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How To Wash Black Jeans So They Never Fade (7 Easy Steps)

How to wash black jeans.

Black jeans are a wardrobe staple. They match everything, can be dressed up or down, and work almost any time of the year. The problem with black jeans is that you can very easily ruin them in the wash. If you are ready to learn how to wash black jeans the right way, we have you covered. Stop replacing your black jeans every year, and learn how to 

How To Wash Black Jeans

Wash black jeans with other dark colors only after a pre-soak with vinegar and salt. Washing dark denim and black jeans inside out help keep black jeans from fading and from transferring their color to your other clothing. 

Step By Step Process To Wash Black Jeans 

The step-by-step process for washing black jeans is not labor intensive. However, I recommend that you do a few pairs of black and dark denim simultaneously to save yourself the hassle and make laundry day a bit easier. 

1. Spot treat first (If Possible) 

Do your jeans really need to be washed? When we wash dark clothes too often, they will eventually lose their color. To keep black jeans from fading, see if you can spot-treat or clean them up without putting them through an entire wash cycle. 

2. Pre-soak with white vinegar and salt

If you pre-soak your jeans with a mixture of vinegar and salt, the dye in the jeans will set (and be less likely to fade in the wash). To set the dye, you must: 

  • Place the jeans inside out in cold water so they are submerged completely 
  • Add one cup of white vinegar
  • Add one tablespoon of salt 

Let the black jeans sit in this cold water/vinegar/salt solution for about one hour. When it’s finished, you can move to the next steps. 

3. Always wash inside out 

When pre-soaking and when washing black jeans, make sure to turn them inside out first. When jeans go through the wash with their good side facing out, the friction and contact with other fabrics and materials can encourage faster fading, something we want to avoid with all dark fabrics. 

In addition to washing inside out, be sure not to overload your washing machine. When you pack clothing items tightly together, it causes them to rub against each other more and release the dyes in the yarn. 

4. Hand wash or wash with like colors

Hand washing helps to keep clothes looking newer. However, it is more time consuming. In addition, depending on how dirty your jeans are, hand washing can be a lot of work. 

You can hand wash or machine wash your black jeans, but always make sure you do it with other dark clothes. 

5. Cold water & gentle cycle 

There are two problems with warm water and black jeans. The first is that warm water loosens and then releases the dye in the jeans. The second problem is that hot water can shrink your black jeans. 

Nothing worse than a pair of faded black jeans that are now too tight to wear! 

A gentle cycle creates a little less agitation and is recommended to prevent fabric bleeding. 

Some washing machines also have a hand wash setting that can be a good option; essentially, you are looking for the lowest setting. 

6. Specialized detergent for dark colors 

If you plan on machine washing, use detergent specially formulated for dark clothes. The laundry detergent you choose has a big impact on the longevity of your clothes. We recommend Woolite Dark Pacs if you prefer laundry pods or Woolite Darks Liquid Detergent if you prefer liquid detergent. They are both available on Amazon.

7. Air dry or very low heat setting 

Finally, you should hang your jeans to dry; air drying is best. Do not hang them outside in direct sunlight. Simply hang the jeans in a well-ventilated room and let them air dry overnight. 

If you are in a real hurry, you can use a tumble dryer setting, but it could cause the black jeans to fade prematurely. 

How do you wash new black jeans for the first time? 

When washing a pair of new jeans for the first time, follow the exact same process we recommended with spot treatment for small stains, pre soaking, and then hand washing inside with other clothes of the same color. 

Letting jeans soak in that vinegar and salt treatment sets the dye and encourages it to stay in place for future uses! 

How often should you wash black jeans?

Wash your black jeans every two or three times you wear them. Before you wash jeans, consider whether or not a spot treatment could do the trick. To keep jeans from fading, it’s vital to be smart about how and when you throw them in the washing machine. 

There is a rumor out there about putting a pair of black jeans in the freezer overnight instead of washing them. This has been proven to be ineffective. Save the room in your freezer for leftovers, and use the outlined method to wash black jeans. 

Can I wash black jeans with regular clothes?

You can wash black jeans with regular clothes of similar colors. If you have a few black shirts or other black pants, that is entirely acceptable. However, that new white T-shirt you wore with the black jeans needs to go in a separate wash

Not only will this help keep jeans from fading, but it will save your white shirt!

Does washing or drying fade black jeans?

Washing jeans in hot water or putting them through a harsh wash cycle will encourage fading. In addition, high-heat dryer settings or drying in direct sunlight can also fade and even shrink your jeans. 

Do black jeans bleed in the wash?

Black jeans not pre-soaked in vinegar and salt solution tend to bleed in the wash. Not only will it be hard to get your black jeans to look the same again, but you may also ruin other clothes in the washing machine.

If the dye starts to release from your black jeans, it will release into the water inside the washing machine. Light color clothes can easily become stained during this process.

Why do black jeans fade so fast? 

Black jeans fade quickly because they are made with a lot of dye. When washed improperly, the dye fades and transfers to other clothes. The lighter your jeans, the easier it is to keep them from fading.   

The dyeing process of jeans occurs through oxidation, and color binds to the yarn. You can think of it as the dye sits on the yarn, but it does not soak all the way into the center. Over time the color starts to wash away, and you see the part of the yarn that was not dyed.

How do you make black jeans black again?

Once your black jeans lose their color, you must dye them again to get the color back. This process may or may not return your jeans to the original shade of black. Properly washing new jeans and ensuring you don’t wash your jeans too often is the best way to prevent having to re-dye your jeans. 

Final Thoughts 

Let’s keep your favorite black jeans from turning into your favorite gray jeans! This process of how to wash black jeans will help. It may take a few more minutes to avoid this color transfer but to keep your favorite pair of black jeans in tip-top shape; it will be well worth it.


Britt Olizarowicz