CARING FOR DENIM
How to take care for your jeans and why (we think) it's important.
The single most important thing: DO NOT DRY THEM! Denim should never, ever be put in the dryer. They will never fit the same way again if you put them in the dryer - except for the first 5 minutes after you put them on after they come out of the dryer. High temperature alters the composition of the cotton in jeans. Denim that has stretch contains elastane which will shrink when exposed to heat, and that’s not just dryer heat - that’s hot water heat as well. High temperatures can melt the fabric, which will damage it beyond repair.
I recently did a Google search: “Why it’s bad to put denim in the dryer”, and to my surprise most search results said that it isn't! In fact, multiple articles state that if your jeans have stretched out you should throw them in the dryer to shrink them back to size! (It made me inexplicably angry. 🙈) Sure, throwing them in the dryer will shrink them. They will shrink and feel like they fit like a glove for about 10 minutes and then they will get baggy and you will spend your day yanking them up and adjusting them. It will look like you have 2 asses and 4 knees. I don’t know about you, but I do not need to look like I have an additional ass, nor do I want to walk around looking like I’m wearing a diaper. So please, do not dry your denim. If you get a stain on them, spot clean. If they have a smell, hang them outside. You really shouldn’t put any of your clothes in the dryer, especially anything with stretch, like leggings, shapewear and workout clothing. All of your clothing will last much, much longer without fading or losing shape.
I live in an apartment building with a shared washer and dryer. One night, I put a load of laundry in the machine and then left to grab some food. When I got home I realized that my neighbor had taken my clothes out of the washing machine and dried them. I was really pissed - and I didn't hide it. (Which is very not-like-me.) Besides the fact that I find it to be incredibly rude to touch someone else’s clothes, it was a load of my favorite things that I wear all the time, and it ruined them. I still wear them but they’re stretched out and I am constantly yanking them up. (A boob may pop out here and there, too.) In the grand scheme of things, is it really something to get mad about? I suppose like many things in life, that's subjective. But when I spend a lot of money on nice clothes I try to take care of them so I can get the most bang for my buck. Not only that, but I want them to last as long as possible.
Drying your denim accelerates wear and eventual breakdown. Not only that, but it changes the way denim feels. If you wash your jeans and hate the way they feel without being put in the dryer, (kinda the way your hair feels when you use too much product) use liquid fabric softener. Preferably one without any harsh dies or chemicals. The only things I put in the dryer are towels, sheets and blankets. If I have sweats/tees that I don’t really care about I’ll dry them too. But I will not dry anything else.
Where do you think all the stuff that you take out of the lint trap comes from? Your dryer makes it. It’s all fibers from your clothing that the dryer is stripping away.
Buying a nice pair of jeans is an investment. And if you care for them properly you can keep them looking, feeling and fitting like new for many, many years.
Left: Farrah Fawcett, 1970s Right: Winona Ryder, 1990s
Jeans are classic wardrobe pieces that are cyclical in nature, meaning no matter what style they are, they will come back in style; don't get rid of them without a good reason. I can't tell you how many times I've kicked myself for getting rid of my favorite Levi's from high school!
How to care for denim: Machine wash cold, inside out. Spot clean when possible. Hang to dry. Did we mention that you shouldn't put them in the dryer?