Fabric care

How to wash denim

how to wash denim

Learn how to care for your denim

Due to its durability, denim was originally made in 1873 to be used for work pants worn by gold miners. The material was also the perfect choice for hiding dirt and stains that came with the job. If you’re wondering what gives denim its durability, comfort and stain-hiding features, it’s because it is made with a twill weave – crafted from cotton or twill textile.

Even though denim is resilient and durable there is a trick to successfully caring for your favorite denim garments without them shrinking or fading in the process.

Read our guide on how to ensure the longevity of your denim jeans, jackets and shirts, so they always look great.

Tips to wash and care for denim and jeans

A good pair of denim jeans can be a good investment and having a few tips up your sleeve will help them last much longer. Here are some expert suggestions to keep them and any other denim garments in good condition:

Live by the label – if the care label on the garment says, “hand wash only” then don’t take any risks by putting it in the machine. Always follow the instructions on the label.

Wash separately – sometimes dye can run during the first few washes so keep them separate during the first few washes.

Reduce exposure to heat – jeans are susceptible to shrinking when exposed to high heat. Opt for a cold wash and air dry them to reduce your chance of shrinking them.

Keep washing to a minimum – the washing process can be tough on clothes, causing the fibers to wear down over time. Wash them infrequently to keep them in good shape.

Hang them up – Hanging your jeans after you’ve worn them allows the fibers to relax so they can regain their natural shape.

How to keep dark jeans from fading

The classic blue denim jeans get their iconic look from indigo dye which is extracted from plants3. The warp-faced twill weaving means that the color can disappear over time. While it’s no secret that the dye on denim can fade, and while the faded look is well-sought after by some, it can be frustrating when it happens to your dark garments.

One way to keep dark jeans from bleeding is to wash them less frequently, so if you have stains, try spot treating them instead. But if you do have to wash them, it can be a success the first time around with the right products and the right technique.

To keep jeans dark, always turn your items inside out to prevent them from fading and rubbing against other clothes in the wash and use Woolite® Darks Defense laundry detergent. The formula gently cleans without putting stress on your fabrics, so dark items can stay dark without fading. Then just follow the instructions below:

Usage instructions – Top loaders

  1. Select appropriate washing cycle
  2. Follow the garment label instructions for water temperature
  3. Fill machine with water
  4. Pour a dose of Woolite® Darks Defense into water. For medium load washes, fill the measuring cap to line 1
  5. Add your denim garment

Usage instructions – Front loaders

  1. Select appropriate washing cycle
  2. Follow the garment label instructions for water temperature
  3. Pour a dose of Woolite® into dispenser/drawer. For medium load washes, fill the measuring cap to line 1
  4. Add your denim garment

Always check the label before washing.

How to dry denim jeans and jackets

Getting the right technique for drying your denim is just as important as washing them. It’s best to air dry your denim by laying items out flat. If you decide to hang them up, turn them inside out and hang them by the waistband to avoid stretching or use a clothes hanger for a denim jacket.

How to care for your extra special and vintage jeans

For those really special jeans that fit perfectly and are the ideal color, you may want to give a little extra care to ensure the greatest results. Give them a wash with Woolite® Delicates to keep them looking like new.

Usage instructions - Handwash

  1. Fill a sink or wash tub with cold water unless label instructs otherwise
  2. Using the measuring cap, fill the liquid up to line 1, pour into water and stir with your hands
  3. Wash your denim gently by hand

Woolite® Darks Defense


Woolite® Delicates

Sometimes your most precious items deserve a little extra TLC. Treat your clothes with the love and care they deserve with Woolite® Delicates.

woolite delicates

Woolite® Damage Defense

Looking for a detergent that's perfect for a range of clothes in your wardrobe? With Woolite® Damage Defense laundry detergent, you can keep the clothes you love looking like new for longer.


Top tips on caring for your clothes

Take a look through our guides to find out the most effective way to clean a range of different fabrics.