Home Projects

How To Clean Your Jeans Without Water (In the Freezer!)

updated May 21, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Here’s an oldy but a goody that’s even more relevant now as MORE people are doing it… I recently bought my first pair of “serious” jeans. The reason I know this is because as I was standing at the register about to pay A LOT of money for them, a cool dude who was standing next to me at the register said, “Oh, you’re going to like those.” “Do you have a pair?” I asked him. “Nope,” he said, “But you’re going to like those.” I felt like a first time drug buyer or as if I was buying a Ferrari, not a pair of jeans. And then he said, “And remember, don’t wash them.”

Follow Topics for more like this

Follow for more stories like this

Maxwell shows us how to properly freeze our jeans:

Maxwell Ryan: How to Freeze Your Jeans - Apartment Therapy Video Tips
1 / 6
Step 4: Insert in freezer (Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

“Don’t wash them?” I asked, thinking he was joking.
“Nope.” he said.
“Oh, you mean I should only dry clean them?” I tried again.
“Nope.” he repeated. “Never wash them. You’ll ruin them.”

It was at that moment that the woman behind the register piped up and explained that they only “get really good” when they’re not washed. In a pinch, she said, you can wash them in cold water inside out.

And then she said, “But I freeze mine when they start to feel dirty.”

Now I felt as if I were really entering a new land. Washing is not something I’d ever considered optional with clothing, particularly something as prone to dirt as jeans. And while I could quickly grasp that it was coolest to do nothing, I was fascinated by the notion that freezing a piece of clothing might somehow “clean” it, or at least simulate the cleaning process.

Apparently, although I’m new to this, washing jeans is really verboten and freezing has popped up as one alternative. While it doesn’t make for lots of instructions in a How To, I thought I had to get this down in our archive. This is what the woman at G-Star Raw told me she did at home. Apparently, all the cool kids already knew this.

Maxwell Ryan: How to Freeze Your Jeans - Apartment Therapy Video Tips

How To Freeze Your Jeans

What You Need

  • A pair of dirty (feeling) jeans
  • A large Zip-Lock Bag
  • A freezer with some empty space (ie. not too much ice cream)


Fold your jeans neatly and place inside bag. Seal bag and insert in freezer. Remove after one week and wear as new.

While this process won’t remove stains and isn’t really intended for “work jeans” (I think), it is touted to kill any living organisms and make your jeans FEEL crisp and clean again.

Personally, after taking my jeans out this morning, I have to say they did feel crisper, though it may simply have been the cold. Other that that, I can’t say I was fooled into thinking that they had been washed in any way, BUT they did – after all that time away from me – feel fresh and I’m glad to have them back.

Have you tried the freezer method? Please let us know in the comments below.

Related Jeans-Freezing Links