Nothing beats the classic blue jean for comfort and style, but living in your jeans makes them subject to showing every adventure—from yesterday's coffee to last Friday's hike. Fortunately, cleaning and caring for your jeans is easy.

Making a single pair of jeans takes a lot of water—from growing cotton to producing and dyeing denim. There is a lot we can do to reduce the environmental impact from our jeans, but the most important thing we can do is use them as long as possible.

Want to extend the life of your jeans and reduce your footprint? Wash your jeans less frequently, wash in cold water, and line dry your jeans. Properly caring for your jeans will not only help the environment, but also help preserve their color and fit. There are detailed instructions on how to do this in the guide below.

Want to do more? Patch your jeans when they get a hole or try hemming your jeans so that they can be relengthened as kids grow. When you can no longer use those jeans, pass them along to someone else or upcycle them into something awesome—don't let our precious water go to waste.

Learn more about the environmental impact of your jeans at

  1. Lay your jeans out.
    • Lay your jeans out.

    • Zip up the fly on your jeans.

    • Don't forget to remove anything you may have left in the pockets.

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  2. Button up your jeans.
    • Button up your jeans.

    • If your jeans have buttons or any other fasteners, be sure to close those as well.

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    • Put your arm through the pant leg of your jeans and grasp the hem.

    • Turn the jeans inside out by pulling the hem of each leg through the waistband.

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    • Place your jeans in the washer.

    • You can wash other clothes with your jeans, if they are dark colored.

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    • Set the load size.

      • You can adjust this to whatever size load of laundry you are doing. Just be sure not to overload the washer, which not only is bad for your machine but creates additional wear on your clothes.

      • Not sure what overloaded is? Check the guidelines in your user manual. A good rule of thumb is to only fill your washer 2/3 full.

    • Set the water temperature on the washing machine to cold/cold.

      • Hot water can damage the fibers of your jeans and cause them to shrink. Never wash your jeans in hot water.

    • Start the washing machine on a gentle or normal wash cycle.

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    • With the water running, pour in your laundry soap, following the instructions on the bottle.

      • Never pour laundry detergent directly on clothing; always pour it into the water. Pouring soap directly onto the clothes may cause discoloration.

      • We recommend Seventh Generation Free and Clear liquid laundry detergent.

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    • After the washer has stopped, remove your jeans from the washing machine and take them out to your laundry line.

      • Never dry jeans in the dryer. The heat and tumbling can damage the fibers and shrink the jeans. Instead, hang your jeans up to dry using a laundry line, towel rack or even your shower head.

      • You'll want to leave your jeans inside out to prevent color fading as they dry.

    • Take one pant leg and fold the cuff over the line, overlapping the back side of the pant leg by a few inches.

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    • Grab a clothespin and clip it in the middle of the pant leg, securing it to the laundry line.

    • Always place your clothespins vertically. Placing clothespins at an angle can cause warping in the clothes or can cause the clothespin to fall apart.

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    • Take the second pant leg and fold the cuff over the line, as you did before. Space this cuff so that the jeans hang as flat as possible.

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    • Apply a second clothespin to the middle of the second pant leg, catching the line between two layers.

    • Allow your pants to dry completely before removing the clothespins and taking them down.

    • To prevent your jeans from getting stiff, don't leave them out in the hot sun after they have dried. As soon as they are dry, take them down.

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Having trouble with your Patagonia jeans? Contact Patagonia Customer Care.

2 other people completed this guide.

Brittany McCrigler

Member since: 03/05/2012

80,096 Reputation

132 Guides authored


iFixit Member of iFixit


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Wow, so cool, I like this kind of jeans, maybe I can try this method. Thanks for your sharing

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Albert Robert - Reply

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harini vadlamani - Reply

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harini vadlamani - Reply

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