We have jeans for every occasion. Designer jeans, dressy jeans, casual jeans, mom jeans, yard work jeans, and jeans we should never wear in public. We love our jeans so much, we even have special ways we want them laundered. After all, there’s no wardrobe crisis worse than a favorite pair of jeans that no longer fit after going through the wash.
Maybe that’s why some of us don’t wash our jeans after wearing them only once. Or twice. Or…four times. But is pushing off washing these pants the right thing to do? Are we being gross by pushing off putting them in the laundry?
How Often Should You Wash Jeans?
It turns out we’re not alone. Tommy Hilfiger, Anderson Cooper and Stacy London of the popular TLC reality show What Not to Wear all agree there’s no need to wash jeans after every wear. In fact, washing your jeans after each wear can be damaging to your denim and cause the pants to break down faster. So how often should you wash jeans? Much like the pants themselves, the answer is not one-size-fits all. Expert opinions vary on the exact number, ranging from every 5 wears to every several months. Some people even advocate not washing them at all! While that may be a bit extreme, a study has shown that even after wearing jeans for 15 months straight without washing (yes, over a year), the bacteria count was shockingly low (That certainly makes us feel better about skipping a laundry day once in a while).
The bottom line is that when your jeans are visibly dirty or smelly, it’s time for a wash.
Tips For Washing Jeans
Now that you know how often to wash your jeans, do you know how to wash them? You can check out our complete guide for how to wash your jeans for the full how-to. In the meantime, here are some tips and tricks to keep your denim in top shape!
- Use the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine
- Wash in cold water
- Use detergent that is gentle on fabrics but still tough on stains, like our Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent
- Turn jeans inside out
- Wash with other items that are a similar color
- Remove from the washing machine immediately
- Turn jeans right side out
- Fold once at knees and hang dry
- If you’re brave enough to put jeans in the dryer, choose a cool setting to prevent shrinkage
Frequently Asked Questions
Have more burning questions about how often to wash your jeans? We’ve got answers.
How many times can I wear jeans before washing?
There’s no clear rule or number for how often you should wash your jeans. We recommend washing your jeans whenever they are smelly or visibly dirty. Depending on your body chemistry and lifestyle, this could be anywhere from three to thirty wears. You shouldn’t wash your jeans after every wear–but there’s no need to wear really dirty jeans either.
How long can jeans go without washing?
A study done at the University of Alberta has shown that jeans can be worn for over 15 months without posing any health risks. While we don’t recommend waiting that long, your jeans shouldn’t need to be washed until they are smelly or stained. If you wear jeans while doing outdoor activities, they will likely need to be washed faster than if you are primarily wearing them for indoor sedentary activities. You can extend the life of your jeans between washing by spot cleaning or using a fabric refresher, like our Revitalizing Mist.