How to Keep Jeans from Fading

Gap Baby Jeans

Dark wash jeans are very trendy right now.  But the questions is:

How do I make them stay dark?

I’m so glad you asked.

We’ll cover the ‘easy’ methods first:

1) Wash jeans only  in cold water and on gentle cycle.

Warm water and the washer’s agitation are not friendly to indigo dye.  In fact, they will fade at least a shade or two every time you use this method.  But it is the easiest.

2) Hang jeans to drip dry.

You can hang them on the line until mostly dry and then tumble on low in the dryer to make them a little softer.  Again, indigo dye does not like heat so the dryer will fade them over time.

3) Wear them multiple times.

Washing jeans every time you wear them will surely cause them to fade.  If there are no visible stains and they smell okay, you can probably get away with washing them once every 3-4 times.

(Side note: My roommate my freshman year at college had 2 pairs of jeans (her only pants) and literally washed them every 6 months. That’s too hard core for this girl.  Blech.)

4) Wash jeans inside out.

This will greatly reduce the fading when washed on cold and the gentle cycle.  I faithfully do this every time I wash my dark jeans.  And I’ve liked my results.


If you’re serious about having dark jeans, there are a few more methods which I would consider to be a little extreme.  But if I had a pair of high dollar jeans I loved I would use one of these:

1) Hand wash jeans in the tub.

Using only a little detergent (maybe a Tablespoon or two), run cold water in the bathtub.  Let the jeans soak about 30-45 minutes.  Slowly swirl the jeans in the water, but do so carefully.  Remember that agitation also helps fade jeans.  Rinse under cold running water, carefully wring out and then hang to drip dry.

2) Dry Clean your jeans.

It might be expensive, but it will keep them nice and dark. 

3) Don’t wash them at all.

I definitely don’t vote for this method, as I love clean laundry.  But if you are serious about your jeans staying their original hue, this might work for you.  It wouldn’t hurt to hang them outside every few wearings so they can air out.


Keeping my jeans from fading definitely works for me.

I am pleased to link this post to Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.  A wealth of knowledge is waiting to be read over there!  Go check it out.


  1. Ok, I don’t know about the “not washing them at all” tip, lol! I’m not sure that will work for me. 🙂

  2. That is too funny! I don’t think I would go for the never wash them method either. (-: I haven’t tried washing them inside out though. What a great idea. I am slowly learning.
    .-= Rene @BudgetSavingMom´s last blog ..Lowes Foods 2/10 Budget Saving Deals =-.

  3. I would think they would get too stretched out if I never washed them… after a while they just seem to “hang” on me. I LOVE to put on just washed jeans! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Really great tips! Thank you!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Kitchen Organization – Kid Style =-.

  5. I never thought of how bad the laundry was for jeans. Go figure! I think I had heard it before, but I totally forgot. Maybe I’ll have to consider washing them on the delicate cycle.
    .-= Angie @ Many Little Blessings´s last blog ..My #Blissdom Recap =-.

  6. I don’t wash anything, ever. I can’t say my underwear keep their same brightness though.

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