Most people are not really familiar with indigo dye or with indigo in general. However, indigo dye is a natural, organic dye that is extracted from the indigo plant. For a long time, the most common usage of this blue dye was for dying blue jeans.

Now that we’ve answered the what is indigo question, it is important to note that not all blue jeans are actually made from indigo dye. In fact, most of the jeans on the market today, especially the cheaper ones, are made from synthetic dyes.

However, with a little careful shopping, you can find jeans made from the natural dyes. Many people prefer this option since they worry about having synthetic dyes so close to their skin and because they prefer the deeper, more natural color of indigo-dyed jeans.

Whatever the reason, choosing naturally-dyed jeans is better for the environment and safer and healthier for everyone. Plus, naturally dyed jeans tend to last longer than synthetic-dyed jeans, especially when properly cared for.

Don’t Launder Your Jeans Too Often

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to their indigo-dyed jeans is washing them too often. Contrary to popular belief, jeans and really all clothes do not need to be washed every single time you wear them.

washing your jeans
Unless there are odors, stains, or other major issues, you can usually get two or three wears out of a piece of clothing before washing it.

As such, make it a habit to avoid washing your jeans too regularly. This will help to preserve the color and the fit. You can take care of small stains or other issues by wiping the affected area with a damp cloth. A little soap and a scrub brush can help with more resistant stains…all without putting your jeans through the washer unnecessarily.

When You Must Wash, Wash with Care

While it’s a good idea to wash your jeans less often, you probably can’t get away with not washing them forever.

When the time comes that you have to wash your jeans, do so with care. One of the best practices is to always turn your jeans inside out before you wash them. This will help to prevent fading and will also make sure the truly dirty parts of your jeans- the inside- get the thorough cleaning they need.

Wear Your Jeans with Care

In addition to washing your jeans carefully, you also want to wear them carefully. A lot of people complain about how quickly their jeans get stretched out and lose their shape, not realizing that they are the ones to blame.

Don’t lounge around in your jeans. Wear them out, and then take them off when you get home. Too much sitting around in your jeans can cause them to lose their shape. Make sure you don’t do a lot of stretching and bending in your jeans either if you can help it. After all, they’re not workout clothes.

The more carefully you wear your jeans, the longer they should last. This tip goes for both naturally dyed and synthetic-dyed jeans, though you will often find that your naturally-dyed jeans are higher quality and can stand up to more. Still, though, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Choose High Quality Detergents and Use them Sparingly

washing your jeans
You might think that any detergent is as good as the next. However, that’s not true, especially not when you’re dealing with sensitive natural dyes.

To help protect your jeans, you should choose a natural detergent that is made for use in cold water, the ideal temperature for washing jeans. If you have darker jeans, you may also want to choose a detergent designed specifically to preserve dark colors.

Also, keep in mind that most detergents are highly concentrated, so you don’t need to use a lot to get your jeans clean. You may even want to use less than the recommended amount to keep your jeans safe and looking great.

Air Dry When You Can

Most people think nothing of tossing their jeans in the dryer.

However, if you want to keep your jeans looking great, especially those made with darker natural dyes, your best bet is actually to air dry.

After washing, simply lie your jeans on a flat surface or hang them up until dry. This might take a while, but it’s the best way to help your jeans retain both shape and color.

If you absolutely can’t air dry, then put your jeans in the dryer on medium heat for as little time as possible- definitely no higher heat setting.

As you can see, you do have several options for keeping your indigo-dyed jeans looking great. Of course, just choosing naturally dyed jeans is a smart first step if you want high quality, long-lasting jeans.

Feature image via A Pair and A Spare

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