The essential guide to

Caring for jeans

Jeans are one of the most hardworking garments in a woman’s wardrobe, so it’s important to care for them and keep them looking as good as new. The argument for never machine washing your jeans is based on protecting the denim fabric from hot water and washing detergent. Both can cause jeans to lose their colour.

It pays to protect these hard-working garments and to help them look and feel great for as long as possible.

How should I care for my jeans?

Read on for expert advice on how to care for your jeans:

  • Avoid using the washing machine
  • Spot clean stains as they appear
  • Air them out after each use
  • Turn them inside out when airing them to protect the colour
  • Hand wash jeans in cool water
  • Lay them out in a bathtub when you hand wash to help to reduce wrinkles

How to spot wash jeans?

Spot cleaning jeans is a quick and easy way to refresh denim fabric while protecting its cotton fibres. Rather than tossing your jeans into the washing machine after every wear use a soft brush or damp cloth to gently remove marks.

How to machine wash jeans?

Follow some golden rules if you do want to machine wash your jeans. Wash jeans on a delicate wash and the coolest water setting available. Use a mild detergent and remember to turn your jeans inside out before popping them in the washing drum. Never tumble dry or iron a pair of jeans.

How often should you wash jeans?

Once every month should be enough to keep them looking and smelling clean and fresh. Spot cleaning, airing and freezing your jeans can help keep them looking and smelling fresh for longer between washes, and thereby reduces the risk of colour fade. Less frequent washing helps to slow down the rate of colour fade within your jean’s delicate cotton fibres, so they stay looking like new for longer.

Breaking the habit of tossing your jeans into every wash is an important step in protecting the integrity of their fabric and depth of colour. That said, how often you wash your jeans is still personal preference. If you use the washing machine remember to select a cool and delicate setting. Fill a bathtub with cool water if you prefer to handwash your jeans

How to remove chewing gum from jeans?

Sitting down in chewing gum is infuriating but you can remove all traces using ice or your freezer compartment.

  • Freeze your jeans or use an ice cube to remove chewing gum with minimal fuss
  • Fold up your jeans and seal them inside a large freezer bag
  • Place your jeans inside the freezer for at least three hours
  • Peel off the frozen gum with your fingers and pick off stubborn gum with a butter knife
  • No freezer? Use an ice cube wrapped in a wash cloth to freeze the gum, peel and pick off the gum

How to dry jeans?

  • Line dry your jeans to prevent shrinkage or use a clothes rack or towel rail for indoors drying
  • Protect jeans from colour fade by hanging them inside out (you’ll have turned them inside out for washing, of course)

How to iron jeans?

  • Steaming jeans is kinder to their sensitive cotton fibres than ironing them, so release crinkles by hanging jeans next to a hot shower
  • If you still want to iron your jeans, consider spraying them with water to dampen their fabric

How to remove stains?

The list of public places where we sit down, eat and drink or push through the crowds wearing our jeans is endless, so it’s no surprise that accidents happen. Here are three more ways to care for your jeans.

How to remove grass stains?

  • Immediately dab the stain with a sponge in white vinegar and pat to dry until no more grass is visible
  • Machine or handwash the jeans in cool water

How to remove paint from jeans?

  • Emulsion and other water-based paints should be rinsed while the paint is still wet
  • Use a sponge soaked in white spirit to remove varnish, gloss and oil paints
  • Wash your jeans in cool water

How to remove a red wine stain from jeans?

  • You will need white vinegar or baking soda
  • Apply the vinegar or the baking soda to the stain
  • Leave for two minutes (for the baking soda) or five minutes (for the vinegar)
  • Rinse off the baking soda with boiling water followed by cool water
  • Rinse vinegar with cool water only
  • Machine or handwash your jeans in cool water

How to patch jeans?

Learning to patch the pockets, knees or crotch can extend the life of your favourite pair of jeans. Patterned fabric patches, black leather patches or white lace patches inspired by the 1980s can also help add individuality to a standard pair of blue or black jeans.

For basic patching you will need an iron-on denim patch, pins and a sewing machine (or needle and thread).

  • To start patching cut a generous piece of fabric to cover the hole or rip in your jeans
  • Trim any loose white threads
  • Turn your jeans inside out and cover the area with the fabric patch
  • Press the patch onto the jeans by gliding a hot iron, on a steam setting, across the area
  • Sew around the edges of the patch, and next turn jeans right side out to sew the outside edges of the patch
  • Trim away any excess cotton threads to finish