Washing jeans: How to preserve shape and color


No sooner have you removed the price tag from your new jeans than the question arises: Can I actually wear them right away or do I have to wash them first? Or do the pants lose color and fit through washing? We asked an expert: Frank Schneider is an expert for textile finishing of clothing of the German Association of Appraisers and Experts (DGSV) and knows what is good for your new jeans in terms of care – and what is pure jeans superstition.

When should I wash my jeans for the first time?

Textile expert Frank advises that new jeans should be washed before they are worn for the first time. Even if each pair of trousers has already been through an industrial wash cycle. The reason: the trousers may have been invisibly soiled with the finest dust particles during production and sale. Besides, you can’t be sure who has tried on a pair of trousers before. So it is a question of hygiene.

Also for optical reasons, a pair of jeans can also go into the washing machine directly after purchase. “With every wearing and washing, some of the indigo dye is rubbed off. The resulting coloration is what makes jeans the typical, distinctive type of pants in the first place.”

Do jeans shrink during washing?

At most minimal. Today, the cotton fabric is chemically processed and the so-called sanforizing protects the jeans from shrinkage. In addition, the fabric adjusts to the legs again when worn and after a few hours the minimal shrinkage effect is reversed.

Nevertheless, the rumor persists that it is better to buy pants too big, because they still shrink. The expert explains: “This is due to the fact that in the past the cotton fabric in jeans was processed untreated. At that time it shrank strongly if it was washed too hot. Therefore, the legend of shrinking jeans during washing persists.”

How often should you wash pants?

Washing a pair of jeans after every wear is a waste of water “I wash my jeans, if I wear them consistently, after the fourth or fifth day. If I wear them only once, then only after weeks,” Schneider said. There are even jeans experts who hardly ever wash their jeans and insist that jeans should not be washed in the washing machine. Chip Burgh, CEO of Levi’s, is one of them. He’s been wearing his jeans for a year and – by his own admission – has never washed them.

By the way, “A new pair of jeans, depending on how often you wear them, takes six months to a year to look and register individually,” Schneider knows. “Dark jeans look worn in faster than light ones, because you see the effects sooner.”

How do I wash my jeans properly?

You can wash your jeans either by hand or gently in the washing machine.

1. Wash jeans by hand

Simply clean stains with a sponge and warm water. If the jeans are really dirty, turn them right side out and hand wash under lukewarm water. Use mild soap, but do not scrub too much. Otherwise you will rub out the dye. Wring out the jeans properly afterwards, smooth them out and hang them up.

2. Washing denim in the machine

Of course you can also simply wash jeans in the machine. Turn the pants inside out and close the buttons and zippers. “It’s best not to combine with other garments – except those made of denim,” says expert Schneider. Do not overload the machine. To counteract wrinkles or. To counteract the formation of wrinkles or stripes, a maximum of 2 to 4 pairs of pants, depending on the drum and the size of the pants, should be put into one machine at the same time.

Very important: Set the washing machine to the short wash program and wash at 30 to 40 degrees without full detergent. Normal full detergent often contains bleaching agents, which can also remove color from your jeans. “Detergent for coloreds, preferably liquid, is more suitable,” says Schneider. “This washing instruction is especially important for dark jeans. The darker they are, the more sensitive they are,” says Schneider.

It’s best to spin the pants at a medium speed of 800 to 1,000 rpm. This reduces wear and tear, as well as wrinkling.

Tip: Stay away from fabric softener! It softens the cotton fibers. Ultimately, the fabric becomes flabby.

Can you put jeans in the dryer?

You should not put your jeans in the dryer, because they can actually shrink there. Especially if they have a stretch content. Better: Simply hang the pants on the clothesline to dry.

What good are home remedies to replace washing?

There are countless household tips on the subject of “caring for jeans properly”. But do they also help? Expert Frank Schneider explains.

1. If your jeans smell, simply hang them out to air.
Often this actually helps. However, odors, such as from a campfire, are so strong that airing them out doesn’t help much. In such cases, hang the jeans in the bathroom over the bathtub. The warm and humid air after showering gently cleans the jeans.

2. Stubborn stains in jeans? Soak in vinegar!
“Does not help,” knows expert Frank Schneider, “vinegar disinfects the jeans, but does not dissolve strong stains.”

3. Put jeans in the freezer replaces the wash cycle.
Do you really want to put your jeans in with frozen pizza and fish sticks? The pants really smell fresher after freezing for the first time. ” But: Depending on where you have been with your jeans, you have picked up different bacteria and germs. To put the jeans with it in the freezer is unhygienic.”And when the jeans warm up again, the smell starts all over again.

Before the first wearing a pair of jeans should be washed. There are jeans professionals who never do it again afterwards. However, if you follow our washing instructions, you can put your pants in the washing machine regularly without hesitation.

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