A dark pair of jeans on a wooden table

The Old Person’s Guide to Keeping Jeans from Fading

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You can usually tell someone’s age by whether they like their jeans dark and looking brand new, or faded and ripped to shreds. I am old (and thicc) so I am in the first camp. I want my jeans to stay dark as long as possible.

Now, I’m sure someone my age or even older is going to jump in the comments: Not all old people! Simmer down. You can wear them however you want. I will, too, and I like to keep my jeans from fading. Here’s how I do it.

Set the Dye to Keep Jeans Dark

When I was a kid, jeans weren’t pre-washed so they’d turn your legs blue the first time you wore them. So, we learned how to set the dye as soon as we got them home.

To do this, wash them by themselves in a cold, gentle cycle with 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt—no detergent, no fabric softener. Set the cycle to soak for an hour then run a cold rinse.

Spot Treat to Protect them

Instead of washing your jeans every time, spot clean any spills with a cool, soapy rag then rinse the area with plain water to remove the soap residue.

Need to freshen certain areas? Sprinkle them with baking soda overnight then shake it into the toilet or trash the next morning. No more odors.

Washing Jeans Properly

When you wash jeans, turn them inside out so friction doesn’t rub away the dye. Then use a cold water wash and rinse cycle, preferably with a detergent specifically for dark-colored clothing.

And when sorting your laundry, wash your jeans in a separate load of with other jeans. That way if any of them bleed dye it will boost the color of the other pairs.

Best Way to Dry Jeans

Using a dryer fades jeans. The heat allows the fibers to open and release dye, which the friction rubs away. So, whenever you can, line dry your jeans. And if you’ve got to tumble dry them, then keep them inside out and use the the low-heat setting on the shortest cycle possible.

Now, if only jeans meant to sit at our actual waists would come back in style — and shirts that reached our waists, too!

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