How Often to Wash Your Jeans: The Only Guide You'll Need

To wash or not to wash? There's no more debating that eternal jean question!

Updated February 2, 2024
How often to wash jeans

Washing your jeans is as much a necessary evil as taxes, registering your car, and cutting down to two cups of coffee a day instead of six. They're perfectly broken in, soft, and grip you just right ever since you last washed them. But is now the time to again roll the dice on them? Here's how often you should wash your jeans to keep them as perfect as they are. 

How Often Should You Wash Jeans?

How often you wash your jeans depends on what you're usually doing in them. But if you're not gardening, hiking, or rolling around in the grass with your jeans, then most of the world seems to find that you should wash your jeans anywhere between 4 and 10 average wears.

Average wears are days that you aren't sweating heavily in your jeans, doing yard work, or anything else that would cause them to become dirty or grimy faster than usual. 

Should You Wash Your Jeans: Things to Consider

As you're waffling about whether or not your jeans need to take a trip to the washing machine, these can help you decide if they'll stand up to another wear or if they need a wash because they could stand up on their own. 

Do Your Jeans Smell? 

Do your jeans smell? If the answer is yes, then they need to be washed. Regardless of why they smell, that's a pretty solid reason not to put those stinkers back on. 

Do Your Jeans Look Clean?

Smells are one thing, but spills are a different ballgame. If you dropped a glass of red wine on your jeans, you need to pretreat the stain and get them in the wash, so the stain doesn't stick. Letting the stain go could mean that your favorite faded blue denim is now slightly pink. 

The same goes for mud or any other splotches and spots, you'll need to wash them before your next wear. 

Related: How to Wash Denim: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

What Are Your Jeans Made Of? 

The material of your jeans can quickly help you determine how often to wash them. Classic denim pants are meant to be worn several times before washing. That faded, and broken-in look of your favorite jeans is lost once you wash them. And if you dry them? Forget about it! 

However, jeans made of polyester or spandex can lose their shape after several wears. Washing them can help bring them back to their original shape.

@julianadeliberais There are many people out there who wash their jeans way too often. Are you one of them? #jeans #denim #clothingcare #clothingcaretip #denimcare #sustainablefashion #fashiontiktok #lowwaste  original sound - Juliana Deliberais

Why You Should Wash Your Jeans Less

Old and worn jeans are typically your favorite because, over time, they have molded to your body. When you wash them, the fabric shrinks and degrades. So, when you put them on the next time, they're tight, and you spend a few days breaking them back in. 

We've all done that wiggle back into fresh-washed jeans dance. And sometimes, we've even stretched, ripped, or torn the jeans in the process. So unless your jeans are covered in mud or anything else mysterious and don't have an odor, wait another day to wash them.

Caring for Jeans Without Washing Them

Your favorite jeans can fit you like a glove and be the most comfortable clothing you own. To avoid having to re-break them in, you should be caring for jeans without washing them.

You can do this by spot-cleaning as you go with cold water and a clean, damp cloth. Alternatively, there are many stain treating on-the-go products you can grab at the grocery store. When it comes time to dry, air drying is best

Related: Feeling Blue About Bleeding Jeans? Here's How to Make It Stop

Quick Tip

Skip the heat cycle when drying your jeans. Nothing makes them stiffer, sadder, and wear out faster than putting them through the dryer. If you must, you can put them on a low heat, air dry tumble, but otherwise, hanging them up to air dry is your best bet. 

To Skip the Wash Cycle or Not Skip the Wash Cycle

The next time you go to pull on those favorite blue jeans, take a moment to run through the checklist: do they smell, do they have stains, are they begging you to wash them because they can walk on their own? If the answer is yes to any of those, you'll want to give them some tub time. Otherwise, pull 'em on and get your day started. 

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How Often to Wash Your Jeans: The Only Guide You'll Need