How to Wash a Denim Jacket




how to wash a denim jacket

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Dirty denim jackets get a bad rap. They’re often thought of as the worst type of garment to wear, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! If you know how to wash your jacket in just the right way, it can actually become one of your favorite pieces. So here are some tips on how to wash your denim jacket and keep it looking fresh for years to come.

Can you put a denim jacket in the washing machine

How to Wash a Denim Jacket

1. Turn the Jacket Inside Out

When it comes time to wash your denim jacket, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn it inside out! This simple step will prevent any fading that might occur if your jacket were washed normally. If you forget to turn your jacket inside out before putting it in the washer, don’t worry too much about it as this mistake won’t ruin anything. Just be sure to wash and dry it according to these instructions and then turn it right-side out next time around.

2. Toss It In With Like Colors

Once you’ve turned your jacket inside out, place it in with clothes of a similar color for protection against stains or bleeds getting onto them (this can apply to any of the steps in this process). For example, if you have a white jacket, place it with whites only. A black denim jacket should be placed with other blacks or dark colors too. Or, for that matter, if your jacket has multiple colors on it—say blue and red—place it with those same colors to ensure nothing bleeds onto anything else.

3. Wash and Dry According to Tag Instructions

Before throwing your jacket into the wash machine, take note of what the tag says about washing instructions first! This is more pertinent than you might think because each manufacturer will have their own way of doing things; for instance one may recommend turning inside-out when washing while another might say air dry only. Follow these guidelines first and foremost.

4. Put It In the Dryer (Maybe)

After your denim jacket has finished washing, you can either let it air dry or put it in the dryer on a low setting. The type of material for which your jacket is made will determine how long it should be turned inside out in the dryer, if at all. For jackets made with 100% cotton or other natural fibers, 3 to 5 minutes is usually enough time to get most of the moisture out of the fabric before turning it right-side out again. On the other hand, putting a polyester/synthetic blend jacket through 3 to 5 minutes in this same machine would likely be overkill because these materials tend to hold moisture more so than cotton and other natural fibers. If you have a synthetic denim jacket, try putting it in the dryer on its highest setting for just 1 minute to see how that works.

5. Hang Dry (Preferably)

If your jacket is made of 100% cotton or another natural fiber, follow these steps as well: Take it out of the dryer when finished drying, turn it inside-out again if necessary, and hang up to air dry in an area where it won’t get bumped around too much such as outside or on a laundry rack indoors. Another thing to consider before hanging your jacket up by itself is whether or not the material needs time to shrink back down to size after washing. For example, many non-stretch 100% cotton jackets are pre-shrunk, but if yours is made of a stretchy material then you’ll probably want to put it through the dryer one more time just to be sure.

Tips to Remember While Washing your Denim Jacket at Home

In addition to the helpful advice in the article, there are some other things to keep in mind while washing your denim jacket at home. For example, it’s always good to remember that machine drying can warp or shrink it. And if you must put it in the dryer, then make sure that you use low heat and that you remove it promptly once all of the moisture has evaporated. Also, if you find any stains on your jacket when you take it out of storage at the end of a season (or after having washed it), then try scrubbing them quickly with the gentle side of a sponge before they have a chance to set in too deeply.

how to wash a denim jacket

What to Do If My Denim Jacket Smells Bad?

If your denim jacket has a mildew smell, you can try washing it with white vinegar to make the smells go away. White vinegar is simple and inexpensive, and you probably already have some in your cupboard!

1. Fill a wash basin with cool water (you’ll need about ¼ cup of vinegar for this). Then add your denim jacket into the mix and let it soak for 15 minutes. You won’t need to turn it inside out because white vinegar isn’t nearly as harsh on fabric as detergents are (even when used excessively)

2. Transfer the garment from the wash basin onto any type of hook or hanger that can hold its weight.

3. Find an empty bucket big enough to fit over the wash basin while still allowing it to be covered. Then put the basin into the bucket and cover with a spare piece of fabric that’ll keep dirt, pet fur and other things from falling in (you can use an old pillow case).

4. Set your wash basin over top of the covered bucket, then pull back the cloth covering and let gravity do its thing overnight. By morning the foul smell should have dissipated significantly or gone away entirely!

How Do You Spot Treat Stains on a Denim Jacket?

If you find any stains on your jacket when you take it out of storage at the end of a season (or after having washed it), then try scrubbing them quickly with the gentle side of a sponge before they have a chance to set in too deeply. Simply dampen the sponge and give the stained area a few quick rubs until the stain begins to lift. Then let your jacket air dry and repeat until the stain is gone!

Why Use Fabric Softener When Washing a Denim Jacket?

Using fabric softener on your denim jacket can leave behind things like wax, which will make the surface shiny and also attract more dirt and dust than usual. And if you wash your jacket frequently, you can find yourself having to deal with this wax buildup and that’s when your beautiful denim jacket will start to look dull and dingy.

How Often Should I Wash My Denim Jacket?

If you’re wearing your denim jacket all the time it could get a little ripe but washing more than three times per season is overkill. If your jacket is in storage for any length of time, then air it out every once in a while to keep the smell away and if you’re someone who uses dry cleaning as your main care option then you should strongly consider switching over to home washing at least every three months.

Can You Put a Denim Jacket in the Washing Machine?

No. Denim jackets should never be put in the washing machine because they’re made of a heavier cotton that shouldn’t be treated like lighter weight materials like t-shirts and jeans. Heavy clothing items are also more likely to come out of even the gentlest cycle with wrinkled hems and cuffs so you’ll want to avoid them as well.

On a lighter note, denim jackets are fairly simple to clean at home because they don’t have any zippers or buttons to worry about rusting and the fabric is almost always pre-shrunk so you shouldn’t have to worry about shrinkage!

Do Denim Jackets Shrink When Washed?

Most denim jackets are pre-shrunk because they’re 100% cotton. This means that your jacket shouldn’t shrink much if at all, even if you put it in the dryer on a regular basis. But 100% shrinkage is not guaranteed and although that might sound kind of like one of those urban legends about how long you can safely microwave a “quartz” dish, there are actually quite a few ways that you can accidentally shrink your denim jacket at home if you’re not careful!

The most common way to shrink the sleeves of your beloved jean jacket is by turning it inside out during washing and drying. If you turn the inner sleeve fabric on both sides in so that it’s touching, then it will have no choice but to shrink up and you’ll never be able to wear that cuff over your hand again!

Another way to cause irreversible shrinking is by using too much heat when machine drying. You should only put your denim jacket in the dryer for 1 minute on its highest setting just to make sure everything’s dry before you take it out and hang it up to finish drying.

If you’re still unsure, then the easiest way to know whether or not your denim jacket is 100% cotton is if there’s any kind of a fiber content label on the inside tag (look at the seam just below the collar for this). If it’s made from any other kind of fabric, then you should always wash it on the delicate cycle and dry it on low to prevent shrinking.


If you want to keep your denim jacket looking as good as new, it’s important that you know how to wash a denim jacket. The article provides great tips and tricks for cleaning a denim garment without damaging the fabric or color.

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