How often should jeans get washed? Levi’s and denim experts reveal

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Denim was invented over 150 years ago — and the question of how and when to wash the garments has been around for almost just as long.

Though many people choose to never wash their jeans, Levi’s design director Paul O’Neill personally shared that he washes them every “30 to 50 wears.”

O’Neill told the Australian Financial Review that he recommends washing jeans alone on a gentle cycle with cold water so the color doesn’t fade, and hanging them outside to dry — never tumble drying.

“The more you wash your denim, the lighter it will become, losing indigo with each wash,” he said.

However, he explained that how often jeans should be washed is up to personal preference and there’s no “official” way.

Rather than washing jeans, some people find other ways to freshen them up such as putting them in the freezer, spraying them with vinegar or hanging them in the sun for a “UV wash” to kill off bacteria, O’Neill said.

Mary Lou Ryan, a co-founder of clothing brand Bassike, goes a step further, saying she only washes her jeans when it’s vital with a small amount of mild detergent.

“I wash them inside out to protect the outside fibers, on a gentle cycle, if they have a stain,” the company’s director of sustainability told the outlet.


Putting Jeans into the washing machine
Levi’s design director Paul O’Neill recommends washing jeans alone on a gentle cycle with cold water so the color doesn’t fade and hanging them outside to dry.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Though if you prefer not to wash your jeans at all, a small dab of laundry spray on stains should do the trick.

On the other hand, stylist Jane Herman, who has a newsletter called Jane on Jeans dedicated to all things denim, believes the only person who can decide how often your jeans should be washed is you — and she washes hers.

“I was my jeans,” Herman admitted. “Not every time I wear them, but I have small children, so food stains and playground mess are always reasons to wash.”


Cropped shot of a young woman looking at her jeans before throwing them in the dryerhttp://195.154.178.81/DATA/i_collage/pi/shoots/805659.jpg
Rather than washing jeans, some people find other ways to freshen them up.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The blogger’s advice for washing jeans was similar to the other experts: cold water, a small amount of mild detergent and “air dry all the way.”

She also said that some jeans look and feel better when they’re not washed, emphasizing that it’s about personal preference.

“If you don’t want to wash your jeans, don’t. If you do, fine. They’re jeans. They can take it. That’s what makes them so great,” Herman said.

Meanwhile, Gen Z has decided that skinny jeans are out of style.

People now opt to wear baggier jeans, such as a looser wide-leg jeans, mom jeans and dad jeans.

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