I covered a bit of light dry cleaning on day 18, but not nearly enough to cover some of the questions I've been getting. So I decided to go digging around a bit to find out more. I stumbled across a poll on fabsugar.com where 1288 people voted on the following question:
Do You Machine Wash or Dry Clean Your Jeans?
Uh machine wash - who dry cleans their jeans? 76% (979)
Uh I do! It's the best way to preserve them! 8% (98)
A bit of both - depending on which jeans. 12% (153)
Other - do tell! 5% (58)
As you can see it's totally in favour of machine washing at 76%, with a bit of both in second on 12%. You could also argue that most people don't know anything about denim, but be that as it may, my Dr.Denim Harris jeans, will not see a washing machine or water for six months, and thereafter I will wash them in a machine for the first time. I obviously will try avoid the odd bit of rain or snow getting on them.
If the jeans are a cheap, run of the mill, everyday, pair, then by all means wash them in a machine, but try 40˚ water, especially in the beginning, and wash them separately at first. I mean they're still denim and you should still look after them.
The more expensive they get, the better you'll want to take care of them, because the longer you would want them to last. But here's an opinion from someone who seems to know: "Dry cleaning actually will ruin your jeans faster than the machine wash will. Dry cleaning is meant for items that will wrinkle, pill, or spot when exposed to water. The downside is that the chemicals at a dry cleaners deteriorate most fabrics quicker than plain water will. If you want to preserve, hand-wash your jeans; dry cleaning them is actually decreasing their shelf life." She, however, did not say by how much it decreases shelf life.
If you really want to look after your jeans, then it seems you have to wash them by hand.