How to Stop Blue Jeans from Fading?

Today’s “Ask Levi” question is about the fading of blue jeans. I’m not sure if the submitter thought it was a good joke or thought that they were emailing Levi Strauss & Company…

Continuous fading of Levi 505 Indigo jeans.

How can this be stopped? They fade on car seats and furniture even though they have been washed time after time. How can you lock in the color? Thank you.

Singing the blues,
Faded Fred

Hi Faded,

Although dealing with blue jeans is not my specialty, I do have some advice for you.

But first, you should know that indigo jeans are prone to fading. See, the indigo dye doesn’t actually “dye” the fabric. It just kind of mixes in with it, which is why it is so easy to rub off. And because it doesn’t dye the fabric, a lot of indigo is used in the coloring process, which is why the jeans may fade for a long, long time.

So I guess the answer to your question is, you can’t lock in the color. As you have found, no matter how many times you wash them, there will still be some indigo in there… and if there is, it will keep fading.

If you’re washing them inside-out in cold water as you should do with all jeans, there’s not much else you can try. You could try soaking them in some clear vinegar before washing, because lots of old wives tales and home remedies say vinegar is the holy grail. Who knows though, I’m just a cyclist. 😉

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Now my advice: Get some new jeans, or get some blue chairs!

Hope that helped,

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5 Comments so far

  1. Sapphire on March 10th, 2008

    Boy. That was HORRIBLE advice. Are there any knowledgeable folks here that can actually help with this question (HOW to STOP jeans from FADING, not how do I buy new jeans ::rolleyes:: ).

  2. Levi on March 10th, 2008

    Sorry Sapphire but indigo jeans fade. It’s not my fault. 😉

  3. Brenda on May 19th, 2008

    Jeans will fade but you can slow the process down some. As mentioned above try pre=soaking in vinegar, then wash in cold water only and always. Now here is the trick…NEVER…EVER…EVER…DRY them in a dryer or out in the sun….hang them up to dry…of course you will have to iron them maybe even starch them but the color will last twice as long at least.

  4. Obaid on July 28th, 2008

    hi dear

    it is posible to re-dye the blue jeans into dark blue. but here u can not use the vat(Indigo dyestuff) for making it blue again. because indigo dyestuff needs a reducing environmane and also oxidation. so what u can do is – (1) u can over dye your garments by blue reactive dye stuff 0r (2) u can sprey blue reactive color on your garments surface.

    now if u overdye your garments then your inside garments also get dyed and if your garments sewing thread is cotton then they also will get dyed.
    and if you have some sand blust area in garments then they should be vanished.

    if you sprey on garments then there is a possibility of uneven dyeing surface incase of carelessness.

    but one thing clear u must loose your white effect of weft yarn which is the mani characteristics of denim.



  5. John Green on October 16th, 2010

    Wash them in cold water and as phunniemee says, inside out. Hot water will leech more color from the fabric. You might also want to try to set the dye using a vinegar and salt solution. Soak the jeans in a bit of white vinegar (about a half a cup or so) and a bit less than a quarter cup of salt mixed with lukewarm water for about a half hour before washing the first time. That might help set the dye better.

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