care for raw denim

How to Care for Your Raw Denim

It’s been a month since you bought your pair of raw selvedge denim and after hearing comments from different people, you are still unsure on what you should do with your jeans to have them last longer. Here in Denimio, we are crazy about all things denim and we will be sharing with you our tips on denim care.

First off, raw denim is basically an unwashed pair of jeans that is stiffer and richer in indigo dye. Raw denim are normally preferred because of how they can “grow” onto the wearer as time passes. Because it is unwashed, the denim will fade, stretch and change depending on how you treat the fabric. Selvedge on the other hand refers to a specific type of fabric that is made on old-style shuttle looms. Though the two are usually misunderstood to be synonymous, they are actually very different things. Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are some methods on how to care for your raw denim.

Major wash and care

“How long should I wait before washing my raw denim? Or, should I even wash them at all?” These are frequently asked questions and honestly, most people have different opinions on the subject matter. While there are some people who would advise you not to wash them at all, we believe that there will eventually be occasions where washing is necessary. We wouldn’t want you to keep wearing a dirty pair of denim simply because there is a “rule” that says you can’t wash them.

If you need to wash your raw denim, here are some guidelines you can go by.

For the initial soak prepare a bathtub with cool or lukewarm water, about 3-4 inches deep. The idea behind using lower temperatures for your soak is to minimize the fading of the indigo dye.
Some recommend that the jeans be turned inside out for this process, however, we feel that it is optional.
In order to keep the denim completely submerged, you may need to put heavier weights on it.
Put in very light detergent when soaking your denim. Avoid putting in any bleach as well.
Let it soak for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Hang and air-dry indoors to preserve the shape and colour of the denim.

Most people would advise that you wash your denim only every 6-12 months. Frequent washing of your denim may affect the fade that you’re looking for, but not washing them for too long may cause the breakdown of the denim at the seams, especially in the crotch area. Considering the two factors, it is entirely up to your preference when it comes to how often you should wash it.

Minor cleaning and care

For minor stains, we recommend using a wet napkin. Avoid using any soap or detergent as it may cause the indigo dye to fade unevenly. You don’t want to be walking around with faded blotches on your jeans, do you?

When it comes to smell, you can use products like Febreeze, or you can also put your denim into the freezer for a few hours. The extreme temperature will kill any bacteria causing the smell without affecting the fade of the denim.

Giving your denim character

One major selling point of raw denim is the ability of the fabric to have “character” based on how someone wears it. Everything from the way you cuff your jeans, to what you put in your pockets all the time, to how you sit will give your raw denim a fade that is unique to you. If you want to stretch your jeans out for a better fit, try putting them on after a soak while it is still slightly damp. It may feel slightly tight at first, but it will fit in no time.

Most importantly, have fun and experiment with different methods until you find one that suits the way you want your to denim to fade and fit on you. Let us know in the comments on how often you wash your denim and what you do differently to create the perfect fade and fit for yourself.