There comes a time for every pair of jeans when they need to be washed. It’s important to understand that there is no definitive way to wash your jeans. Essentially, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people like to postpone their wash for many months, while others prefer to already wash their jeans after a couple of wear days. Although we do not recommend washing them too frequently, ultimately the jeans are yours, and as long as you buy quality, they will be fine.

In this guide we will explain our take on this subject: when, how, but also why to wash.

Also, this guide is primarily focused on dry denim. If you’re looking for guidance on washing a pair of factory pre-washed jeans, you can follow the same instructions for any next wash (see further down below at how to wash?).


To start, there’s the question of ‘When do I need to wash my jeans?’. We get this question a lot, but we can only answer it by asking back the question ‘What do you want to achieve with your jeans?’. This is what determines the best moment of washing your jeans.

Are you looking for high contrast fades? Postpone the first wash for 6 up to 9 months. When we talk about months, we mean actual wear days. So, if you only wear them on weekends, you’ll be looking at a span of roughly 2 years. When postponing the first wash, your jeans will only fade in the area’s where abrasion is happening, resulting in whiskers around the crotch, lap and knee fades, and a honeycomb pattern in the back knee area.

Do you prefer an equally faded pair, or do you simply don’t like to walk around with jeans that don’t get washed, just wash them once every month (if worn frequently). This way the water and rubbing during the wash will break down the indigo overall, resulting in a bright blue pair with less contrasting fading areas.

Occasionally customers ask us if it’s necessary to soak their jeans before breaking them in. First, you need to check if the denim is unsanforized or sanforized. If it’s unsanforized we highly recommend soaking them because the jeans will shrink up to 2 sizes after touching water for the first time. This also means you need to take this in consideration when selecting the size. You don’t want to end up with a pair that fits too small. Please note that BENZAK does not offer unsanforized denim, unless on very rare occasions but this will be mentioned clearly. If the denim is sanforized there is no actual need to soak them. The only reason would be that you don’t like the stiffness raw denim has and want to start with a pair that feels softer from the first wear day. But again, this all comes down to personal preferences.

If you want your jeans to remain as dark as possible, the only option would be not to wear them, because in the end all jeans, washed or not, will fade. However, soaking before wearing, as explained above, could help you extend the time of your jeans remaining dark, because the starch will be removed that helps set in the creases for high contrast fading.

Last thing worth mentioning is that when there are obvious stains in plain sight, or if the jeans smell really bad, please just wash them, despite how long you’ve been wearing the jeans. If you’re looking for high contrast fading, but are only 3 months in.. yeah we know, it hurts to wash. But they will be fine eventually. It will just take a little more time for the fades to develop, but you do beloved ones, colleagues and basically anyone around you a huge favour!


Once you’ve have determined what you’d like to achieve with your jeans, you also have good guideline of when you want to wash them for the first time. Because we prefer high contrast fading, we usually postpone the first wash for up to 9 months. We’ve made a video explaining all steps involved when washing for the first time, using a worn in pair of BDD-707 special #1’s. If you’re unsure of when to wash your jeans for the first time, use the BDD-707 as a reference of how they should look in terms of fading. This should give you a similar result after wash, when all steps have been followed up correctly.

It’s possible that your jeans already look like this after 6 months, or only after 1 year; there are too many factors that could affect fading, so it’s impossible to provide an exact number. Try to use your gut feeling – when you think it’s time to wash them, it’s usually right. When it turns out the result after wash is not satisfying yet, don’t worry: just keep on wearing them and your jeans will keep fading. It’s an ongoing process!

Maybe you don’t like high contrast fading, or you just want to wash them more often. In that case we would recommend soaking them, before wearing or after a few weeks of wearing. Soaking can be done in the bathtub, sink, a bucket, or anything else big enough to fully submerge the jeans. Don’t forget to always turn your jeans inside out, whether you’ll be washing or soaking them. Add a little bit of detergent to the water when worn already (when they’re new, only using water will suffice) and let them soak in lukewarm water for 30 minutes. When they’re really dirty, you can gently squeeze and rub them, to wash out the dirt. Afterwards, rinse them with running water to wash out all the soap and let them hang to dry for as long as necessary. Make sure to stretch out all folds before hanging to avoid unwanted creases. In any case: do not tumble dry your jeans!

For the second and consecutive washes you can follow the same steps as presented in the video.


Even though the why is not really necessary to know, we do believe it’s worth explaining a little bit what washing does (and prevents) with your jeans. Besides the obvious reason, to clean your jeans because they smell or look bad, washing has another very important purpose: it may actually extend the lifespan of your jeans.

Washing too often obviously results in extensive indigo loss, and using tumble driers will break down the fibers of the fabric. But this goes for all clothing. We would always recommend to wash your clothing as less as possible and never use a tumble drier except for bed sheets and towels. The ony clothing that should be washed frequently is underwear and exercise gear; essentially anything that is worn directly on the body should be washed after one day. But a sweater worn over a tee, or a pair of jeans worn over boxershorts, doesn’t really get dirty quickly from our body. Oh yeah.. please don’t go commando, just don’t..

Some people believe that never washing your jeans will create the best fades. Sure, they will develop some striking fades and great patina. But besides the likely smell, you will also shorten its lifespan. By never letting it touch water, the dirt will settle inside the fibers, breakinig them down. This may result in sudden rips and tears, usually beyond repair, that is if you’re even able to find a repair shop that accepts unwashed jeans.

So, please wash your jeans, and all other clothing, from time to time. Just use some common sense and you’ll be enjoying your dry denim for as long as possible.