It may feel like it was just yesterday you were slipping into your brand new pair of raw denim jeans, the blank slate that you would personalize over the coming months; the time you fell off your bike and scraped your knee, the outline of your wallet in your left back pocket and fading on your thighs from the harsh glare of the sun, has all transpired to make your pair unique to you and your lifestyle. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, it’s a bit of a religious experience to wash them for the very first time. But since you’ve invested months to have your new jeans become a second skin, you don’t want to undo all your hard work by incorrectly washing it all away.
We recommend breaking in your raw denim by not washing them for a minimum of six months. This will give the fabric a chance to shape to your bodies stress points and create fading that is sharp. This may seem a bit overwhelming if this is your first pair of raw denim and are an avid washing machine user. To help you make it to the six month mark there are a number of things you can do to keep your denim clean and scent free.
Stains: Address the stain as quickly as possible so it has less time to imbed color into the cotton fibers. Spot treat the excess liquid with a dry absorbent towel or paper napkin. If there is still color discoloration, use a small amount of water and rub the fibers together to loosen the stain. If the blemish is still apparent, use a very small amount of environmentally friendly non-bleach soap and repeat the prior step.
Deodorizer: Hang your denim outside on a sunny day when there’s a bit of wind for at least an hour and then turn them inside out for another hour. If there is still a scent remaining, fold your jeans in a clean pillowcase and keep them in the freezer overnight. This will neutralize any lingering scent and bacteria. You can also fold a cheesecloth with baking soda inside to create a smell-absorbing pocket. Dried lavender, mint or baby powder are also great alternatives.
Once you have made it to the six month mark use the following instructions to keep your raw denim looking its best and minimizing shrinkage and allover color fade:
Draw a bath of cool to lukewarm water five inches deep.
Gently hand wash or soak with 1/4 cup of mild non-bleach washing powder, preferably Woolite Black because it is designed to lock in darker colors.
Rinse well in a steady stream of cool water until all soap is gone.
Lay flat or hang to dry after giving the inseam a tug to help avoid shrinkage.
If you feel the need to use a washing machine, make sure you wash inside out with cold water on a delicate cycle. To avoid any color transfer, wash on its own with mild washing detergent that does not contain bleach. Do not tumble dry or dry clean. Hang to dry as previously mentioned.