A reader reached out asking for advice on how to prevent jeans from wearing out in the inner thighs. A portion of her email:
“Hi Alison – One thing I have struggled with is wearing my jeans out in the inner thighs. I had purchased some expensive jeans that looked and felt great, however since they were so “washed” they wore through so quickly. Embarrassing and annoying! I did iron some patches in to get a little more life out of them. Any tips? At first, I was thinking it was sizing, but I just noticed that a pair of jeans I got in the fall are 14's which is a good size for me are also starting to wear.”
Jeans wear out between the inner thighs because of friction. Whether you're a size 4 or 24, there's a good chance your thighs touch and rub together when you walk. Thighs touching is a completely normal, healthy, and downright beautiful aspect of a woman's body. But it's annoying when it blows out your favorite jeans.
Below are some tips on how to prevent your denim jeans from wearing out at the inner thighs or at least prolonging the time before it ends up happening.
How to Prevent Jeans from Wearing Out in the Inner Thighs
1. Wash less often and don't use the dryer
The more you launder your jeans, the more you break down the fibers, causing the denim to get thinner and more likely to break. Jeans do not need to be washed after every wear, and should never be placed in the dryer. With stains, consider spot treating them and letting it air dry.
The less time your jeans are in a machine, the longer they will last. Consider using the gentle cycle and washing your jeans inside out to reduce friction in the machine on the outside inner thighs.
2. Use detergent specifically for denim
The Railcar Denim Laundry Detergent is a low-sudsing wash just for jeans and is a cult favorite for denim enthusiasts. Tangent GC carries an organic denim wash with a gorgeous scent. Some readers have shared that Woolite Darks Defense not only keeps the color of their denim, but cleans them without creating any holes or rips..
There are also products specifically created to refresh denim. Railcar Denim also makes a denim refresher. For those in the UK; Norfolk Natural Living carries a denim refresher available in three scents.
Make your own fabric refresher: Mix three parts water with one part vodka and add a few drops of your favorite scent of essential oil and pour into a spray bottle. As the solution dries on your jeans, it will take away the odors!
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3. Protect your jeans from the inside
If you find a pair of jeans you love but they are made of a soft, weathered, or lightweight denim, you can fortify them before wearing them. It doesn't seem to make sense, but what's on the inside of the jeans will help preserve the outside.
- Denim patches applied to the inside of the jeans at the inner thighs before wearing will protect that area and lower the chances of having your jeans blow out. And can still cover the hole with a piece of fabric when they inevitably do!
- Men find that wearing boxers keep their jeans longer; the same holds true for women. Wearing hosiery, slip shorts, or control shorts under your jeans will make them last longer. Slip shorts or pettipants are a great choice if you don't want to feel constricted.
4. Prep your jeans to prevent wear
Over the years, many readers have suggested prepping jeans with Scotchguard. Yep, that spray you use to prevent stains on your couch can also prevent unwanted ripped jeans. I haven't tried this and don't plan to but I wanted to share if you're comfortable with this product.
Do note, it will need to be reapplied after each washing, but spray it on the outside of the jeans in the thigh region, let dry (it will be virtually invisible), and you're ready to go. I have also heard of people rubbing a bar of clear glycerine soap on the inner thighs of jeans to also prevent friction.
5. Buy multiples and let your jeans breathe
More denim, fewer problems. We often have a favorite pair of jeans that we wear multiple days in a row. The thing is, if you don't give your jeans a chance to cool off and bounce back, they are more likely to wear out. Moisture and bacteria from your body can cause fibers to become brittle and break down.
If you find a pair of jeans that are awesome, it's a smart investment to buy a second pair. Don't save them for when the first pair wears out, vary between the two (and if possible have a few days between where you wear other things) and both pairs will last longer.
Also, instead of folding your jeans up and placing them in a drawer at the end of the day, consider hanging them to provide ventilation so they can properly dry out.
6. Take a cue from the guys
Many men hitch up the knees of their pants before sitting. This provides more space in the knee, thigh, and crotch area for comfort but it also prevents the fabric from being stretched. Doing this before sitting will put less strain on the thighs of your jeans, reducing the chance of a denim blowout.
7. The fit is a factor
Even if a certain size seems to fit, consider sizing up and getting jeans tailored. If your denim is too snug on the thighs, rear, and hips, the strain especially when sitting and squatting will over time wear down the denim.
A little bit more room in the jeans can provide months even years more life without even noticing a difference in the fit and final effect. And a perfectly tailored pair of jeans can make you look taller, thinner, and feel like a million bucks!
8. Try finding higher percentage jeans
If you're tired of your jeans wearing out in the inner thighs, consider getting a pair with a higher percentage of denim. The fabric is made up of more cotton and less polyester, which is why it wears like iron.
With high-quality denim, you'll never have to worry about seams coming apart or anything like that again. And with high percentage denim, you'll get even more strength and durability than ever before!
9. Try wearing built-in stretch denim
Built-in stretch denim jeans are a great alternative to those classic blue jeans of yours. They're made from the same denim fabric as traditional denim, but they have an added stretch factor that makes them more comfortable and flexible than your average pair of blue jeans. Plus, they're less likely to rip in the inner thighs—which is where most denim jeans tend to wear out first.
10. Iron Your Jeans
If you want to prevent the inner thighs of your jeans from wearing out, then ironing them is a good place to start.
You should use a low heat setting and move the iron slowly across the fabric. Don't press too hard or leave it in one place for too long; this will damage both your clothes and whatever surface they're on (hello, burn marks!).
Once you've gotten used to how much pressure works best for you, try experimenting with different temperatures: some say that cooler temperatures make denim easier to work with; others swear by hot steam settings that help smooth out wrinkles faster than anything else can do!
Do Expensive Jeans Hold Up Longer than Cheaper Jeans?
Neither the brand name nor the price of the jeans will determine how long a pair of denim will last before a blowout. What usually is the determining factor is the weight of the denim. In the reader's original email, she mentioned a brand name that I also wear.
I've had denim from that brand last for years, and others not make it through a single season. Same brand, same price, but different wash. Soft denim, denim infused with Lycra, linen, or another fiber, and any denim with weathering or a vintage finish is more likely to wear out than heavyweight or “rigid” denim.
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How To Patch Jeans
Don't wait until an actual hole has formed in your jeans. As soon as you notice thinning, patch the area to fortify the space and elongate the life of your beloved denim. As mentioned above, denim patches are sold and make it easy to make a thin part of denim more sturdy.
If a hole has formed in your jeans, there are many online tutorials that offer tips on how to patch jeans:
- Simplest Method: This link from WikiHow offers a way to mend by hand, one by sewing machine, and even video instruction on how to apply a patch.
- Relatively Easy Method with a Sewing Machine: This tutorial from GQ offers tips that can be achieved with even the most elementary sewing skills.
- Complicated but Least Obvious Mending Method: This post from Closet Core Patterns is great for those more familiar with a sewing machine as the mending focuses less on how to cut a patch and more with stitching a pieces of fabric together as the solution.
If you are not sewing-savvy or have a treasured pair of jeans you would do anything to keep, Denim Therapy is a company that focuses on repairing denim. They state they can fix any hole or tear, and can even reinforce a weakened area with their reweaving service.
This post on how to prevent jeans from wearing out and how to keep jeans looking great longer was originally published in 2018 and updated with 2023 advice and links.