What Temperature Should Jeans Be Washed At?

For as long as they’ve existed, jeans have remained a staple for casual and workplace fashion. Combining style, toughness, and comfort, a good pair of jeans remains the go-to option for any event. However, knowing how to care for your new favorite pair of pants properly isn’t always so straightforward.

You should wash jeans in cold water, or below 80°F (26°C). This is the best way to avoid shrinking and color loss. However, depending on the jeans’ color and soil level, it may be better to use warm water.

In the rest of this article, I’ll share valuable tips for washing your jeans, such as what temperature is ideal for washing, how to prep your jeans for washing, and the frequency of washing periods. I’ll also go over what could go wrong and how to potentially reverse damage caused in a wash.

What Temperature Should Jeans Be Washed At?

It’s best to wash your jeans in cold water. Washing in cold water is essential for keeping the colors of your clothes lasting and vibrant, and cold water also ensures you avoid unnecessary shrinking.

It’s important to remember that most clothing fabrics (including denim) are plant-based. Unless you’re dealing with something specific like polyester ( a synthetic fiber with purposeful defense against shrinking) your clothes will typically have weaknesses to high temperatures. For the best results, you never want to wash jeans in water hotter than 130°F (54°C).

Should Jeans Be Washed Cold or Warm?

Jeans should be washed cold. Lower temperatures keep the fibers from shrinking and won’t do damage to your precious colors. Besides keeping your denim stable, it’s also a suitable energy consumption method, as most of the power used in washing machines is to heat the water. 

Cold washing skips this step allowing you less energy use and saving money.

While using cold water for jeans is a good default, it doesn’t mean there aren’t times for warm water. Heat plays a significant factor in getting your clothes clean, and hot water is essential for sanitizing and removing stains or dirt from your clothing. 

Warm water is a healthy medium for ensuring your jeans are clean without risking too much of the clothing’s integrity. 

What Setting Do You Wash Jeans On?

You should wash jeans on a gentle or delicate setting. While jeans are often known for their ruggedness and durability, washing on a gentle cycle increases their longevity.

Just like working in or wearing your jeans too often, a heavy-duty wash cycle can add an abundance of wear and tear. This leads to more distortion of the color and shape of your jeans. 

Should Jeans Be Washed Inside Out?

Jeans should be washed inside out. While it’s not necessary, it’s recommended to do this because it gives your jeans proper protection when you’re washing them and decreases the risk of damage.

Washing machines rely on mechanical energy to ensure your clothes get a good cleaning. This abundance of friction and even the detergent can harm your clothes’ fabrics leading to vading. 

Not to mention the fabric, zipper and buttons can cause damage to the other clothes in your wash. Therefore, it’s always best to wash your jeans separately from your other clothing types.

Do Jeans Shrink in the Wash?

Jeans do shrink in the wash, especially if you wash them in hot or warm water. High temperatures when washing and drying can not only shrink your clothing, but also cause damage to the fibers in your jeans.

Therefore, the best possible way to prevent shrinking is to wash your jeans in cold water, and hang them to dry. But, if you must use a machine, try a low or no-heat cycle and remove them before they completely dry out. 

Additionally, it’s important to note your jeans will typically always shrink on the first wash, unless they’re pre-shrunk.

How Often Should Jeans Be Washed?

Jeans should be washed around every ten wears. Doing this ensures that your jeans don’t become a washed-out color too quickly. Additionally, less-frequent washing protects the jeans’ fibers.

While how often you wash your jeans ultimately varies person to person, according to Levi’s, washing your jeans around every ten wears is the best way to ensure the jeans keep their fit and color. 

Soil level can increase this frequency, but you never want to develop a habit of overwashing your jeans. If you notice a stain or dirt, it may make more sense to treat it individually and air dry it versus running them through the washing cycle. 

How Do You Fix Damaged Jeans?

If you have a pair of jeans you love but they were damaged in the wash, it’s possible to undo some of the damage done to them. Besides tears or abrasions, your jeans’ most common issues are shrinkage and loss of color. 

Shrinking occurs when fabrics begin to contract from heat. An easy way to counteract this is spraying tightened areas with lukewarm water, stretching them yourself, and leaving them out to dry. 

Restoring the color of your jeans can be a little more complicated, but it isn’t impossible. Here’s a video that quickly explains the process:

Your aim is to prep and dye the jeans to reestablish that color vibrancy. If the process feels too daunting, try finding a tailor, dry cleaners, or perhaps a friend to help you get it done.


As a good rule of thumb, you always want to wash your jeans in cold water. Water that’s less than 80°F (26°C) ensures your jeans:

  • Won’t shrink or distort in size. 
  • Colors stay vibrant and undulled. 

While things like the soil level or the color of your jeans could lead you to use warm water, it’s important to avoid washing them in hot water above 130°F (54°C).
This will ensure your jeans last and keep you looking good for as long as possible. Additionally, make sure to visit https://cleanandfixit.com/ for any other home cleaning and fixing needs.

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