How to Make Your Jeans Last Longer

How to Make Your Jeans Last Longer

I have a confession:  I am not very frugal when it comes to jeans.  I really like the way certain jeans fit, and since I wear them pretty much everyday, I can totally justify the purchase.  The thing is, after you spend a lot of money on jeans, you want them to last…like really last.  Luckily, there’s a couple of tricks to getting more mileage out of your jeans.

First, I know this sounds disgusting, but the less you wash them, the better.  One of the big-wigs for Levi Strauss recommends only washing your jeans twice a year.  I’m not sure I can get on board with that, but I do try to wash my jeans only when they absolutely need it.  I spot clean them the rest of the time.

When it is finally time to toss ‘em in the washer, I always turn them inside out.  It helps prevent unnecessary fading.  Though, I’ll admit, a couple of mine have faded to the point of perfection after years of wear.  Also, it’s best for the fabric to wash your jeans on cold, and then to reshape them and allow them to air dry.  The dryer can be really hard on the fibers of the fabric.

10 cool uses for vinegar

10 Cool Uses for Vinegar

If you buy a really dark wash jean, make sure to set the color with vinegar before you wear them.  Just fill up a sink {or the washer} and add a cup of distilled white vinegar.  Allow the jeans to marinate in vinegar and water for about an hour.  They will bleed a bit still, but it will significantly lessen how much color they use in subsequent washings.

That’s basically it—an ounce of prevention for a pound of cure.  Do you have any other tips to get the most out of a great pair of jeans?


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  1. Libby says

    If you put them in the freezer between wearings, it will keep them fresher and prevent them from getting “knees” in them.

    • Brenda says

      Do you just put them in folded up and/or in a bag?
      Curious about this trick because I find myself washing my jeans because they are too stretched out regardless if they are dirty.

  2. Amy says

    I’ve always loved the jeans you wear. (Weird comment, I know, but I loooove jeans.) May I be so bold to ask what your favorite brands are?

  3. Lana says

    When I wash a brand new pair I make sure to toss older faded ones in with them. The color washing out of the new pair transfers to the older ones and freshens them up some.

    For my husband to whom jeans are jeans and will wear his best pair to change the oil in the car I have set up a system of hanger colors. He wears jeans to work in a casual office environment Jeans on green hangers go to work. Jeans on red hangers do not go to work but can be worn anywhere else. Jeans on black hangers are for getting dirty. This has saved a ton of money on jeans and I do not have to find him a pair for work every morning.

  4. KAte says

    These tips are great, BUT (I know there’s always a but) they don’t address my problem. I wear holes in the inseams near the crotch long before the rest of my jeans wear out. I currently have a stack of 5+ pairs of jeans that are worn through but I have to just toss out. Any handy tips for patching/reinforcing the inseam a the crotch, without it looking strange. The irritating part is that I can’t just loose weight to have smaller thighs, I’m already in pretty good shape. Thanks good sturdy farmer genes!

    • Theresa says

      I have the same issue which is totally sad when you love a pair of jeans to death. I ended up sending them to a denim repair shop in LA (there are some in NYC too). They fixed my my People’s Libs for ~$50. Spendy for the repair, yes, but if you find the perfect pair, it can be worth it.. I took pics of a couple pairs of jeans, and they did estimates for me from my photos. They basically re-stitch the denim. The repair is noticeable on the inside but barely noticeable from the outside unless you’re directly in my crotch area which may earn you a swift kick to the shins.

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