Thursday, December 27, 2012

Say What?: Proper Denim Care

This one was a reader request, even though its not a health concern it is a general concern of anyone who wears jeans, which I can safely say is practically everyone. Since I work in the fashion industry I see jeans that sometimes are upwards of $150 go out the door and come back destroyed because the customer wasn't aware of proper denim care. If you love those designer jeans (even if you aren't willing to spend more than $20 on jeans) these tips will make any denim last much longer, and to help keep their color and shape.

The True's I found that were only $30! Ignore the unmade bed and laundry please
  • Firstly you should know a lot of denim doesn't come pre-shrunk so if you are having alterations done to them you need to take them home and wash them first. They won't shrink more than half an inch at most, just don't wash and dry them in scalding water. 
  • Also for designer jeans that use real indigo dye (Hudson's and True Religion's particularly) it is critical to lock in the color by washing them alone with one cup of household vinegar in moderately cold water. This will help lock in the color so those gorgeous Hudson's don't fade. This also applies for any dark or bright colored skinnies you might have that you don't want to fade.
  • A seriously common misconception is how often a pair of jeans should actually be tumble dried in the dryer vs. hang dried. The rule of thumb is about every three washes, you need to tumble dry your jeans to help them re-shrink to their original cut so that they don't stretch too much. I've had customer's complain that their $100+ pair of jeans stretched out a size larger. I've even had one person say three sizes! Denim is temperature sensitive and responds when it is warm. As you wear them they are warm and stretch with your body. When you dry them because they have no resistance the heat helps them re-shrink. When you hang dry them they are not exposed to any heat and therefore do not re-shrink. 
  • Make sure that you are hang drying your jeans two out of every three washes on a drying rack that you can get from Target, Walmart, or Bed Bath and Beyond. They're about $20 but totally worth it and they last forever. If you hang dry your jeans frequently the denim will last longer then if you tumble dry them each washing. This is because the denim fibers (especially if they're 'stretchy' jeans) wear out from re-shrinking under intense heat from frequent tumble drying. 
  • Lastly as you should already know good denim stretches to fit your body as you wear it between washes, great denim (designer denim) is meant to fit your body and 'mold' to it inspite of washes. Don't be worried if your denim stretches somewhere you don't want it to like if you tried to do the splits in them and the inside leg is now baggy (I've personally never tried to do that). A quick solution to this is get that area wet with a squirt bottle and throw it in the dryer for ten minutes and it should be back to its normal self afterwards.
I promise if you follow these denim care rules you will be proud of that designer denim, you'll even be confident in those jeans if they're not designer! And they will last two to three times as long if you follow these tips. 


Katie A. said...

Thanks! I never really knew how to take care of my jeans before!

Kelsey Cole said...

This was AWESOME. Seriously,i learned a ton, thanks for the tips! I am one that doesn't spend more than 50 on regular denim, but I am a sucker for colored denim and prints. I always hang dry my jeans, but I didn't know you should tumble dry them every so often as well! Also didn't know the vinegar trick - I will totally do that now!