By: Natasha Archary
Kaya Drive with Sizwe Dhlomo is back with another head-scratching query, “How often should you wash your jeans?” It’s one of the most commonly used items of clothing and a good pair of jeans doesn’t come cheap.
Proper care of your jeans is important to ensure the longevity of your denims, and many are in disagreement over how often jeans should be washed, whether you simply throw them into the washing with your other clothing, hot wash or have them dry cleaned once a month.
Once again the resident germaphobe Sandile van Heerden left the team shocked that he doesn’t wash his jeans that often:
To give you the 101 on how to care for your jeans, we have advice from Jill Guenza, Global VP of Women’s Design at Levi Strauss, who says you need to wash your jeans far less than you think you do.
It may seem unhy-jean-ic (see what we did there) to prolong your denim washes but because denim is thicker than most clothing materials you can get away with more wears between washes.
Before you chuck your jeans into the washing machine, it’s important to note that your classic denim is usually made from 100% cotton which makes them durable enough to not wash them every day.
If however, it’s the stretch type that has either spandex or polyester woven in, these need to be washed more often as the ‘jegging’ (jeans + leggings) quality makes the jean less durable.
According to Jill, stretch denim requires washing or rinsing more often than 100% cotton jeans to bring them back to their original shape and reactivate the stretchy fibres.
“The first jeans, produced by Levi Strauss in the 1870s, were for workers, miners and cattlemen. They’re meant to be a bit grubby.”
Here’s a rule of thumb for how often you should wash your jeans:
Do they smell?
This should go without saying, if your jeans or any item of clothing smells funky it’s time to give them a wash. You can also hang up your jeans outside to air out any odours.
How many wears can you get away with before you wash your jeans?
The overall consensus from denim experts is anything between 3 to 10 wears is a guide. According to Levi’s denim guide, 10 wears seems to be the cap, barring any spills or smells. The aim is to wash denim as little as possible and spot clean any stains with a damp cloth if needed.
What’s the correct way to wash jeans?
If your jeans have stretched out a little and you’re looking for a bit of shrinkage, wash them by hand or in the machine on a cool wash, then toss in a dryer for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Jeans should not be hot washed as it can cause the dye to run and leave your jeans faded.
Kaya Drive listeners shared their advice on denim care with Sizwe and the team: