how to wash denim jackets

How Do You Wash Denim Jackets?

Denim jackets, stemming from a history of timeless style and durable functionality, are essential pieces in many wardrobes. Over their lifespan, they can gather dirt, oil, and the sporadic spills. Proper care and cleaning, considering factors like denim weight, dye transfer, and fabric type, are imperative not just for preserving their aesthetic allure but also extending their wearability.

While denim jackets showcase durable construction, they really do require meticulous washing for maintaining their visual appeal and fabric quality. Several effective methods, such as hand washing, machine washing, and spot cleaning, are the go-to choices. It’s vital to use cool water to avert potential shrinking and color fading. Steer clear of fabric softeners, and wash infrequently to retain the jacket’s integrity.

The following provides in detail the three main methods of washing denim jackets.

Hand Washing Denim Jackets

Hand washing, given its gentle nature, stands out as a favorite for many denim aficionados. This approach ensures the jacket’s longevity and pristine appearance.

  1. Setting Up the Wash Basin: Pour cold water into a basin or tub. Introduce a mild detergent, ensuring even distribution by swirling.
  2. Dipping the Jacket: Position your denim jacket in the water to guarantee total submersion.
  3. Delicate Agitation: With your hands, agitate the water and massage the jacket, focusing on dirtied or stained areas.
  4. Soaking Period: Allow the jacket to bask in the soapy concoction for around 30 minutes, letting the detergent exhibit its efficacy.
  5. Complete Rinsing: Drain the used water and introduce fresh cold water. Dip the jacket, swaying it to dispel any lingering soap.
  6. Rinse Reiteration: To ensure absolute soap removal, repeat the rinsing step.
  7. Water Removal: Tenderly press on the jacket, circumventing any wringing actions that might jeopardize its form.
  8. Drying Method: Position the jacket on a pristine towel, rolling it to siphon off surplus moisture. Subsequently, place it flat on a drying rack or an alternative towel, ensuring it stays out of direct sunlight’s path.

Machine Washing Denim Jackets

For those battling the clock, machine washing offers a handy solution to cleanse denim jackets. Although more rapid, it demands caution to dodge any inadvertent fabric harm.

  1. Pre-wash Steps: Invert the jacket to shield its external surface from possible scuffs and color depletion.
  2. Temperature Control: Consistently select the cold water option on your washing machine, precluding color bleed and undesired shrinking.
  3. Detergent Decision: Opt for a mild detergent tailored for colored or fragile attire.
  4. Load Management: Circumvent cramming the machine to guarantee the jacket’s unhindered movement, which lessens wrinkle and crease formation risks.
  5. Cycle Selection: Engage the machine’s delicate or hand-wash mode to cut down on agitation.
  6. Pockets Patrol: Ensure a pocket-check to preclude any post-wash revelations.
  7. Steering Clear of Softeners: As alluring as they might be, it’s judicious to bypass fabric softeners due to potential residue risks on denim.
  8. Air Drying: Post-washing, promptly extricate the jacket and suspend it in an airy spot, evading direct sunlight which might trigger patchy color lightening.

Spot Cleaning Denim Jackets

Spot cleaning targets specific areas of a denim jacket that might have minor stains or spills, negating the need for a comprehensive wash. This method is perfect for quick fixes.

  1. Analyze the Stain: Before starting, it’s essential to identify the nature of the stain, be it oil-based, liquid, or something else.
  2. Gather Supplies: Depending on the stain type, you might need a mild detergent, stain remover, or even plain water.
  3. Blotting Action: If the stain is fresh, take a clean cloth and gently press on the affected area, absorbing as much of the spill as possible.
  4. Apply Cleaner: Put a small quantity of your chosen cleaning agent onto the stain.
  5. Work on the Stain: With a soft brush or cloth, rub gently in a circular pattern until the stain starts to lift.
  6. Rinse Area: Wet a clean cloth with cold water and press it onto the cleaned spot to wipe away any residue.
  7. Check the Results: Once the spot is clean, inspect the area to ensure the stain is gone. If remnants remain, repeat the process.
  8. Let it Dry: It’s essential to let the cleaned area air dry. Avoid using heat, as this might set any remaining stain particles.


Will my denim jacket shrink if I wash it?

While denim is a sturdy fabric, it’s derived from cotton, which is known to contract when exposed to heat. To reduce the risk of your jacket shrinking, it’s a good idea to use cold water for washing and steer clear of using a hot dryer. Letting your jacket air dry is a safer alternative.

How can I prevent my denim jacket from fading?

Prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals and sunlight can cause denim to lose its vibrant hue. To maintain the rich color of your jacket, it’s wise to turn it inside out before washing. This shields the outer surface from direct contact with detergents and reduces friction with other clothes. Keeping it out of prolonged direct sunlight when drying can also help in retaining its original color.

Should I use fabric softener when washing my denim jacket?

While fabric softeners can make clothes feel softer, they aren’t always the best choice for denim. The residues from fabric softeners can accumulate on the fabric, affecting its texture and appearance. For denim, it’s recommended to skip the softener and let the natural feel of the material shine through.

Should You Iron Denim?

Ironing denim, especially jeans, is not typically necessary due to its rugged nature. However, if you’re aiming for a smoother appearance, there are a few considerations. Firstly, while denim types like selvedge or organic cotton denim might handle ironing better, synthetic mix denim could be more susceptible to heat damage. If your jeans have distressed designs or fraying edges, ironing might further accentuate the wear.

For denim with indigo dye, excessive heat can lead to color fading. If you’ve applied jean patches for denim repair, it’s essential to ensure they’re heat-resistant before ironing. After washing, some jeans might have stiffness, but instead of ironing, consider using starch to achieve a crisp finish without direct heat. Over-ironing can lead to over-washing effects, weakening the fabric. If you’re unsure about ironing, opt for dry cleaning or hang your denim to naturally release wrinkles.

Can I wash my denim jacket with other clothes?

Yes, it’s possible to wash your denim jacket with other garments, but with some precautions. Denim can sometimes bleed color, especially during its initial washes. To prevent this color transfer, it’s a good practice to wash the jacket separately or with similar colored items. Once you’ve washed it a few times and are confident about color stability, you can mix it with other clothes.


Caring for your denim jacket properly ensures it remains a durable and stylish part of your wardrobe for years to come. Whether you choose hand washing, machine washing, or spot cleaning, always prioritize gentle methods and cold water. By following these methods and being mindful of the FAQs, you’ll keep your jacket looking its best.