It’s week three of quarantine, and if we’re not wearing pyjamas or dressing up on those rare occasions, then the likelihood is that we are really getting our money’s worth out of our jeans and tracksuit bottoms.
With all that extra wear however, they’re starting to feel the strain a little, and we certainly don’t want them to get baggy, because then what? Fear not, the experts (aka laundry pro Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap) have some great tips to share.
Avoid over-washing jeans
This will cause them to fade quickly, and if your jeans have fashionable raw hems they’ll become extremely frayed. Instead, give your jeans a re-fresh every few weeks by filling a spray bottle with equal parts cold water and vodka and spraying the mist over the jeans. Allow them to air dry and then place them in the freezer overnight. Odour-causing bacteria will be kept at bay and will help keep any smells away.
When jeans start to go baggy, hand wash in cold water
If your jeans have gone baggy at the knee and really need a wash to get them back in shape, turn them inside out and hand wash them in cold water with a small amount of gentle detergent. To soften them up once dry, give them a quick iron. This will avoid fading whilst bringing them back to their straight and stiff
Try to avoid putting your jeans in the dryer where possible
If you really want to shrink them significantly a tumble dry will work, but take care as you don’t want to over-shrink your denim or cause it to fade. Air drying your jeans will help them maintain their shape for longer.
Store your jeans folded flat, NOT on a hanger
Jeans can be found folded flat and stacked up in piles in shops for a reason. Storing them this way helps them keep their shape far better than if they’re hung up on a hanger. Take note and store your denim smooth, flat and folded.
Opt for baggier, relaxed cuts if you’re going to be sitting for long periods
The baggier the jean, the better it will fare if you’re sitting for long periods and putting pressure on the knees. For your work from home wardrobe try to opt for relaxed cuts that have room to stretch. If skinny jeans are your thing, opt for something with stretch in them. More on this below.
Watch how you sit
If you want your jeans to last longer between washes, try and sit up straight with your knees at ninety degrees or out straight if sitting for long periods. You should also pull the legs of your jeans up slightly before sitting down. Try not to cross your knees, sit cross legged or lounge around for long periods in your jeans on the sofa. Watching how you sit will help you get more wear out of your jeans before they start to lose their shape.
Opt for fabrics with stretch in them
When buying jeans, try and go for something with spandex or elastane in them. This will help them stretch back after being pulled at the knees when you sit down. A good way to test how badly a pair of jeans will stretch is to squat on the floor for 60 seconds when you first try them on. When you stand up you’ll be able to see whether the knees have started to go baggy, or whether they’ve snapped back easily.
Leggings or joggers
Check the label
Different fabrics behave differently, so check your label before doing anything to your leggings. Nylon, spandex, and polyester blends are the easiest to get back to tip top shape. Lycra is the hardest to shrink. The blend of your leggings will have a big impact on how you should wash and dry them for optimal shrinkage, so look carefully.
Wash in the washing machine to shrink
If your leggings are made of nylon, spandex, cotton or polyester, wash them on the hottest cycle you can. To save water you could also soak them in a big pot of boiling water. This will help them shrink back to shape.
Dry carefully in the tumble dryer
Tumble drying can be risky, as you don’t want to damage the fibres in your leggings. Be careful with gym leggings as they’re synthetic. If you’re dealing with fairly thin cotton leggings with less stretch in them, you can be a little more vigorous in your washing and drying to snap them back to shape. Tumble dry for 10 or 15 minute intervals, get them out and try them on. Do this until they’ve reached optimum size. Avoid tumble drying for more than thirty minutes in total as this could damage them. Lay them out flat to finish drying.
Blast quickly with a hairdryer or iron for speedy shrinkage
If you don’t have time to wash and dry your leggings, ironing them can also help them shrink up. Just spray them with water and place a tea towel or cloth over them to protect them, then iron away. Similarly you could drape them over a hanger and blast them with a hair dryer on its highest setting.