Joy Montgomery
With non stretch ‘90s jeans making a fighting return to the fashion scene (farewell drainpipes), knowing how to take care of your denim is more important than ever.
Originally prized for its hard-wearing durability, classic cotton denim is designed to stand the test of time. This means treating them like a new pair of shoes – wearing them in, treating them properly and allowing them to adapt to your shape. Repeat after me: good denim is for life, not just for one season.
So make this the season to invest in a pair of quality jeans and read our good denim care guide to keep them looking fresh year after year.
BREAK IT IN
Many denim devotees swear to not washing jeans for six months after you’ve bought them. This way you are able to ‘break them in’. This allows the fabric to stretch and adapt to your body shape and achieve a more ‘lived-in’ look. Washing them will shrink the fabric and thus lose the shape.
While wearing-in your jeans an easy way to avoid laundry is spot clean. Simply use a damp cloth or old toothbrush and mild soap to remove any stains.
TURN INSIDE OUT
To prevent fading and colour loss wash jeans inside out. Ideally any fading in your denim should come from being lived in rather than a harsh spin cycle!
Unlike soap (which washes away denim’s dye over time), distilled white wine vinegar locks in colour. Try adding half a cup to the final rinse cycle to ensure the colour of your jeans is retained. Don’t worry – the smell disappears once the denim is dry.
OPT FOR A COOL WASH
Another way to clean your denim without ruining the shape is to hand wash in cold water. If you don’t have time, you can also use a washing machine on a cold wash. Again, this will protect against colour fade caused by washing in hot water.
Once you’ve washed your denim then it’s best to air-dry rather than tumble dry. Ideally lay flat on top of an old towel (to avoid staining the floor) indoors and out of sunlight. They might feel stiff to begin with, but they will soon soften up with a few uses. If they’re a bit tight then tug the damp waistband by hand when slightly damp.