How to Keep Jeans from Fading
Back when jeans were a new thing (yes, it’s hard to believe they were ever a new thing), blue denim was made in one or two shades and everyone wore those staple colors. Now, you can find jeans in every color imaginable. Even the classic “blue” now comes in several different shades – indigo, iceberg, sky blue, navy, and so on. Moreover, the texture of jeans has evolved over the years to include faded, torn, and patched jeans as well as those with myriad stylish appliqués. Most people nowadays own at least a few different pairs in various cuts, shades, and levels of formality. Whether you own two pairs or twenty, when you dish out a couple of hundred dollars for a designer pair, you want to ensure that they will last for several years.
Although faded and light colored jeans continue to be a trendy fashion fad, dark-colored jeans are still a must in every closet. Why, you ask? Over the years, darker denims have taken precedence as the more formal hue, often replacing slacks or black pants as the fashion item of choice for a night around town or for casual Friday at the office. As you’ve probably noticed, jeans worn a few times have a tendency to stretch out a little bit and lose their form, so washing them helps keep their shape. But since you prize your dark jeans, you also don’t want to wash them too frequently, or else they can start to fade and wear out.
Some fashion designers advise you to never wash your jeans in order to retain their original color and fit. This doesn’t sit right with a lot of people (especially people those who prefer to smell clean). These designers suggest freezing germs as a way to remove musky stenches. We are not sure whether or not this works, but it doesn’t make much sense disguising dirt and germs by sticking them into the freezer. If you care about your jeans more than about freezing your bum off (literally), then feel free to try this method.
A more practical, and cleaner, method of cleaning jeans is by hand washing them – you can either do this by hand, or you can set your washing machine to a gentler hand-wash or delicate cycle. For this method, use cold water and a very small amount of a non-abrasive, color-preserving detergent. Add a cup of salt or vinegar to the mix to help retain as much of the dye as possible. Make note of the areas that need spot-cleaning (often at the bottom, especially if they’re long enough to sweep the floor), then turn your jeans inside out.
After rubbing different parts of the jeans gently (or after running the first part of the gentle cycle), let your jeans soak for about fifteen minutes to let the mild detergent loosen any dirt stuck in the cloth fibers. Then, spin them around a bit (or continue the machine cycle), and finally, rinse your jeans in cold water. If you’re rinsing by hand, avoid wringing or twisting the jeans to remove the excess water, as this will definitely stretch the fabric. Instead, gently squeeze the jeans in parts, starting on the top and working your way down.
For drying, you should avoid the dryer at all costs – the high heat causes quick fading, and the material will get thinner and less taut over a short time. Air-drying your jeans will keep their original color bright and the material will stay crisp and form-fitting. Simply hang them up in your closet, on a clothesline, or on the shower curtain rod in your bathroom. And if you have to iron, make sure the jeans are turned inside out.
If you take these measures to care for your beloved denim, you will ensure that they age gracefully with you through the years. Are there any other methods you have used to keep your favorite designer pair of jeans from fading? Share them with us in the comments section!
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