The perfect pair of jeans can be hard to come by. Once you do find that treasured pair, you most certainly want to care for them properly to insure that they will last you a good long time. The way that you wash and store your jeans can make quite a difference in how long they last, and how true their color stays.
Really, there isn't just one specific way that works for storing all of your jeans. Depending on the style of your denim, you should store them differently. So first, separate your jeans out by style. All of your nice trouser-like jeans should go in one pile. All of your distressed, very casual, or light wash jeans should go in a separate pile. Any jeans that are too large or too small for you, just put those in a box marked "Goodwill." There's no sense in hanging on to pants that don't fit, or that are dated.
For your jeans that are designated Saturday afternoon casual wear, these can simply be folded and kept either in a bureau drawer or on a shelf in your closet. Some creases from being folded will really not affect the way the fabric lays when you wear them. If you have ones that are honeycombed or distressed, a few extra folds in the fabric will not hinder the style at all. So feel free to fold these however they best fit in your drawer or on your shelf.
For your jeans that are a darker wash, and/or trouser cut, these should be hung in your closet. Your "dressier" jeans should be treated with care, just as you would your favorite tie stylesand wool sweaters, to prevent creasing, stretching and fading. It is wise to invest in several good quality wood trouser hangers, the kind that clip at the top, to hang your nice denim. Look for hangers without abrasive clips or serrated teeth and instead opt for ones with padded clips. Serrated teeth are much more likely to snag on the fabric, whereas those with a smooth, round edge or padding will prevent snagging and tearing.
When you hang your jeans, simply clamp them from the top over the waistband of the pants. This is preferable to hanging your jeans upside down from the hem because denim is such a heavy fabric. If you hang your jeans upside down by the hem, it will cause the fabric to stretch, therefore placing unneeded wear and tear on the fabric fibers. Although you may not notice a visible difference when you put the jeans on, it will cause them to more easily develop rips and runs while in the washing machine.
Speaking of washing, this is the second crucial element to insuring that your jeans have a long life. If you have a habit of dumping all of your jeans into the washing machine and washing them together, try to break this habit. Only wash your jeans when they start to look whiskery around the thighs, or when they are truly dirty (such as if you spill something on them). Oftentimes pants can just be hung in your closet and allowed to "breathe" for a bit rather than washed. So for your nicest jeans, try to wash them only after you have worn them a few times. When you do wash them, turn them inside out first. Use a gentle and high quality detergent to help care for the fabric, along with cold water. If you have very dark denim that you would like to prevent from fading, add a cup of white vinegar in along with your detergent. (Don't worry, the vinegar smell will wash right out.) It's okay to put them in the dryer on low heat, or hang them on a clothesline outside to dry.
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