MAKING YOUR DENIM LAST

No one does (or lives and breathes) denim like we do. We’ve learned all the tips and tricks to keeping our jeans looking and feeling good for a long time to come. Luckily, you can too. Our resident denim experts weighed in on the denim dos and don’ts with everything you need to know about taking great care of your favorite pairs.

How do I care for my all-cotton jeans?

When it comes to making your own mark, there’s nothing better than rigid denim. 100% cotton jeans are made to be broken in over time, picking up unique wear patterns along the way. However, you should avoid washing them too often. When your jeans are visibly dirty and truly deserve a good cleaning, turn them inside out and wash them on cold using a mild detergent. Hand-washing is even better, if you have the time. Whatever you do, don’t use hot water. This tried-and-true process helps protect the fabric and increases the likelihood of your jeans lasting longer. Hang-dry them indoors or in the shade to avoid fading from the sun. In a hurry? Machine dry on low or no heat.

Okay...But what about 98% cotton and 2% spandex?

A little stretch never hurt anybody, and caring for jeans with a high cotton content is easy. Turn yours inside out and machine-wash on cold with like colors using a mild detergent. Since heat’s been proven to weaken spandex, we recommend air-drying whenever possible. In a pinch, you can machine dry on low or no heat.

How can I prevent my jeans from shrinking?

One of the biggest misconceptions in denim is that shrinkage only occurs as jeans dry, but it can also happen if you use hot water. To minimize the risk, hand-wash or machine-wash yours in cold water using a mild detergent. Then let them air dry whenever possible. If you’re short on time, you can tumble-dry on low or no heat.

What about those dreaded odors?

It might come as no surprise that washing your denim can speed up the breakdown process. Because of that, we want you to wash your jeans less when you’re just wearing them for everyday use. But to combat run-of-the-mill odors, try putting them in the freezer! Sounds weird, right? But we swear by it. Freezing denim kills bacteria and any lingering odors. You can also hang-dry and spritz any smells away with your favorite odor release spray.

What if I’m wearing my jeans for work?

You work hard in your Wranglers and long days on the farm or ranch might require you to wash your jeans more frequently. If mild detergent isn't strong enough to tackle dirt and odors, we suggest mixing a 1:4 solution of cold water and white vinegar. Once your jeans are fully dry, that vinegar smell will evaporate.

How to wash white denim?

We’d be lying if we said we didn’t get a bit nervous when we wear our white jeans. You too? Avoiding drinks, food, and everyday stains is no way to live. When it comes to taking care of white denim, we suggest washing your jeans in warm water (just never above 85°F) using a mild detergent. You can wash it on its own or with like colors. Avoid bleach, because it will only break down your denim. Bleach can also leave behind a yellow tint, but that’s perfectly fine if that’s your thing. When drying, of course, we suggest hang-drying. This time, you can hang them in the sun.

What do I do if I get stains on my white denim?

Stains happen. Try to act quickly and spot-clean ASAP to avoid that stain from setting. Wine? Look for some seltzer water or hydrogen peroxide. Coffee, condiments, or grass stains? Use dish soap. Take a towel to remove any excess and apply the dish soap directly on the stained area. Using a damp cloth or your fingers, scrub the stain and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes before gently rinsing with warm water. Repeat if necessary. Don’t dry your stained denim unless you like the look of them—which is alright, alright, alright with us.

Any secrets to dark-wash and black denim?

If you want to keep your black and dark jeans from fading, you’ll want to cut back on washing those too. But if you have already tried the freezer method and it’s high-time for a thorough cleaning, white vinegar is good at getting rid of odors and maintaining color fastness. Use a 1:4 solution of cold water and white vinegar, soak your darkest denim for 30 minutes, and then hang to dry. If you must machine wash, be sure to turn those jeans inside out and use cold water with a mild detergent. Avoid washing them with light colors to prevent any dyes from bleeding.

What if my jeans have seen better days?

DIY! There is so much you can do to transform your old denim into something new. Check out our DIY section to discover easy upcycling projects and more expert advice from Wrangler® designers.