How to Wash Designer Denim

Trying to decide how to best care for your expensive jeans?  You shelled out a lot to buy them, and now you wonder if you need to baby them at the dry cleaner so they last as long as possible, or if you can just throw them in the washing machine and save yourself time and money. 

I’ve asked multiple people if my high-end denim can go in the washer, including the sales associate that sold me my first pair of tall Joe’s jeans over two years ago.  She assured me that even though the care tag inside the garment recommend dry cleaning, I’d be fine treating them in my own washing machine at home.  She had several pairs she’d treated that way, and all had come out of the washer beautifully.  I heeded her advice and have been caring for my designer jeans in the same way ever since.  Here are the steps I follow when laundering expensive denim:

  1. Turn the pants inside out to protect the pocket details and the color of the denim.
  2. Set the washer to fill with cold water and wash on the delicate cycle with gentle detergent.  I use Arm & Hammer’s soap that’s free of perfumes and dye. 
  3. After the wash cycle is complete, gently remove the jeans from the washing machine, and turn them right side out.
  4. Fold them once so that the legs are facing each other, and the pockets are on the outside.
  5. Hang them upside down on a pants hanger – the hanger clasped around the cuffs or the bottom leg openings.
  6. Dry the pants in indirect sunlight, and use the lowest heat setting possible if you need to iron them afterward.  It’s rare that I need to iron mine, since I pull them out of the washer right away and hang them nicely to dry. 

This method has saved me a bundle in dry cleaning bills (enabling me to spend more on purchasing new jeans from Search By Inseam!) and my designer denim is still well cared for.   

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