How to Prevent Jeans from Wearing Out in the Inner Thighs: 10 Tips

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How to Prevent Jeans from Wearing Out in the Inner Thighs and how to patch holes by Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen

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

How to Prevent Jeans from Wearing Out in the Inner Thighs and how to patch holes

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.

DIY Fabric Refresher for Denim

DIY fabric refresher recipe

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!

You may also like: The Best Stain Remover for Clothes

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.

You may also like: how to prevent pinholes in t-shirts near your belly button (and how to repair them)

How To Patch Jeans when they wear out in the thigh

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 instructions 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 on stitching 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 2024 advice and links.

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  1. I don’t usually have a problem with inner thighs wearing through, but my husband’s jeans tend to wear through at the crotch. When the fabric starts to thin, I use an iron on patch on the inside, cut to fit the area that’s thinning. I usually have to patch each side of the center seam separately.

  2. As someone who has studied fashion in a historical sense (shoutout Barnard College and Professor Ann Higonnet), I HATE how modern jeans wear out! It’s because, around the 60s, jean manufacturing changed looms and started making jeans that were no longer 100% cotton but rather mixed with spandex to allow for more stretch. You can still get pure denim that’s made with those old, tighter looms from Japanese brands that last way longer, but they’re expensive and need to be worn out before wear (think: sitting in the hot tub with your jeans on). A pair of jeans I got at a consignment 2 years ago just burst at the thigh, so now I’m searching to repair them while I save up for high quality Japanese denim!!!

  3. I am trying something different, patching things with stitching that shows. I got the idea from a book:

    Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More by Katrina Rodabaugh.

    I have tried it with some stay at home pants already. If you get a pair that you cannot repair, save them so that you can use the fabric for patching elsewhere. Worth a try!

  4. Thanks for all this information, Alison! One of my goals for lessening my environmental impact is to take better care of my clothing so it lasts longer.

  5. Will that fabric refresher work on a dry clean only suit-type jacket to get the armpit smell out?? I can’t get it out, even with dry cleaning! I’m at a loss.

    1. The vodka fabric refresher recipe does work really well for body odor. Another trick I learned was to put the item in an airtight container with kitty litter; the kitty litter will absorb odors. You’ll have to keep it in there for several days but it’s also a cheap hack.

      1. Thank you so much!
        Just so I’m clear – if you put the item with kitty litter, wouldn’t you need to dry clean it afterwards? Because it will have litter on it? Or am I not understanding? 🙂

        1. The kitty litter doesn’t have to be on the clothes. So you can have it in a mesh bag or pair of hoisery or even in an open box so it’s not touching the clothes. It just needs to share the same air.

      2. You can use any grain-based white spirit. I use Everclear. This method is used in wardrobe departments and hire places for garments that cannot be laundered.

  6. I end up wearing a lot of Gap and Loft jeans because they fit better on my thick-waisted apple-shaped body. (sidenote, I just tried everlane and was so sad that the size 30 jeans fit everywhere BUT my waist, where it was too tight.)
    My main gripe is that once worn, the jeans develop creases, so on the second/third/fourth wear they just look like they need a wash.

    I recently started throwing them in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes, and found great success. BUT now I read this and see I shouldn’t be putting jeans in the dryer at all! LOL FML.

    Any solutions to making jeans look fresh on second/third/fourth wears?

  7. I have no idea why my jeans have never worn through at the thighs – I certainly have ‘generous’ thighs, but they haven’t. However, and this is my warning, I have bought lovely cool linen trousers for the summer. Often quite loose. And I have, every time, thrown them away at the end of the summer with holes in the thighs. I have now learnt that a linen/ cotton mix is much stronger. They don’t look or feel very different to pure linen, but they last. You’re welcome!

    1. Thank you! I came across this blog as my 100% linen pants (1 month old) have just worn through on the inner thigh – not something that has happened before. They were expensive and I’m mad! So your comment has helped a lot. I will seek out linen cotton blend.

  8. Stay away from denim that has rayon and/or tencel in the fabrication! This fabric is so fragile (esp when damp) and should not be part of denim fabric. I believe it is often the culprit in jeans that get holes or rips.

  9. Another article that does not answer the question – there is a tear, what can be done about it? Completely useless.

    1. The title literally said “How to prevent jeans from wearing out in the inner thighs” meaning how to avoid it from tearing. If the tear already happened, then go look at another article. It’s very unnecessary for you to reply with a comment and having to state that it’s “completely useless”. Don’t ruin an article for other people because you’re too incompetent to read the title.

      Also thank you Alison. Your advice did help. Sorry you had to see this. Cheers

    2. She mentioned Denim Therapy. It’s in bold in the post. Did you miss that part? This post was very comprehensive so I am puzzled by your “completely useless” comment.

  10. I find the more spandex etc they stick in women’s jeans now, the faster they wear out. I got about 4 months out of my last pair before I wore the thighs through. So disappointed as the jeans were a splurge (new vs. thrift store).
    I never used to have this problem with my jeans in the ’90s and early ‘2000s when jeans were good solid cotton, not all of this “stretch” crap in the fabric too. And I used to horseback ride and wash the crap out of them!

  11. I used to sew a piece of salvaged pantyhose ( those ’80s!) inside my jacket elbows to keep fraying at bay. Done before even the first wearing and it kept them looking unstretched out and schlumpy for a long time. Betcha it would work on jeans, too. Just cut out a piece of stocking a bit bigger than the area you want to protect, turn article inside out, hand stitch with a small needle that barely catches one or two outside stitches so that its almost invisible. Its soft so you don’t feel it rub. It’s skin color so it doesn’t show through light colored sleeves. It’s easy to yank out if you don’t like it.
    Of course, I also used to wear Joan Collins’ shoulder pads and still think I looked great in them so take this advice with a grain of salt!

