Fashion Gripes: Having to handwash jeans. And everything else.

Fashiongripes_2   

The attractive picture above? Oh, that’s just the water in my bath after I washed my black skinny jeans in it last week. Yes, I wash my jeans in the bath. Well, the sinks at Fashion Police HQ are tiny, and the jeans, they are long, so the bath seems to be the best option.

I mean, clearly the washing machine would be the absolute best option. I can’t stand having to hand wash denim: it gets so heavy when it’s wet, and it really hurts my back having to bend over the bath to wring them out, but it has to be done. And why does it have to be done? Because every time I’ve tried to wash my black or indigo coloured jeans in the washing machine recently, they’ve come out grey. Even when I wash them on the lowest possible temperature, on the delicate cycle. Hand washing in cold water, then, seems to be the only way to keep denim looking its best. And that kinda sucks.

The brown fluid you can see in the bath there, you see? Is not dirt: I’m not that filthy. No, that’s the dye coming out of the jeans. There’s a lot of it, isn’t there? So much, that if I washed these jeans with something that wasn’t uniformly black itself, it would be by the time the jeans had finished with it. And even if I washed the jeans alone, in the washing machine, I’m willing to bet they’d lose a lot more dye than that, and would come out grey.

So handwashing it is. *Sigh*.

I should probably point out here that I don’t buy particularly cheap jeans, and that the "turning grey" issue has happened to me with a couple of different brands now, hence the "having to treat my jeans like small, delicate children at bath time" thing.

What about you? Do you hand wash your jeans, or do you risk them in the machine?

11 Comments

  • March 10, 2008

    Nancy

    I usually just pop mine in the washer. They aren’t expensive jeans, and I’m sure the washer is wearing them out before their time. I have a pair of cords that say line dry, so I don’t put them in the dryer, but my jeans get the same treatment as the towels.

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  • March 10, 2008

    heather

    Snort! No. 🙂 I have had this issue with clothes before and refuse to wear something I can’t through in the washer (all right–I am a mom of three and work from home–as much as I love fashion I cannot justify coddling a pair of jeans or any other article of clothing for that matter.) That said you may want to check out this site http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/FAQ/settingdye.shtml which has explanations about clothes that bleed and what to do about it. It isn’t that encouraging but it may help. I know I have found that several of the clothes I got that did bleed (while retaining most of their color) just needed few washes to get the excess out while others obviously hadn’t been treated after dying (usually cheap clothes) and continued to bleed into other colors in the same article of clothing–those ones get returned.

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  • March 10, 2008

    cristina

    I just throw it in the washer. If it’s not tough enough to survive the washing machine, I don’t want to own it, (also gives me an excuse to buy more clothes).
    About the dying thing, when I first moved to Europe from Australia a year ago, I kept cross dying all sorts of things even clothes that had never dyed on me before in Oz. I can’t figure out if it’s the machine, the powder, the water or some other factor. I gave up trying to sort out that riddle and blessed with the fact that I have a very small washer and a very large wardrobe I’ve learnt to be very specific about separating my colours.

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  • March 10, 2008

    Kate

    I’ve got no qualms about hand washing things when necesasry–wool sweaters, my own handknits, etc.–but jeans? Nuh uh!
    It helps that I’m not so fashion-forward as to own (much less wear) black skinny jeans. Boot-cut Levis all the way! 🙂

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  • March 10, 2008

    The Fashion Police

    Kate – it happens with boot cuts, too for me! I don’t think it has anything to do with the cut of the jean, it’s the dark wash that causes the problem.
    It is a hugely tedious procedure, and I have to admit that I usually try to avoid buying clothes that need to be pampered (and I avoid dry clean only items like the plague – I just can’t be bothered with the expense and the hassle of it) but the jeans I can’t avoid. I AM very bad at washing things in general, though. This is why almost all of my knickers are grey.

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  • March 10, 2008

    Miss Britt

    I wash them – but I don’t dry them. I find that the drying does a lot more damage to the denim than the washing.
    OH – and I wash them inside out, cold water, blah blah blah – but it’s the inside out that does the most good.

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  • March 10, 2008

    Helen

    No, I don’t hand-wash my jeans. I can handle dark grey, it doesn’t look half bad on jeans. I do hand-wash all items that contain both black and white parts, however, because otherwise it would soon be a combination of black and grey. Underwear is the worst in that matter, but I have learned my lesson and try to avoid buying knickers that are black with white trimmings, however adorable they look.

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  • March 10, 2008

    margaret

    I’ve only owned one pair of black jeans in my life, and they looked washed-out after a few turns in the washer. That’s why I’d much rather buy a nice pair of black cotton pants or other fabric that holds the dye. (I’m a mom, too, and I just can’t handle clothes that need any sort of special treatment.)

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  • March 10, 2008

    Kerry

    Try washing your jeans in heavily salted water. It’s supposed to set the dye. I’ve also heard that soaking in dilute vinegar works the same.
    After that, you can wash them normally.

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  • March 11, 2008

    Cadi

    Woolite for darks works great for me. I also iron the jeans first, or give them a trip through the dryer, solo, on hot. Helps set the dye.

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  • April 9, 2009

    Hoshi

    One fabulous word- Talbots. Their jeans are high quality, fit like a charm, and machine wash so well you can hardly tell the difference. (They are, however, a tad pricey. Which is the reason I only have one pair.)

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