Why Do Jeans Smell?

Have you ever noticed that your jeans seem to hold on to odors, even after you’ve washed them? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have experienced this problem. There are a few reasons why jeans may smell.

If you don’t wash your jeans often enough, they can start to smell musty from sweat and dirt. If you wash them too often, they can smell like harsh detergent. The key is to find a happy medium – wash them often enough to keep them clean, but not so often that they lose their shape or start to fade.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind why jeans smell and some tips on how to prevent it.

The Science of Why Jeans Smell

According to a study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the indigestible carbohydrates in denim—specifically, cellulose and xylan—provide an ideal food source for bacteria. When these critters digest these complex carbohydrates, they give off gasses like ammonia, amines, and sulfur dioxide, which are what we perceive as that distinct denim smell.

Why Does This Happen?

It all has to do with the way jeans are made. Denim is a sturdy cotton twill fabric, and in order to give it those characteristic strength and durability properties, manufacturers utilize a process called indigo dyeing. In this process, yarns or fabrics are immersed in a vat of indigo dye, and then oxygen is pumped into the mixture. This causes the indigo molecules to break apart and latch onto the fabric fibers.

But here’s the thing: not all of the indigo molecules actually attach themselves to the fabric. In fact, studies have shown that as much as 30% of the indigo dye that’s used in the manufacturing process is wasted—it simply doesn’t adhere to the fabric and ends up going down the drain.

So, where does this leftover indigo dye go? Well, it turns out that bacteria just love eating indigo dye. And when they do, they give off those stinky gasses we mentioned earlier.

But it’s not just indigo dye that bacteria like to feast on—it’s also the cellulose and xylan in denim fabric. Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate found in plants’ cell walls, and xylan is a type of polysaccharide commonly found in the primary cell walls of woody plants. Both of these compounds are indigestible to humans, but bacteria can break them down relatively easily.

Key Factors

  • The smell of jeans is caused by bacteria digesting the indigestible carbohydrates in denim.
  • The indigo dye that’s used in the manufacturing process is wasted, and bacteria just love eating it.
  • Cellulose and xylan are complex carbohydrates that bacteria can break down relatively easily.

How to Prevent Your Jeans from Smelling?

As anyone who has ever worn a pair of jeans knows, they can start to smell pretty bad after a while. Here are some tips on how to keep your jeans smelling fresh:

Don’t Wear Them Too Often

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Wearing your jeans too often will inevitably lead to them smelling bad. If you can, try to alternate between a couple of different pairs of jeans, so they don’t get over-worn.

Wash Them Regularly

Washing your jeans regularly is the best way to keep them from smelling bad. You don’t need to wash them after every wear, but once every couple of weeks should do the trick.

Hang Them Up to Dry

After you wash your jeans, be sure to hang them up to dry. Don’t put them in the dryer, as this can actually make the smell worse.

Use a Fabric Freshener

Why Toilet Smell Worse After Cleani...
Why Toilet Smell Worse After Cleaning (7 Reasons With Solutions)

If you want to be extra sure that your jeans don’t start to smell, try using a fabric freshener on them after you wash them. This will help to keep the scent fresh longer.

Store Them Properly

When you’re not wearing your jeans, be sure to store them in a place where they can air out. Don’t leave them crammed in a drawer or in a plastic bag, as this can make the smell worse.

How to Remove the Smell from Your Jeans?

Here are some tips on how to remove the smell from your jeans:

Add a Vinegar Soak

If your jeans are particularly smelly, you can try soaking them in a vinegar solution. Combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of cold water. Submerge your jeans in the solution and let them soak for 30 minutes. Afterward, wash them as usual.

Freeze Them

Another way to remove odors from your jeans is to freeze them. Simply put them in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer overnight. This will kill any bacteria that are causing the smell. Just make sure to wash them afterwards, so they don’t smell like vinegar!

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural odor absorber. Sprinkle some in the areas of your jeans that are the most smelly, such as the crotch and underarms. Let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up. You can also add a cup of baking soda to your wash load while washing your jeans.

Hang Them Outside

Sunlight and fresh air are effective at getting rid of odors. Hang your jeans outside on a clothesline or over a chair so that they can get some fresh air. If it’s sunny out, you can even put them in direct sunlight for a few hours.

Dry Them Thoroughly

Make sure to dry your jeans completely after washing them. Wet jeans are more likely to develop mold and mildew, which can make them smell even worse. If possible, hang them up to air dry or put them in the dryer on the lowest setting.

By following these tips, you should be able to remove the smell from your jeans and keep them smelling fresh for longer.

The Best Jeans for Smell Prevention

If you’re looking for the best jeans to prevent smells, you’ve come to the right place. We know a thing or two about keeping your jeans smelling fresh. Whether you’re looking for a pair of jeans to wear to work or play, we’ve got you covered.

Here are the best jeans for smell prevention:

Wrangler Jeans

Wrangler jeans are an excellent choice. They’re made with a unique blend of cloth that helps to repel odors and come in a range of styles to match any fashion sense.

Levi’s Jeans

Another fantastic option for individuals who don’t want to deal with stinky jeans is Levi’s pants. They’re constructed of 100% cotton, which is naturally anti-bacterial odor-causing organisms.

Gap Jeans

If you have a strong odor, Gap jeans are an excellent solution. They’re constructed with the same cloth as Wrangler jeans, so they also keep smells at bay.

Old Navy Jeans

Old Navy jeans are made with a special fabric that helps to prevent smells. They are also treated with a special solution that helps to keep odors at bay. Additionally, the seams are sealed to help prevent smells from seeping through.

J.CREW Jeans

Because of the high spandex content, J.CREW jeans are another great way to keep your clothes smelling fresh. They’re made with a blend of cotton and spandex for added odor resistance.

When it comes to finding the finest jeans for odor prevention, there are several options. These are just a few of the greatest alternatives for locating the ideal pair of pants for preventing smells. There is certainly a pair of jeans out there that would be perfect for you, regardless of your requirements. So please don’t put it off any longer. Start looking for the finest jeans for preventing odors now!

Final Say

We hope you found these tips helpful in preventing your jeans from smelling. If you have any other suggestions or tips, be sure to share them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

Sifat Muntasir

Sifat Muntasir


I’m Sifat. I work as a lecturer in the Department of Textile Engineering at Port City International University. I’m fascinated by the latest developments in the world of fashion and clothing, so I spend most of my time writing about them on this blog.

I also enjoy singing and playing games on the internet in my free time – though I’m not very good at either!

© Copyright - TextileTuts