How To Clean Black Jeans Without Washing Them

Denim fabric is durable but washing jeans repeatedly not only fades their color but it also wears out the fibers. Black jeans especially!

In this article, you’ll learn how to clean your black jeans without washing them and get the most life from them possible.

How To Clean Black Jeans Without Washing Them

how to clean black jeans without washing them

1. Steam Cleaning

Tossing your denim jeans in the washing machine means they’ll go through cycles of expanding and contracting, which can damage the fibers over time. If there aren’t any stains on your jeans you can freshen them up without running a complete wash cycle.

Steam cleaning sounds more involved than it is. You don’t need any special equipment—just a hot shower.

  • Put your black jeans on a clothes hanger by the waistband or the hems.
  • Leave them in the bathroom while you take a hot shower.
  • Alternatively you can use a hand steamer to steam out dirty and stains directly on your jeans. 

The steam from the heat gets into the fibers but they they won’t be disturbed like in a washing machine. The moisture is just enough to get into the fibers so the jeans smell fresh after drying.

2. Using a Vinegar Bath

White vinegar contains acetic acid which is an ingredient that neutralizes bacteria. Many people have ditched using chemical cleaners around the house in favor of white vinegar because it works so well and is all-natural.

Using white vinegar keeps your dark rinse denim looking new by locking in the dye so it won’t bleed out. A vinegar bath is as simple as it sounds:

  • Put your jeans in the bathtub and cover them with cold water.
  • Add one cup of white vinegar to the bath and stir the water to mix it.
  • Let your jeans soak in the bath for one hour.
  • When the time is up, hang them up to air dry. They might smell like vinegar initially but the smell dissipates as the denim dries.

3. Spray With Vinegar and Line Dry

You don’t have to do a total vinegar bath to spruce up your dark jeans. You can mix white vinegar and cold water in a spray bottle.

  • Spritz your jeans with the mixture then hang the jeans outside to dry in the sun. The smell of the vinegar goes away as the fresh air dries your clothing naturally.
  • Line drying your jeans keeps you from using the dryer which can shrink the raw denim fibers and fade the color.
  • When drying them outside hang them by the waistband and keep them out of the sun so they won’t fade.

4. Spot Cleaning

One perk of wearing black jeans is that they hide many stains. But some show up and some could cause the fabric to deteriorate, so knowing how to spot clean helps your jeans last longer.

  • Always use cold water to treat stains. Warm water seals the stain into the fibers, so you’ll have to work harder to remove it.
  • You can use stain bars and cleaners on your jeans or mix a bit of dish soap with water and apply it to the stain. (A soft bristle toothbrush makes a good cleaning brush.)

You might think that working hard on the stain will ensure it comes out but in reality it can leave a faded spot on the fabric. Be patient, apply the soap or stain cleaner, and let it do its magic before gently scrubbing if needed followed by rinsing it off.

5. Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is more expensive than the options listed above but it’s generally of the safest ways to clean pants. It could be worth the expense if you spent a lot of money on a great pair of jeans.

Dry cleaning is similar and steam or other non-destructive cleaning agents are used to get the clothing fibers clean without the harsh effects that happen to jeans in an agitator-type washing machine.

How Do You Wash Black Jeans Without Them Getting Faded?

how do you wash black jeans without them getting faded

Wash With Cold Water

You can use the washing machine to clean black clothes as long as you choose cold water. The temperature keeps the fibers from losing shape and prevents the color from fading.

Always use a mild detergent, and the minimal amount needed, so it won’t strip the dye. Turning your jeans inside out can also keep you from wearing a pair of faded black jeans.

Pretreat Stains

If you see a stain on your jeans, treat it immediately. Since cold water is best to wash dark fabrics the wash cycle may not be able enough to remove the stain.

You’ll want to apply a stain remover to the bad spots as soon as possible.

Use a Shorter Wash Cycle Time and Wash Alone

Wash jeans alone instead of putting your dark jeans in with other clothes. It might seem like a waste of a wash cycle, but you’ll be able to choose a short wash time.

They won’t be in the water as long as with a standard wash so they won’t fade.

Air Dry

The heat a dryer uses causes clothing to shrink so it’s better to let jeans air dry. You can hang them outside if you have a clothesline.

  • Turn them inside out so the sun won’t cause them to fade. Avoid putting the direct, heavy sunlight if you can.
  • It’s best to hang them by the hems so the waistband can dry completely.

How Do You Get the Smell Out of Jeans Without Washing Them?

how do you get the smell out of jeans without washing them

You don’t have to wash jeans to make them smell fresh again.

  • You can make a fabric refresher spray by mixing water, white vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
  • Mist your jeans when they smell then let them air dry. The vinegar smell goes away but the essential oil will linger and leave a fresh scent.
  • Products like Febreeze and other fabric fresheners can help, too. You’ll just spray a reasonable all over your pants and give them time to air out and the freshener to dissipate. The smells should be gone or at least greatly reduced.

How Do You Hand-Wash Black Jeans?

how do you hand wash black jeans

Hand washing black jeans keep the color vibrant and the fibers in good shape. It’s best to turn them inside out before you wash them.

  • You’ll wash the part of the pants that touched your skin, keeping the dyed section out of the way.
  • You can buy a laundry detergent for dark colors which helps prevent fading.

Using white vinegar for hand washing is also a good option. Here’s how to clean your jeans by hand with vinegar:

  1. Fill the sink with cold water and add your detergent or vinegar.
  2. Let the jeans soak for 15 minutes then drain the water.
  3. Fill the sink with fresh cold water to rinse the jeans. Getting all the soap or vinegar out of the fabric might take several rinses.
  4. After rinsing, roll the jeans up in a towel to remove any extra water. Rolling keeps the fibers in good shape compared to wringing them out.
  5. Hang them up to air dry or lay them flat in an area with good air circulation.

How Long Can You Wear Jeans Without Washing Them?

how long can you wear jeans without washing them

Levi Strauss patented blue jeans in 1873 as durable work pants. Miners wore these pants for weeks at a time because they could withstand the harsh conditions below ground.

Even in cushy conditions, you can wear your jeans for several weeks before washing them. Going at least six weeks between jean washings ensures they don’t wear out too quickly.

Really it depends on your work or life environment, but the main point is that there’s no need to stress out over how soon you’ll need to wash them. In order to keep them from fading:

  • Keep machine washing to a minimum. I’d recommend a minimum of 4-6 weeks in between, and only if you cannot hand wash them.
  • Try spot cleaning or hand washing when it’s convenient instead of machine washing.
  • Rotate the jeans you wear so each pair needs even less time between washing.

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