Washing & DryingHere are some easy tips on caring for your raw denim. Just remember that your everyday activities and lifestyle give the denim its own unique, individual character - basically the more you wear your jeans the more amazing they will become.
When washing denim be aware that the warmer the water is, the more the indigo will bleed. The whole point is to keep the indigo on the denim for as long as possible. Indigo is different from synthetic dyes, since it is not fully absorbed into the cotton fibers/thread. The indigo actually sits on top of the fibers and that’s why denim fades to a white color over time.
Basic Washing Instructions:
- If you spill something on your raw denim, try to first wipe it off. You can also choose to lightly dab it with a napkin or you can wait for it to dry and it will usually fade on its own. Do not try to clean the spot with cleaning solution because it can end up removing the indigo dye and leave a bleach spot.
- Washing denim returns the tightness to the weave of the fabric hence making the jeans stronger. Just try to wash your jeans as seldom as you can separate from other clothes and always turn the jeans inside out. Either use a gentle cycle in COLD water (up to 38˚C/100˚F) or lay your jeans flat in the bathtub to wash them by hand (let them first soak in cold water for about 45 minutes and later rinse to remove soap). Use about 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent with NO bleach (better with specific (denim) detergents that lock in dark colors) and you can add 3 tablespoons of diluted salt. Salt has a wonderful property of keeping the color within the fabric, making the indigo stay indigo and the faded bits faded. NEVER let the washing machine spin your jeans as this can cause unwanted lines through your denim.
- If you need to hem your jeans or plan to do so, make sure you DO NOT hem your jeans before the first wash because your denim will naturally shorten with wear since the fabric around the knees and groin will bunch up on its own. Plus, there will likely be some small shrinkage in length after the first wash.
Basic Drying Instructions:
- NEVER put your jeans in the DRYER! Drying raw denim in a dryer can cause the cotton fibers to twist and can ruin the fit. It can also shrink the jeans, as well as cause them unwanted wear and tear, so they may not last as long. The indigo off of the jeans can leave a nasty residue in your dryer that can ruin other clothes you try to dry later.
- You should hang dry and SHOULD NOT FOLD your jeans because this can also cause unwanted creases. Ideally hang your denim outdoors and in the sun as sunlight has natural bleaching properties.
- You can also dry clean your denim although real denim enthusiasts would tell you not to.
- Try and keep your jeans away from a lot of water including wearing them in heavy rainstorms.
- Do not wash your denim for at least 6 months up to 1 year after the first wear. If you wash raw denim too soon all the indigo will bleed out and you will not achieve all the beautiful fading, contrast, or honeycombing around the knees. On the other hand, if you wait too long to wash your denim (more than a year) you risk a crotch blow out.