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Tip For Keeping Your Blues Blue?

I know I am on a lingerie binge but I found something for you. Okay, maybe not you per se but I know there is a seamstress who will appreciate this post. Plus, I want this blog to be well rounded and talk about lots of sewing stuff, not just elastics, rings and sliders, and tricot.

Madewell’s blog recently started series called Denim Blues that offers lessons on all things denim. In their inaugural post, they gave a tip for keeping jeans blue when washing – use vinegar. Yep, their denim designer, Tonya Wilson, said, “Wash your jeans with roughly a cup of household white vinegar instead of regular detergent to really help prevent color loss.”

I’ve never tried this method, have you? If so, what was your experience? Do you have any additional tips?

See, even I find this post useful. Let’s face it, I don’t go around wearing only me-made undies. I wear jeans too!





  1. Reply

    Toni-Maree Fuller

    White vinegar is always in my laundry. I use it as a fabric softener when washing towels (because if you use the regular stuff they never seem to dry you properly). Its great for clothes too, so I imagine it would be fine with jeans, although this is the first time I have heard to use it on its own to keep jeans blue.

    One of the larger Jean’s companies here in Australia advises not to wash your jeans for 6months, and to air them naturally or pop them in the freezer overnight to kill germs.

    All this advice I have never listened to! I recently saw some jeans dye that Im considering buying to freshen up my faded jeans.

  2. Reply


    I’d never heard that. Or using vinegar in the washer at all! I like my denim to look well abused though and think fading is part of that. Toni-Maree’s tip about the towels is interesting…

  3. Reply


    Yes, I use it too. I buy the lavender scented kind. As fabric softener, and to make sure my washing machine stays clean on the inside. And I always put it in when there are new clothes in the machine, to prevent the colours from running.

  4. Reply

    Maddie Flanigan

    Wow! Thank you for all the suggestions. I DEFINITELY haven’t heard of the lavender scented vinegar.

  5. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    I’ve heard of that but never tried it with jeans. Actually, when I prewash my fabric (especially super bright solid quilting cottons that I know will run a lot), I throw some vinegar in there because I know it helps the colour to stay. It seems to work pretty well. I don’t have enough jean to warrant doing a load of laundry with just jeans so I can use vinegar though. Plus one of my two pairs is already faded to hell, so no point for those bad boys (unless I grab me some rit soon).

  6. Reply

    Helen McFadyen

    This post has got me singing The Blues are Still Blue by Belle and Sebastian! 🙂

  7. Reply

    Melanie Yarbrough

    Have you ever made blue jeans before? I’d love tips on how to do that for the first time!

  8. Reply


    great tip! I’ll be gearing up to make myself a new pair of jeans within the next month or two, because last years pair has nearly been worn to death! and, yes, the denim has faded significantly. maybe i’ll try washing them in vinegar to see how that goes?

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I thought of you when publishing this post. Remember Sallie’s Tips For Sewing Jeans? That was a great guest post!

  9. Reply


    I love wearing really dark blue/navy jeans but I wear the heck out of them and then they start to fade at the usual spots (knees, thighs) – I really hope this works!

  10. Reply

    Miranda Foxx

    I had never heard that (but then I don’t wear jeans, so why would I have?), but I know one uses vinegar to help set dyes – I use it as a rinse before shampooing when I dye my hair candy colours – so it makes sense that it would help current dyes from bleeding. Great tip!

  11. Reply


    Interesting! You know me– I’m a blue jeans gal, and I love that deep dark indigo color that fades all too quickly. I’ll have to try this out!

  12. Reply


    Hm, interesting! I use vinegar all over the house, but haven’t done much research on its use in laundry yet. I usually just turn jeans inside-out, which does seem to help a bit. Now I have Belle and Sebastian in my head too!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I turn my jeans inside out too. Every little bit helps, I guess.

  13. Reply


    Interesting tip, going to have to try this and hear this Belle and Sebastian song!

  14. Reply


    Interesting! I’ll have to give this a try 🙂

  15. Reply

    Lady ID

    I’m having a related(?) problem. I have a lovely lovely dark pair of jeans that I have washed a few times. it is still as dark as when I first bought it.

    Problem: The dye comes off in regular life. After a few hours of wearing the jeans, I have a small bit of indigo when I wash my hands. And it’s not like I spend all day touching the jeans!!

    Maybe the vinegar will help

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Your problem is called crocking (how do I remember that word from a Textiles course I took in college?). Because vinegar is used to set dyes, I think washing your jeans with it will help. Will you let me know your results? I love learning new bits of informations!

      • Reply

        Lady ID

        Now that you mention it, the term does sound familiar. Probably from class as well. Anyway I washed my jeans with vinegar yesterday and will wear them sometime this week. I’ll let you know how it goes

      • Reply

        Lady ID

        The vinegar helped!!! No more crocking. I think I lost a little bit of dye in some areas but the jeans are still super dark and I am no longer washing indigo off my hands

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