How to Starch Jeans Like a Cowboy: Expert Tips for 2023

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how to starch jeans like a cowboy

1. The Traditional Method Used by Cowboys to Starch Their Jeans

Cowboys have long been known for their crisp, stiff jeans that can stand up on their own. The traditional method they use to achieve this look involves using a mixture of water and liquid starch. Liquid starch is a product that can be found in most grocery stores and is typically used for laundry purposes. Cowboys would mix the liquid starch with water in a bucket or basin until it reached the desired consistency.

To apply the starch mixture to their jeans, cowboys would first wet the jeans thoroughly with water. Then, they would dip the jeans into the bucket of starch mixture, making sure to saturate them completely. After removing the jeans from the mixture, they would wring out any excess liquid and hang them up to dry. As the jeans dried, the starch would stiffen, resulting in that classic cowboy look.

Key Points:

  • The traditional method involves using liquid starch mixed with water.
  • Jeans are wetted before being dipped into the starch mixture.
  • Excess liquid is wrung out before hanging the jeans up to dry.

Benefits of Using Liquid Starch:

  • Liquid starch is readily available and affordable.
  • It allows for easy saturation of the fabric.
  • The stiffness achieved is long-lasting.

Drawbacks of Using Liquid Starch:

  • The process can be time-consuming as it requires soaking and drying time.
  • Using too much starch or not properly wringing out excess liquid can result in overly stiff or crunchy jeans.

2. Why Cowboys Prefer to Starch Their Jeans

Benefits of Starching Jeans

Cowboys have long preferred to starch their jeans due to the numerous benefits it provides. Firstly, starching helps maintain the shape and structure of the jeans, preventing them from sagging or losing their form over time. This is particularly important for cowboys who engage in physically demanding activities such as riding horses or roping cattle, as it ensures their jeans remain comfortable and functional throughout the day.

Additionally, starched jeans offer increased durability and resistance to wear and tear. The stiffened fabric is less prone to fraying or developing holes, making them ideal for rugged outdoor work. Cowboys often spend long hours in rough terrain, so having jeans that can withstand these conditions is essential.

Aesthetic Appeal

Starching also enhances the aesthetic appeal of jeans, giving them a crisp and polished look. The stiffened fabric creates sharp creases and a neat appearance, which is highly valued in cowboy culture. It adds a touch of professionalism and pride to their attire, reflecting the attention to detail that cowboys take in their appearance.

Moreover, starched jeans exude a sense of tradition and authenticity. Cowboys have been starching their jeans for generations, passing down this practice as part of their heritage. By continuing this tradition, they pay homage to the cowboy way of life and maintain a connection with their predecessors.

Overall, cowboys prefer to starch their jeans because it offers practical benefits such as durability and comfort while also contributing to their desired aesthetic appeal.

3. Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Starch Jeans Like a Cowboy

Gather Your Supplies

To begin starching your jeans like a cowboy, you will need several supplies:
– A large basin or sink
– Liquid laundry starch or powdered starch
– Water
– A spray bottle
– Clothespins or hangers for drying


1. Fill the basin or sink with water and add the desired amount of starch according to the product instructions. Stir well to dissolve the starch completely.
2. Submerge your jeans in the starch solution, ensuring they are fully saturated. Gently agitate them to ensure even distribution of the starch.


1. Remove the jeans from the starch solution and wring out any excess liquid.
2. Hang or lay your jeans flat on a clean surface, such as a clothesline or drying rack.
3. Use a spray bottle filled with water to dampen the jeans slightly before ironing. This will help activate the starch and facilitate better absorption into the fabric.
4. Set your iron to a medium-high heat setting suitable for cotton fabrics.
5. Iron each section of your jeans, starting from the waistband and working your way down to the cuffs. Apply firm pressure while moving in slow, deliberate strokes to ensure thorough coverage.


1. Once you have finished ironing, hang your jeans using clothespins or hangers in a well-ventilated area.
2. Allow them to air dry completely before wearing or storing.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can achieve that classic cowboy-style stiffness in your jeans.

(Note: It is important to read and follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of your chosen starch product.)

4. Recommended Types of Starch or Products for Achieving Cowboy-Style Stiffness in Jeans

4.1 Traditional Laundry Starch

One of the most commonly used products for achieving cowboy-style stiffness in jeans is traditional laundry starch. This type of starch is typically made from cornstarch and water, and it can be easily applied to jeans by either soaking them in a mixture of starch and water or spraying the starch directly onto the fabric. Traditional laundry starch provides a strong hold and can give jeans that classic stiff look that cowboys often prefer.

