Denim : Wash Guide
Jul 11, 2013

Far more people have started pulling on a pair of raws these days as compared to the denim scene just a couple years ago. One question that I’ve been asked most often is “How do you wash your jeans when its time?”. So I figured I’d write an instructional for everyone, that’s clear enough for them to rest all doubt.

Before you go about washing your denim for the first time, see if you can spot some wear on them first. I don’t have a fixed rule about when you’re supposed to wash them, as it really depends on your country’s climate, the activities you do and the nature of the fabric itself. If you spot some fraying on multiple spots on the denim, its definitely time to wash. Washing prolongs the life of the cotton, but lightens the indigo dye. Always good to know.

If you’re a purist and wish to be extremely gentle with your jeans. Hand wash them. For the rest of us who just don’t have the time, follow these steps.

Step 1: Always check every single pocket on your denim. Make sure you’ve removed everything, including that movie stub from several months ago. It’s a very common sensical step but its one thats easy to forget. Recently, I left a leather wallet in my back pocket during a hot soak, it didn’t end well.


Step 2: Turn your denim inside out. This is important as you wouldn’t want random streaks appearing on the front as a result of the tumbling it goes through in the machine. This is why we expose the non-dyed inside of the jeans to the mercy of the machine. If you’re hand washing your jeans, turn your jeans inside out anyways. The rubbing you do during hand washing can cause unnatural fades if the denim isn’t turned inside out.


Step 3: After you’ve turned the jeans inside out, button up the top button at the very least. I tend to do all of them. The reason behind this, is that you wouldn’t want your buttons bouncing around on the inside of the machine. Believe me, it can really be quite damaging for the buttons.


Step 4: Lay it out inside out and admire the view. Then fold it up neatly and take it to The Machine.


Step 5: Open your Machine door and put it in. No Kidding. Shut the door after.


Step 6: Here’s where it gets a little tricky. I’ve got one of those customizable front loading machines. So I’m going to break it down for all of you. If you have a machine where you can customize the temperature and rpm of the spin/tumble, here’s what you do:

- Set it to 400 or less rpm for the spin/tumble. If less means zero spin if your machine allows it. (Had to add spin and no spin because people were getting the wrong idea about what I’m saying it seems.)

- Set the temperature from anything between 30 to 60 degrees CELSIUS. Denim Manufacturers do not recommend anything more than 60. At your own risk if you do. I often go over that limit, but my leather patch gets fried.

If you have one of those machines that just have High/Med/Low temperature and spin/tumble settings, here’s what you do:

- Set Med or Low for the temperature setting.

- Set Low for the spin/tumble setting.

That’s it. That’s all you got to do. Now, I’d like you to understand a few things about temperature. Denim is greatly affected by heat in 2 particular ways.

- The Higher the heat, the Greater the Contrast.

- The Higher the heat, the Greater the Shrinkage.

So always bear that in mind when you think about how you should wash your denim. I use a particularly high temperature setting when I’d like a snugger fit right out of the wash. It only works to a point, just so you know.


Step 7: Before you start the program running on the machine, you need some washing powder. Use only Non-Bleach washing powder. If you have Woolite readily available, that would be ideal, despite the fact it is actually a liquid not a powder. However, any Non-Bleach washing powder will do just fine. You can check the contents of the powder/liquid you’re using. This applies to both Machine and Hand Washing techniques.¬†


That’s it! You’re done! Now all you’ve got to do is wait for the machine to finish, then take the denim and hang them out to drip dry. If your jeans were quite snug to begin with, you may want to put them on when they’re still a little damp as it helps with the stretch. I said a little damp not soaking. I hope this guide has helped you on your raw journey. Look out for more guides coming right up.


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