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 denim 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
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. The company The Laundress creates a detergent specifically for cleaning and preserving denim. Railcar Denim Laundry Detergent is a low-sudsing wash just for jeans and is a cult favorite for denim enthusiasts. Some readers have shared that Clorox Dark not only keeps the color of their denim, but cleans them without wearing out the fibers.
If your jeans are smelly only, no need to wash them. Though studies have proven otherwise, many still swear that if you place your jeans in the freezer; the cold will kill the bacteria that cause odor. If you don't want your jeans touching your frozen foods, place them in a large Ziploc bag; the process will still be effective. There are also products specifically created to refresh denim. This product from Mr. Black will clean, refresh and prevent stains from settling in and has antibacterial properties and even comes in a travel-friendly size.
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!
Shop The Best Detergents and Refreshers for Denim:
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.
- 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.
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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 holes in your denim. 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.
More denim, fewer problems. We often have a favorite pair of jeans that we wear multiple days in a row. 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.
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.
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 jean can make you look taller, thinner, and feel like a million bucks!
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.
How to Patch Torn and Worn 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 Case Patterns is great for those more familiar with a sewing machine as the mending focuses less on a patch and more with the stitching 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.
Shop Products to Prevent and Patch Worn Denim:
This post was originally published in 2018 and updated with 2020 advice and links.