Keeping black jeans, well, black is no easy task, fading being an unfortunate (and inevitable) reality. But we knew there had to be a few things we could do to keep it to a minimum. So we consulted our denim team for their tips on maintaining that deep, just-bought-’em black. And boy, did they deliver.
Overall, the agreed trick is to limit spins in the washing machine. (Cue the chorus of “Are you telling me not to wash my jeans? Gross.”) We know sometimes it’s just absolutely necessary to give your jeans a good clean though, so here’s how to do it and still keep them in tip-top shape (slash shade).
Set the dye before their first wash. Soak your jeans—inside out—in a bath of cold water with one cup of white vinegar and one tablespoon of salt. This helps set the dye into your denim before a disruptive wash.
When you can, mist instead of wash. If you’re trying to maintain that no-wash method but need to freshen up, fill a spray bottle with half cold water and half vodka (really). Mist your jeans with the solution, let them dry, then toss them in the freezer overnight. This won’t eliminate everything, but it will kill some of the odor-causing bacteria.
Use common household cleaners to remove stains. Not being able to see most stains is just one of the blessings of black denim. But here are a couple of tips, just in case: Pine Sol removes grease stains and Mötsenböcker’s Lift Off removes paint without penetrating too deep into the denim and lifting the color out.
Wash them delicately. Whether you machine wash or hand wash, make sure you’re doing it gently, either on a gentle setting or by hand (which is always optimal). Detergents like Woolite Dark or Cheer for Darks work great. Your last, very important to-do: Turn them inside out before they soak.
Do not put them in the dryer. Air drying prevents fiber breakdown, making it the best way to prolong the richness of the color. Dry your denim right side out and hanging by the back belt loop (see picture above). The weight of the denim will help prevent wrinkles.
Armed with this knowledge, go forth and keep those Skinny Skinny Jeans as black as the day you found them at our Denim Bar.
Photography by Angi Welsch.