4.2 Spray Starch

Spray starch is another popular option for achieving cowboy-style stiffness in jeans. This type of starch comes in a convenient spray bottle, making it easy to apply evenly onto the fabric. Spray starch is available in various strengths, so you can choose one that suits your desired level of stiffness. It is important to follow the instructions on the spray starch bottle to ensure proper application and achieve the best results.

4.3 DIY Starch Alternatives

If you prefer a more natural approach or want to avoid commercial products, there are several DIY alternatives you can try for achieving cowboy-style stiffness in jeans. Some common homemade options include using vinegar or gelatin mixed with water as a substitute for traditional laundry starch. These alternatives may not provide the same level of stiffness as commercial products, but they can still help achieve a desired level of firmness while being more environmentally friendly.

5. How Long Does It Take for the Starched Effect to Set in After Applying it to Jeans?

The time it takes for the starched effect to set in after applying it to jeans can vary depending on several factors such as the type of starch used, environmental conditions, and the thickness of the fabric. In general, it is recommended to allow the starched jeans to air dry for at least 24 hours to ensure that the starch fully sets in and provides the desired stiffness.

However, if you need a quicker result or want to speed up the drying process, you can use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to help accelerate the drying time. Just make sure to keep the hairdryer at a safe distance from the fabric to avoid any damage or discoloration.

6. The Secret Technique or Tip Cowboys Use When Starching Their Jeans

When it comes to starching their jeans, cowboys have a secret technique that helps them achieve optimal results. One common tip is to starch the jeans while they are still slightly damp. This allows the starch to penetrate deeper into the fabric and provides better adhesion, resulting in a stiffer finish.

To implement this technique, cowboys often wash their jeans and then remove them from the washing machine before they are completely dry. They then proceed with applying the starch while the jeans are still slightly damp. This method has been passed down through generations of cowboys and is believed to enhance both the stiffness and longevity of the starched effect.

7. Precautions and Special Considerations for Starching Jeans Like a Cowboy

7.1 Test on an Inconspicuous Area

Before applying starch to your entire pair of jeans, it is advisable to test it on an inconspicuous area first. This will help you determine how well your chosen starch product works with your specific fabric and color without risking any visible damage or discoloration.

7.2 Follow Care Instructions

It is important to read and follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer of your jeans. Some fabrics may not be suitable for starching or may require special care after starching to maintain their quality and appearance. By following the care instructions, you can ensure that your jeans remain in good condition even after starching.

7.3 Avoid Over-Starching

While achieving cowboy-style stiffness is the goal, it is important to avoid over-starching your jeans. Excessive amounts of starch can lead to a stiff and uncomfortable feel, as well as potential damage to the fabric. Start with a moderate amount of starch and gradually increase if necessary until you achieve the desired level of stiffness.

8. Do Cowboys Reapply Starch Regularly or Does the Initial Application Last a Long Time?

The frequency of reapplying starch to jeans depends on individual preferences and usage patterns. Some cowboys prefer to reapply starch regularly to maintain the desired level of stiffness, especially if they wear their jeans frequently or engage in activities that may cause them to lose their crispness.

However, for others, the initial application of starch may last a long time without requiring frequent reapplication. This can depend on factors such as the type and strength of starch used, how often the jeans are worn, and how well they are cared for between wears.

9. Alternative Methods or Modern Approaches for Achieving Cowboy-Style Stiffness in Jeans

While traditional methods using laundry starch or spray starch are commonly used by cowboys for achieving cowboy-style stiffness in jeans, there are alternative methods and modern approaches available today.

One popular alternative method is using fabric stiffeners specifically designed for clothing items like jeans. These fabric stiffeners come in various forms such as sprays or additives that can be mixed with water during the washing process. They provide a convenient and effective way to achieve stiffness without the need for traditional starching methods.

Additionally, advancements in fabric technology have led to the development of denim fabrics that are naturally stiffer or have built-in stiffness. These fabrics can provide a cowboy-style stiff look without the need for additional starching or fabric stiffeners.

10. Modifications and Adaptations Made to the Original Cowboy Method of Starching Jeans Over Time

Over time, the original cowboy method of starching jeans has undergone modifications and adaptations to suit modern preferences and convenience.

One modification is the use of commercial spray starch instead of traditional laundry starch. Spray starch offers a more convenient application method and allows for better control over the amount of starch applied to specific areas of the jeans.

Another adaptation is the incorporation of alternative DIY starch alternatives, as mentioned earlier. This provides individuals with more options based on personal preferences or environmental considerations.

Furthermore, some cowboys have experimented with different techniques such as using heat from an iron or steamer to enhance the stiffness after applying starch. These modifications showcase how the original cowboy method has evolved and diversified over time while still maintaining its core purpose of achieving cowboy-style stiffness in jeans.

In conclusion, by following the cowboy’s method of starching jeans, you can achieve a crisp and rugged look that adds an authentic touch to your style.

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