  12. Thanks so much for this post! This is definitely a problem I’ve struggled with.

    After reading this post, I realize I wash my jeans way too often. But I’m a sweater. Can I really get away with washing them less often? Even if I put them in the freezer and they don’t stink, won’t they still feel gross?

    1. Let your clothes – not just your jeans – dry between wears. Have a designated place where they hang for a day before storing – hooks behind the door or on the wall work well. I hang all clothes I intend to wear again – not lingerie or shirts, that is. After a day or when the hangers are full, I put the clothes away again. Not wearing the same item two days in a row helps too. They dry and air. I get so many wears from my jeans before they start to smell it is embarrassing to tell.

  13. This has been a lifelong issue for me, even when I was a size 6. I’ve learned the hard way to spend time finding decent, plain, high-cotton-content jeans from less expensive brands. My heart doesn’t break when my Gap True Straights (or whatever) break down in that area while the rest of the jean still looks pristine. Double-ditto for linen pants.

  14. These are great tips! I also love those iron-on denim patches for the inside of my son’s jeans. Iron on the patches on the inside of the knees of new jeans and they last twice as long!

  15. I learned in microbiology class freezing doesn’t kill bacteria – it just goes dormant but reactivates when thawed. So freezing jeans won’t really help.

  16. Our local YMCA Thrift Store takes clean damaged (torn, holes, worn out, etc) clothing to resell for textile recycling so please find somewhere in your local area to recycle worn jeans instead of trashing them.

  17. Have you tried those cotton knit petti-pants you show? Do they ride up? Even though the tricot ones might be hotter it seems like they’d be less prone to bunching up.

    1. If the pants are loose enough the cotton knit would stick and ride up I wouldn’t think you’d have problems with rubbing. I have tricot petti-pants I wear with my pencil jean skirt and it’s not bad. I wear cotton or wicking panties and stay cool.

  18. I had a pair of Athleta jogger-style pants where the seams in the upper inner thigh were wearing through. My seamstress said it was due to the poor quality of the fabric, not thigh rub or my care. She repaired it but the fix didn’t last because it was as if the material just started going to pieces. They were destroyed about a month after the fix and I had to throw them out.

  19. I’m stumbling upon this article just now, during my Google search to see if I was just a really bad jeans owner. I don’t have the thighs-wearing-out problem, but the fabric on the seat of my jeans is so thin that holding it up to the light, you can almost see right through it around the back pockets. So far they haven’t ripped yet and my underwear isn’t showing through the material (thank goodness!), but I think I definitely need new jeans because these ones will be done for after a few more washes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. If they are not ripped yet, you can iron on fusible interface from the inside and it will extend the life! You can buy some in light or dark from your local craft store. There is a knitted version which has some stretch and a woven, thin kind. Comes in light and dark colors.

  20. Get higher quality jeans! If your jeans are constantly stretching out, that is not good quality material. It’s more expensive, but invest in jeans that are a step up. And if you never dry them from the start, they won’t need shrinking over and over again. 🙂

  21. You left the first tip for last. At least here in Brazil women seem to understand that if a piece of clothing can be buttoned up it “fits”. Go one, two, however many sizes necessary up. I find that sometimes it’s not the size, but the cut – skinny pants are tight on the knees when I sit down. I end up having to take in all pants on the waist – I buy for my hips and take in at the waist. My tights don’t seem to complain much, but the knees said “no more skinnies, K?” 🙂

  22. I always find it weird when people say not to dry your jeans. I mean, don’t your jeans stretch out? I have to wash my jeans every 3-4 wears not because they’re dirty but because they’re at least a size bigger, regardless of style or brand. If I wash and then just hang dry, they stretch out even quicker than when I don’t put them in the washer.

    1. My jeans stretch out, and I used to put in the dryer to shrink them back. When I started air drying I found my jeans didn’t stretch out as much and I didn’t have as much of a need to dry them to shrink them back. I have no idea why, but it’s like the denim got used to not being dried.

    2. It’s because the first time you machine dry anything with stretchy fabric you damage it’s ability to return to it’s original shape.

      1. A jeans sales person told me to buy jeans a size smaller than I normally wear because over time the fibers will stretch and the jeans will fit better. Every brand is different so try on a few sizes to find the ‘a bit too small fit’ size. I’ve tried this and even thought the jeans are tight in the beginning, over time they stretch and they fit me better versus when I bought jeans that fit and end up stretching and becoming too slouchy.

  23. Am I the only one who doesn’t get thigh thinning (despite having thunder thighs & suffering from chub rub) but the seat of my pants like to disappear instead (usually around the crotch seams)? Am I just shaped weirdly, lol?

    1. Nope, completely normal. Some get the wearing at the crotch seams, some lower in the thighs, some even get it closer to the knees. We’re all built differently and jeans affect us in different ways! 🙂

  24. I have been fortunate enough not to have this problem with denim (despite having ‘thunder thighs’) but I did buy pairs of linen trousers in the summer for a few years. They only ever lasted one summer before going into holes on the thighs. If you fancy the look and feel of linen for the summer, I strongly recommend a linen and cotton mix which is much more durable.

  25. For really special jeans, you can get the hole repaired. Check out indigo_proof on instagram for some photos of repairs. I was amazed at how good the repairs looked. Of course, this works best if you get the repair earlier rather than later.

    1. The photos on Indigo_proof are sheer alchemy. Bloody hell that’s impressive. Really impressive.

      My husband has this problem particularly with his work pants. Just binned 2-3 pairs because they’ve worn through. Obviously need to haul out the sewing machine and practice, practice, practice.

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