Some people swear that you don't need to wash your jeans — like Carl Chiara, the director of brand concepts and special projects for Levi Strauss & Co., who says you should only wash your jeans every six months — and others firmly believe that you should wash your denim every single time you wear it. So how often should you really wash your jeans? While opinion varies from person to person, and there are different rules for different kinds of denim, the general consensus is that you should wash your jeans after about five wears.
In an interview with Who What Wear , Mary Bruno, the head of design for J. Brand Jeans said that you should aim to wash your jeans after wearing them roughly four to five times, because the brighteners in laundry detergents can drastically mess with the color of your jeans if you wash them too often. She also recommends that you always wash your jeans in cold water, too, to help preserve the dyes for longer. As for washing your jeans inside out? Recommended, but not necessary.
When it comes to distressed denim, experts at the Laundress, a company that makes eco-friendly soaps and detergents, recommend washing them on a delicate cycle, and if possible, in a mesh bag, so they don't get snagged on anything in the washing machine.
Raw denim, or denim that hasn't been pre-washed, has a slightly different set of rules because you just shouldn't wash raw denim, like at all, for at least the first six months. It might sound gross, but it turns out that the bacteria levels are completely normal even if you don't wash them. And if you do wash them (which you seriously don't have to do), wash them by themselves on a delicate cycle in cold water, then hang to dry.
Who knew denim could be so complicated? But rest assured, if you're washing your jeans every week or two, you're probably doing it right.