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I have a pair of chinos, which are my most comfortable pair of trousers - the problem is that after the second or third wash, they look like this:

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Note the white lines, which have formed along more or less permanent creases that they came out of the wash with. I'm following the care instructions (40C, cool iron, no tumble dry, reshape while damp) and I have not tumble dried.

The lines are not just relief, as they are still there once the fabric is ironed out and the creases are mostly removed. Ideally I would like to reverse this permanent creasing, and remove the white marks.

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These problems are actually connected.

The first problem is that the cotton used is very likely short staple, so as not to say cheap, low weight, low quality cotton. That represents a systemic problem limiting the effectiveness of the following suggestions. On the other hand the effects you see might also be called "a feature", since they are comfortable and "used look" is sometimes very sought after.

The wrinkling is amplified in short staple garments but can be reduced a bit if you really lower the agitation during wash, choosing the weakest programme cycle your machine offers. Further the colour is for most cotton dyes a bit better preserved if you add a bit of vinegar to the last bit of detergent that comes into contact with your clothes in the machine just before the last rinse. Or add a tiny bit of vinegar into a bottle of water spray to apply just before ironing. It is important to get the clothes out of the machine as soon as possible and to iron them as soon as possible.

Loss of colour in this rate indicates that a pigment dye was used like indigo that does not actually bind to the filaments chemically but is embedded physically – and leaves the garment again at different rates depending on wear and tear, differing levels of stress to the cloth. Using these kinds of dyes might be an indicator of the manufacturer choosing a cheap dye or choosing a dye that will produce a used look quickly on purpose. This can also be caused by a bad mordant or not enough mordant up to complete lack of mordant.

This process cannot be reversed without re-dying the garments. Cotton is somewhat difficult to dye in the first place but there are dyes on the market that are more permanent (reactive dyes) or substants. Depending on the level of comfort these pants provide you and how much effort and money you are willing to invest it would probably be most effective to dye them before the first wash with reactive dyes.

As a rule of thumb for buying trousers: long staple, heavy weight, care instructions that allow at least 60°C washing.

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The colour is being abraded away in the washing machine. It's gone permanently, I'm afraid.

The only thing that will get the colour back is to dye your jeans back to the original colour. Otherwise, declare it to be a feature, not a bug.

In future, always wash jeans and chinos inside out. Or you could wash them in laundry net bags, like those used to keep socks together.

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