I was reading an old issue of Allure magazine the other day and came across a good interview with Scott Morrison, designer and co-founder of Earnest Sewn. Here are his tips (March 2008, p. 140):
- Get a little dirty. If you have stiff, dark raw-denim jeans, wash them as infrequently as possible. Walking, sitting, and just the shape of your body will be the things that break them in. The longer you go without putting them through the wash, the more comfortable they will become.
- Keep them snug. Stretch jeans should be washed more often. Many women’s jeans have 2-4% of stretch material and will loosen up after a few hours of wear. If you wear them a lot and like them snug, you’ll want to wash them about once a week to keep them as close to the original tight fit as you can.
- Be protective. Turn your jeans inside out in the washing machine. This protects the color. Use regular detergent and either cold or warm water. Raw denim or loose-fitting jeans should be air dried, but stretch denim should be tumbled for about 40 minutes on high heat. This will eventually reduce the elasticity, so if you’ve had them awhile, air-dry them most of the way and then throw them in on high for 10-15 minutes.
- Hang out. After they’re dry, hang your jeans in your closet instead of folding them, which causes creases.
- Patch things up. Act fast when you spot a tiny hole in your favorite jeans! Buy a heat-transfer patch from the fabric store and iron it onto the underside of the tear. Morrison also recommends hand-washing from then on to prevent exacerbating the problem.