How To Wash 100% Cotton Jeans (Comprehensive Guide)

If you have jean that is made up of 100% cotton, which is likely the case because most jean are in fact made up of 100% cotton, here are the procedures to follow in order to properly treat it right and avoid causing damage.

Turn the jeans inside out, put it in the washer along side other equally structured clothes like sweatshirts and pants and wash in cold water using the delicate cycle and a mild detergent like woolite dark. Machine dry or hang in a shaded area to dry crisp.

How often do you wash 100 cotton jeans?

When it comes to washing 100 % cotton jeans, it’s completely possible and in fact recommended.

Buthow often should you be washing it is now the challenging question.

There are “so called internet experts” that advice you only wash jeans once in a blue moon, or never at all.

Not only is this advice unhygienic, it also causes destruction of the jean fibers because the body oils and dirt that collect on them will not be washed away and will build up overtime and cause a huge deterioration in quality of the fabric.

Another thing is that because the fibers are not cleaned, they build up smell quite faster, and sometimes really terrible smell. 

So 100% percent cotton jeans must be washed and when it comes to how often you should wash them, a general rule of thumb is “whenever they’ve lost freshness”, which takes about 4 to 6 to make that happen.

Sometimes it may take longer than that time (for people who are not quite active), but the key thing is to just find out when your denim jeans has lost freshness and give it a warm and reviving bath during your next laundry session.

You may be wondering how you can be able to tell when your jeans have begun to lose freshness.

Here’s how. 

The jeans would feel saggy whenever you wear them, especially in the knee region (and then gets pronounced with ever wear). They will also begin to smell in the waist region, and could look visibly dirty.

Now the rule of thumb of washing after every 4 to 6 wears is a great way to keep your jeans looking sharp and nice, but you should also learn to toss it out of the window when ever you have stain build up on your jeans. 

In these situations, and when the stain is quite big, make sure to spot treat it immediately, and toss the jeans in the washer for a quick bath.

This will prevent the stains from setting in and causing the fibers to deteriorate pretty fast.

Steps prior to washing?

So now we know how often to wash 100% cotton jeans. How do you go about it then?

Turn it inside out

When it comes to washing jeans, you should always wash them inside out for two reasons actually. 

The first is to prevent the breakage of the outer fibers, which would give the jeans a kind of worn out look, and the second is to prevent excessive color loss (especially if the jeans is quite new) which would cause it to look faded.

Zip the zipper

Next is to make sure you zip up the zipper in order to prevent it from hooking onto parts of the washer, or even to other clothes in the washer and cause destruction of the jeans or tear in them respectively. Make sure to button anywhere that needs to be buttoned too.


When it comes to pairings you can make with jeans, feel free to wash them with other loads but make sure the jeans is old and doesn’t bleed, and no cloth in the load also bleeds.

If the jean does run off colors, then you should only wash it alone, or with other jeans of similar color.

When it comes to the weight of load you should be pairing with jeans, ensure that they’re not on the delicate or light side of things, because jean does have a hard build up and can rub against the fibers of these delicate fabrics and cause them to break. 

Jean is normally a safe pair with all beddings like blankets, bedsheets, flat sheets, pillowcase, etc. 

Do not, however, pair jeans with fabrics that are a little bit hard like curtains or ruga, which would do the reverse in this case.

Washer or hand wash?

So when it comes to washing, should you wash by machine or should you wash by hand?

As far as washing jeans is concerned, it is always more efficient and effective to wash them using the washer, especially when the jeans are pretty soiled and smelly.

The washing machine does a better job at removing body oils, smell and stains than if you wash by hand.

For the washer settings, opt for a cold water wash. This is to prevent the jeans from shrinking and also from running off colors in the washing machine especially if they are new or fairly new.

Then also a delicate cycle which would serve the same purpose as cold water wash plus it would help to protect the fibers of the cotton.


For detergent, almost any mild detergent would work, but most people like the woolite dark detergent from woolite that seeks to preserve the intensity of dark clothes, and also the mild detergent from persil that preserves color – Persil Color.

Sun drying or tumble dryer?

Both methods of drying are actually okay for 100% cotton jeans.

If you’re pressed on time, go for the dryer, but make sure to opt for the lowest settings in order to protect the jeans from shrinkage as well as fading.

Make sure to also pair the jeans with similarly weighted clothes if pairing.

If you feel like you’re air drying, then hang the jeans by the waist outside away from direct sunlight which would cause the fibers to fade. You can also dry them flat (away from sun) and make sure to shape the jeans properly before allowing them to dry.

How to maintain 100% cotton jeans

100% jean is a low maintenance fabric. With just a little effort applied, your jean should be able to keep a lengthy duration of time without any problems.

One of the most important maintenance tricks to know about jeans is that whenever they pick up stains and you allow them to sit and settle, it takes off chuck of “health” from that specific area of the cloth, as the stain will sit deep with time and eventually become permanently set.

Not only does this take part of the aesthetics away, it also wears down the affected spot.

So whenever you notice stains on your denim jeans, make sure to treat them immediately by: blotting first with a moistened cotton swab, then detergent and then a moistened swab again before putting it out to dry.

If the stain spots are a bit scattered or large, after spot treating them, be sure to put the jeans in the washing machine to clean properly.

One important thing also. 

When you have a jean that is torn on one part, make sure to fix the tear before putting the jean in the washer as the friction of all other clothes around that area or even of the washer parts can cause it to become more pronounced.

And lastly, as much as you should avoid not washing your jeans completely, make sure to avoid washing them frequently too as frequent washing does contribute greatly to fabric destruction.