The modern woman’s fashion experience reads something like this: Step 1, find a pair of jeans that makes your ass look ten times better than it really does, and avoid any kind of muffin top situation (high-waisted pants rule out this possibility all together). Step 2, find a way to prolong said jeans’ lifespan to forever, because the thought of losing them would give you extreme anxiety when opening your wardrobe. So, given that we all have a favorite pair or two, how do we prevent excess fading, deformation, and thigh holes? All reasons we might retire our beloved denim.

1. Never (almost) wash your denim.

Nothing ruins the magic of a great pair of jeans like excess washing. They fade, they become baggy in weird places…

Wash your jeans very rarely, the first time should be after 4 to 6 months. Hot water drains the dye from the fabric, and intense spin cycles break down fibers, causing those annoying thigh holes.

2. The Freezer is Your New Washer.

To get rid of smells and bacteria, place them in the freezer overnight. The cold temperature kills most germs and refreshens them for the next time your wear them. By putting them in the freezer your jeans will get back into their original shape.

3. If You Must Wash Your Jeans, Do it by Hand.

For reasons explained above, you should avoid your typical washer and dryer at all costs. For those jeans that are your favorite, turn them inside out and hand wash them with a soft detergent that you would use for sweaters or intimates. If it’s the first time you wash them, add a cap-full of white vinegar to set the color. For those pairs of jeans that you like but don’t love enough to hand-wash, turn them inside out and wash on a gentle cycle with cold water. For both, air-dry.

4. To Shrink Denim, Throw Them Into the Dryer for 20 Minutes.

Some of us wash our jeans just because we want that snug feeling again. To prolong their lifespan, avoid washing them by either putting them in the freezer or steaming them and then throw them in the dryer for 20 minutes.