Black jeans are a wardrobe staple for a reason: they're incredibly versatile. Whether you're popping down to the local shops or getting ready for a night out (ah, remember the days?), the denim number is a fail-safe option. And there's denim cut out there for everyone—be it skinny jeans, mom jeans, wide-leg or kick-flare (to name a few).
But anyone who's owned black jeans knows that, with time, they inevitably fade, turning your jet black trousers into more of a washed-out gray hue—which is great if you're keen to try a more "distressed" look, although many of us buy black jeans because we want precisely that, black jeans.
So, here to help you from replacing your black jeans simply because the color's faded— which is both expensive and wasteful—we’ve put together a guide of how to prevent your jeans from losing their color, including tricks for restoring the original shade and ways to prevent them fading in the future.
While you might not be able to completely stop the color from fading here and there, these techniques will go a long way in prolonging the life of your MVP jeans. In order to solve the problem, though, we must first understand why our jeans fade at all.
Why are my black jeans fading?
Over time, through exposure to water, soap, heat, and sunlight, boldly pigmented items like black jeans start to lose their color. If your wardrobe is mostly black, like mine, you’ll know this struggle all too well. You'll end up with a series of black items that, ultimately, clash with each other because they're different shades of black. And it's all because of fading.
How do you keep black trousers from fading?
While you might not be able to stop your jeans from fading a little here and there, there are loads of things you can use to help extend the life of your black jeans.
Set the dye
With any new pair of black jeans, try setting the dye before washing them for the first time to help lock in the color. To do this, simply soak your jeans in a bath or large bucket, combining cold water with a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt. While it might sound a little odd, locking in the color of new jeans can make a big difference.Continue reading below ↓
Wash your jeans less frequently
Contrary to what you might think, washing your jeans regularly could actually be causing them to fade prematurely. Especially if you’re washing them in a machine. Instead, try spot cleaning your jeans if you get a mark on them, and only washing them entirely every four weeks or so. It’s also recommended that you hand wash jeans rather than throwing them in the machine but, if that's not an option, put your jeans on a ‘gentle’ to avoid an overly rigorous spin cycle.
Use cold water
Over time, hot water and soap can cause the dye to gradually bleed out of clothes. And it makes sense. If you’re trying to remove a stain from your jeans, chances are you would first try washing it in hot soap and water. The thing is, dye behaves similarly to a stain, and can be removed over time when exposed to the same environment.Continue reading below ↓
Invest in color-protecting detergent
To help lock in the color for longer try washing your jeans in cold water and using a detergent specifically designed for dark clothes. If you don’t have a specialized detergent, try adding a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt to your wash. (NOTE: Vinegar can leave a scent on clothes, so it might be best to wash your jeans on their own or with other denim.)
Wash with other dark colors
In the same way you would wash your whites together, make sure to wash your black jeans with similar colors to help avoid fading.Continue reading below ↓
Wash inside out
This might sound like an obvious one, but turning your jeans inside out reduces how much contact the outside of your jeans has with soap and water, and from rubbing against other items of clothing, helping protect the color for longer.
Avoid using the dryer
Always avoid putting your jeans in a dryer, as the heat can make your jeans fade faster. Instead, air dry your jeans on a drying rack or hanging from the belt hooks for minimum creases, and preferably dry out of direct sunlight.
How do you fix faded black jeans?
The best way to restore the color to your black jeans is with black dye. To do this, start by washing your jeans in cold water to ensure the fabric is clean. Then, using a big plastic bucket, bowl, or utility sink, follow the steps on your dye of choice to create the dye bath.
Next, let your jeans soak for the recommended amount of time, stirring occasionally to ensure no sediment forms at the bottom. Once soaked, rinse your jeans under cold water and lock in the color (see method above) before washing in a cold wash and leaving to air dry.
Et voila! Your jeans should look as good as new again.
How can I restore my faded black jeans without dye?
If you’re keen to try other methods before whipping out the dye—which can be a bit messy —WikiHow suggests using black coffee to achieve a similar effect, repeating the process until you’ve reached the desired shade. Their top tip? Opting for a darker blend for the best possible result.
So there you have it, a load of handy tips and tricks for prolonging the life of your black jeans and restoring their faded color.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.