We absolutely love a pair of dark wash jeans. They're slimming and chic and everything you want women's jeans to be. But indigo dyes (which create that rich, dark color) are extremely unstable and prone to fading. So how do you keep dark jeans dark? Here are a few tips.
Whether you prefer skinny or straight leg jeans, you can actually set the dye to lessen the chances of fading. Before you wash them for the first time, give them a good soak (anywhere from an hour to overnight) in cold water mixed with a cup of vinegar and a couple teaspoons of salt. Be sure to turn them inside out first, because you'll want to wash them afterward.
Most of us wash our clothes way more than is necessary. And with modern stretch fabrics, "But they're stretched out" isn't even a valid excuse, anymore. Let your jeans air out a little before you put them back in the closet, give them a strategic spritz of fabric refresher from time to time, and only wash them when they're truly dirty.
Make a rule: Absolutely no clothing will be washed with towels. Ever. Seriously – you might as well wash your clothes with sandpaper. Terry cloth is extremely abrasive and will fade and abrade other fabrics – whether it's your favorite skinny jeans or t-shirt – quicker than anything.
Always – always – wash your jeans inside out. Again, it's an abrasion thing. You don't want anything rubbing the dark color off. And make sure you wash all your dark jeans together, so they keep their color to themselves.
Keep using the vinegar! Add some to the rinse every time to continue setting the color. And, no – a vinegar rinse will not make your jeans smell like a pickle.
The fading that happens in the wash is nothing compared to what happens in the dryer. Heat…abrasion…it's a perfect storm for sucking the color out of your jeans. (Not to mention what the heat does to stretch fibers.) Hang your jeans and let them air dry. Yes, it'll take longer. Yes, they'll be a little stiff. But dark jeans are worth the wait – and worth wearing for 10 minutes until they soften up.
And that's it. Basically, not caring for your jeans is the best way to keep them dark. What could be easier?