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Denim Care Guide

Gap’s been making iconic women's and men's jeans since 1969.
In this denim care guide, we share some helpful tips and tricks we’ve learnt along the way, on how best to look after your denim.

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How to wash jeans

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When you do come to washing your jeans – handwashing is best to retain shape and colour.
Else a cooler wash in the washing machine will also help a pair of jeans maintain its original colour and fit. Washing on a temperature too hot will also cause jeans to fade and lose their colour over time.

It’s also recommended to wash the jeans inside out, and also on their own in the machine, as overcrowding will cause extra creasing to the jeans. Plus, always take the jeans out of the washing machine as soon after the cycle has finished as possible, as this also helps avoid further creasing.

How often should you wash jeans?

To prolong the life of jeans, it’s recommended to wash jeans as little as possible, even up to every 10 wears. Obviously if jeans have become muddy, they will need a full wash, however between washes, if jeans are not especially dirty, a spot clean is recommended on certain areas instead, leaving the full wash for another day. If jeans can be treated between washes = even better for the planet. Top tip: Jeans can actually be placed in the freezer (in a sealed air proof bag) for 24 hours. This will freshen the jeans by killing any bacteria and eliminating any odours.

Should you tumble dry jeans?

No, you should not tumble dry jeans, this can cause denim to shrink and lose its shape. Once jeans have been washed, air drying outside, or laying the jeans flat is the best way for them to dry out.

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How to hang jeans on the washing line

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You should hang jeans upside down on the washing line and peg them by the bottom of each leg. The water will run to the waistband of the jeans helping them dry quicker and reduce wrinkles.

How do you iron jeans?

If your jeans have been dried flat, or outside in the natural air on a warmer day, they will hopefully not need to be ironed. However if creases have appeared on your jeans, once they are dry, or almost dry, your jeans can be ironed. Choose a temperature suitable for cotton, and place a piece of clean fabric, such as a tea towel, between the iron and your jeans when it comes to ironing them. Start by straightening out the pockets and ironing the legs first.

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How to fold jeans

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The best way to fold jeans is to start by holding the jeans by the waistband. Fold one leg on top of the other and then fold in half.

How is it best to store jeans?

Jeans are fairly robust, so both hanging jeans or folding jeans to store in a wardrobe or drawer is fine. Folding jeans is beneficial as a space saving method. Avoid folding them too tight to keep them crease free. When storing jeans, alternate the waistbands as you stack them. If you can store jeans next to each other horizontally instead of stacking you will find jeans more easily and avoid creasing other pairs.

Are there any extra care tips for looking after jeans?

Jeans, denim jackets and denim shirts can be treated with special denim care products if you wish to help prolong their life for even longer. Attirecare is one brand who create unique plant-based denim care products (crafted from natural essential oils), that can be used to treat your denim.

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How to keep black jeans from fading

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Avoid using the washing machine to prevent black jeans from fading. Hand washing will help maintain their colour for longer. If you prefer to use a washing machine opt for shorter washes and cooler temperature. Don’t wash black jeans above 30 degrees. Turning them inside out when washing is also recommended. Soaking black jeans in vinegar before washing can help keep their colour also.

How can I customise my denim?

A current trend on TikTok is customising and upcycling denim jackets and jeans. This could be through adding embellishments to create that personal touch, or by painting on your favourite music artists and lyrics, to wear when attending their concert. There are plenty of crafting options to make your customisation project super easy, from iron-on transfers, fabric adhesive and hot glue, to fabric paint and textile metallic foil. Not forgetting good old safety pins! Even for someone with limited skills, there’s quite literally no excuse not to bring your creative vision to life. Here’s more ideas on injecting some individuality into your denim:


Think about infusing your denim with a unique flair through embroidery. You might sew a lyric or an album title onto the back of your jacket, or hand-embroidered floral patterns are also a good choice. If you don’t quite know where to start, the running stitch is the easiest to master and it makes light work of borders and outlines. If you pencil your lines onto your denim, you can easily follow along. Complement this with our other tips for a quick makeover.

Temporary customisation

Think about infusing your denim with a unique flair through embroidery. You mIf you just want to add a temporary statement, adorn your jeans or jacket with enamel pins, buttons, pearls, feathers, lace or appliqué patches, so you can easily remove them if you want a more low-key look, or change your mind. For placement, the lapel on a denim jacket or across the back is the easiest place to start.


You can easily recreate a retro feel by reviving your older, more lived-in denim with fringing. To fringe your jeans, first remove the hem and then mark how high you’d want the fringe to go. A couple of inches above the ankle is usually good. Use a seam ripper to carefully cut up to your mark along the seam. Next, cut 2cm wide strips up the denim from where the hem was to your mark, and repeat until you’ve done all 360 degrees or for as much as you’d like. You should notice many small loose threads along where you’ve cut - this is the fun part. Start pulling any threads that run upwards (ignore any going down), and you’ll begin to see your threads fray and fringe.

A touch of sparkle

Glow up with reflective elements like rhinestones, metallic discs or sequins. Embrace your inner mirrorball by adorning your pockets, seams and collars with glitter. If you want a temporary fix, non-permanent spray fabric adhesives make swapping details really easy while you try things out. For those who want to make their outfits dance-proof, there are a host of really durable fabric glues available to make sure those diamonds and discs stay put.

Sketches / Painting

If you wish to add wording to your jacket, you could opt to buy pre-made iron-on lettering to create your slogan of choice. For a more custom aesthetic, use a computer to design and print out your wording, then trace the outline onto your jacket, or if you're handy with a paintbrush, use fabric paint to create wording, an image, or even a portrait picture. Finish off by filling in the lettering using fabric paint or textile foil for a metallic look, or if you’re not afraid to invest extra time, use individual beads or diamantés fixed with a hot glue gun.

What do you do with jeans once you no longer wish to keep them?

When your jeans no longer fit you, or you’re ready to say goodbye to a pair, always consider passing these jeans on to a friend, donate them to a charity shop, or to somewhere that recycles fabrics – denim is a great fabric to reuse for creating new garments. And by making more sustainable choices, this helps reduce landfill waste, too.

Are Gap’s jeans responsibly made?

100% of Gap’s denim is now responsibly made using our global water-saving Washwell programme. This means that compared to conventional wash methods, Gap’s Washwell initiative uses at least 20% less water. So far, saving 447 million litres of water since 2016 – enough to fill 894 million water bottles. So when you do need to invest in a new pair of jeans, you can be confident Gap jeans will help do good, as well as look good. Check out our women’s denim fit guide, for help on finding the right pair of jeans for you.

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