Why Wash Jeans Separately?

Cindy Crawford's dark blue jeans show no fading or distressing.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Denim is a strong fabric, but that does not make it immortal. Whether you invest in premium denim or have some off-the-rack jeans that work wonders, they need proper care to retain their form, color and texture. While it isn't necessary to wash jeans separately, there are many advantages to doing so that will give the jeans longevity and a better look.

Special Detergent

Jeans washed with other clothes may be exposed to regular detergent, which typically is combined with whiteners such as bleach. These detergents drain color from jeans or make them fade unevenly. The jeans will retain their color best if they are washed in detergent with no whitening agents, preferably of an organic or gentle formulation.

Wash Cycle

Jeans can survive a wash on the normal cycle, but that cycle does not do anything to preserve their color and texture. The gentle cycle may take more time, but it will also help the jeans look dark and crisp for as long as possible. Employ additional strategies to protect the finish of your denim, such as washing your jeans inside out, and with only cold water.

Protecting Other Clothes

Washing denim separately protects the rest of your batch of clothes from getting dyed indigo or gray. Faded, bleached and stonewashed jeans pose little problem, but any raw denim, over-dyed denim or dark washes, particularly on new jeans, potentially stains the rest of your clothing. The dye will set if you wash those jeans in vinegar and cold water before washing them with any other clothing.

Wash Free

The question of whether to wash your jeans separately may come down to whether on not you wash your jeans at all. Proponents of the no-washing or low-washing method have several recommendations for caring for jeans, particularly premium denim. They spot-clean any stains with cold water and gentle soap, and hang jeans inside out on a clothesline. Some people fold their jeans and place them in the freezer. They say this freshens them and makes them retain their perfect fit.

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