Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to: Keep Denim From Fading

Hey everyone,
Have you  ever invested in a really cute pair of black or even medium to dark blue jeans and had to throw them out due to extreme fading? me too.  I've had a few people mention to me that after one to several wash cycles their jeans have faded from black to a kind of faded black-charcoal, or from rich dark blue to a faded kind of muddy unattractive blue.  I've experienced this with 4 pairs of jeans so far, and i finally decided that enough was enough.  So I did a little research and thought that today I'd share with you some tips and tricks for keeping your denim true to color.

1) The first tip is read the care instructions for your jeans.  This can usually be found on a label inside the jeans.  The care instructions are there to provide you with the knowledge to properly clean and preserve your jeans so that they last as long as possible.  Translating care instruction symbols can be a bit of a hassle, so this is the site that i use to figure out what they mean: click here.
2) Turn your jeans inside out before washing them.  This also goes for any shirt or pant that may fade in the wash.  This will prevent your jeans from fading.  Although the inside of the jeans will now fade, no one is going to see that so it's not a big deal.  (Quick tip: also do up the zipper and button to prevent them from snagging on anything in the washer). 
3)  Some people recommend soaking your dark denim in vinegar before washing them for the first time as that sets the dye.  However, i can imagine that getting that pungent vinegar scent out of the denim might be a little difficult.  This is an interesting article i found about washing your denim in vinegar to set it.
4) Wash your denim on a cold setting as hot water is known to shrink clothes and cause colors to bleed, leading to fading of your favorite pair of jeans.  The cold water will get the job done, and prevent a lot of fading.  Adding water to the denim lifts the dyes off the fabric, and warm-hot water does so more than cold water.  Hard water, due to its mineral content, mixed with detergent can alter the color of your jeans and dull them. 
5) Use a detergent specifically designed for dark clothes such as the Woolite dark laundry fabric wash which caters to dark fabrics and maintaining their color. 
6) NEVER, I repeat, NEVER use bleach while washing denim.  This will cause fading, discoloration, and blotches. 
7) Hanging your jeans out to dry is a bad idea as the sun fades the color.  If you hang your jeans to dry, try hanging them up inside and leaving a towel underneath to catch the drips of water.  If you insist on drying your denim outside, hang them up inside out, although i do not recommend hanging them outside at all.
8) Something i learned that's kind of interesting, and a good tip is that you should wash your jeans separately then your other clothes (have a dark pile, jean pile, white pile, colors, etc.).  As well, wash your light wash denim and dark wash denim separately to prevent dye transfer.
 Here are some closer pictures at the jeans in the picture above:
I never iron these jeans, so one time they were creased when i threw them in the washer and the dye was lifted, creating a grey stripe down these jeans.  Obviously, they need to be thrown out. 

Both of these jeans used to be black, but have faded to a gritty looking gray and faded black due to incorrect washing. 

These denim shorts have faded slightly to a duller shade of blue, however they're still wearable.

For some reason, these jeggings have an ombre effect going on where the upper part is a very faded blue and gets darker as you go down the leg.  I'm not sure how that happened.  Also, you may notice the left and right pocket are blotched.  These pants are pretty much unwearable now.  

 I hope that these tips helped you, if you have any more information on this topic that I didn't mention, or would like to see more of these "tips and tricks" type posts, let me know below.


  1. Great tips! I've faded so many pairs of jeans with overwashing and tumbledrying!

    Keep em coming please! :-)



  2. Thank you for your input, i definitely will! :) - Kels

  3. You can dye your jeans.

  4. These are the extensive tips to keep away denim jeans from fading. Thanks for providing such tips.

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  6. Oh my god. Are you like serious? -.- The last 'ombre effect' jeans could have been a unique statement pair. You're not much better if at all than those pathetic wrinkled 50 year olds who are so scared of losing their youth that they opt for botox and shit. Like, seriously, any garment can look fashionable combined with other garments that could go well with it. In the world, things tend to evolve you know; just because a pair of jeans is not as it was or at least is somewhat radically different than what it was when it was bought, doesn't mean it's "unwearable." Ugh. Tsk. >.< If I knew you personally and were the same size as you I would have asked for those ombre jeans even though I'm not into hand-me-downs. They look so whimsyful! :))) ^_^

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