Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Have you ever had black jeans that over time became… well, no longer black?
They always look so sleek and sharp when you first buy them, but after washing your jeans a few times, they turn a nasty grey colour that makes them look instantly old and worn.
After losing too many pairs to the dreaded fade, I wanted to find out how to prevent this from happening yet again, so I’ve done my research and the good news is that there’s so much you can do to look after your denim.
It pays to do so too, not just in terms of money but for the planet too. It’s important to remember that while your old grey mom jeans might be out of your sight, they’re probably lying in landfill somewhere clogging up the earth.
So what can we do about it?
While the lived-in and well-loved look works for band tees and Dr Martens, it’s not quite there when it comes to black jeans.
Here are 5 tips you can try to keep your dark denim staying that way.
For fashion advice and general chit-chat, join our Facebook group What To Wear Next.
Wear Next may receive a small commission if you click a link from one of our articles onto a retail website and make a purchase.
Don’t Overwash Them
One of the easiest things you can do is simply to avoid washing them too much.
There are people who say you should never — as in ever — wash your denim. While we’re not that extreme, reducing the amount you wash yours will help to keep them dark.
The Laundess founders Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd suggest that you wash your jeans every 10 wears or when they start to smell.
Spilt something? Spot clean instead.
Wash Them Inside Out
When you do need to wash them, make sure you turn them inside out so that the part that’s exposed to your skin gets cleaned thoroughly.
Keep it Cool
Wash them on cold and set the washer to the gentle cycle for a kinder clean.
The reason for this is that washing your clothes in hot temperatures encourages the dyes to bleed, so keeping it cool will keep them looking fresher for longer.
Skip the Tumble Dryer
Never tumble dry your jeans.
Not only does it damage the fibres in your denim, but it can make them fade too.
While it’s a slower process, air drying your black jeans out of direct sunlight will keep them dark for longer – and it’s kinder for the planet too.
If you’re really serious about keeping your jeans black, you can treat them to seal the dye before you ever wash them.
Many people swear by the vinegar method, where you rinse your jeans in cold water with vinegar for 15 to 30 minutes and let them hang dry. If you don’t want to use vinegar, vodka is said to be a good alternative.
If you’d rather not have a pair of trews that smell like fish and chips, there are plenty of products made especially to preserve dark colours on clothes.
Here are my favourites.
Woolite Dark Protection Laundry Detergent, £3, Ocado – buy now
Ecover Delicate Black & Dark Laundry Liquid, £5, Amazon – buy now
Denim Laundry Wash, £14, The Lab Co – buy now