Useful Stuff to Know » article » Extend the Life of Your Blue Jeans » Mar 8, 11:30 PM

Extend the Life of Your Blue Jeans

How to make your jeans last longer?

1) Wash them inside out at cold water, or warm if noticeably dirty. This will preserve the color.

2) Hang them to dry, then tumble in the dryer for a few minutes to soften. This will further preserve the dye and reduce premature fraying. Drying your jeans straight from the washer for an hour is the number one denim destroyer.

3) If there are any frayed edges around the bottom, put some superglue on them.

4) If using the washing machine, use only half the laundry detergent. Detergent manufacturers put misleading instructions telling you to use twice what you actually need in order to sell more products. Half is all that’s necessary. Too much and the cotton itself starts getting digested by the detergent, weakening it. Otherwise it’s best to gently hand-wash jeans in cold or lukewarm water with just a little detergent.

5) Buy jeans made of thicker rougher material. The thinner and softer, the faster it will fray and become holey. 12 ounce material is the thinnest that will stay durable, 13 oz is getting good, 14 oz is ideal, 15 oz is super tough but getting a bit stiff. What are the cheapest durable brands? Levi’s Red Tab, Carhartt, Wrangler, and Dickies.

6) Common sense: avoid the ‘destructed’ types of pants with lots of grinding, abrasion, and holes. They cut the life of your jeans to 1/4th, meaning they are 4x as expensive in the long run as non-destructed jeans. If yours have just a little abrasion around edges and pockets, then follow the nail polish trick. Darker jeans will last longer since they have not been so pre-washed and processed to appear faded.

7) Don’t wash them more than once a week if possible. Jeans are not socks or undershirts or underwear that need to be washed frequently. If the jeans aren’t grimy at the end of the day, they don’t need to be washed yet. It’s doable to have a few pairs that you rotate through, and wash them all once a month.

8) If prickly things or cat’s claws rip little loops or tufts out of your jeans that stick up above the surface of the fabric, stuff them back into the fabric with a thick needle or awl. Otherwise they eventually pull out further and become holes.

9) When you get a stain on your jeans, don’t rub vigorously at the spot with a towel or brush. This will tear away at the fabric and begin the process of unraveling. Rather, dab instead of scrape or rub. Remember that dark jeans don’t show stains as much.

10) The above advice is for your good jeans you want to maintain. But if all you have are good jeans, you’ll be afraid to ever do anything that could ruin them. So to avoid cramping your lifestyle, I suggest also picking up a pair of cheap, thick, rugged, dark jeans to be your “get dirty jeans” for physical work, leisure sports, garage tinkering, car fixing, and so on. Try some Carhartt, Wrangler, or Dickies specially advertised to be tough.

How to shrink jeans (for anyone who wants to know)?

Spray them on the outside with a water bottle, turn them inside out and spray again until uniformly damp, then put into a dryer and run at high heat until they are bone-dry. This will shrink them. Then, to stiffen them up so that they are less likely to expand back through mere wearing, after the dryer just spray them thoroughly inside and out again with tap water until very damp, then hang them up to air dry.