How to wash raw jeans

Toolbox le 2 September 2013 par Romano as "the garagerocker"

Purists say when you get new raw jeans, it is necessary to wear them at least six month from 3 or 4 times a week before considering a first wash. According to preferences, some people even wear them up to 12 or 18 monthes, their jeans becoming then some organic clothing pieces, marked with the scars inherent to the wearer’s life (pockets, knees, bottom) and creating their own ecosystem (yes, I am talking about bacteriums – dirty isn’t it?). As I like to wear different trousers every day, I have waited until the 18th month to decide washing my raw jeans for the first time. They have been worn around 2/3 times per week, and they had already faded a lot before washing.

Why would I wait before washing them ?

Raw jeans get scars because of their indigo dye fading, the fabric gets its original color back then: white. This concept is the same many brands try to propose with worn jeans. Except that raw jeans get marks over time, over wear and tear (if not washed before, as a wash will make their color fade).

washing raw jeans

One might think it is only some purists, or dirty people matter, but some other say: the longer you wear a pair of jeans without washing it, the more beautiful it’ll become. As natural mistreatments; when sitting, carrying a wallet or a phone in the pocket , etc.; would inevitably make irregular fading points, this will create a unique piece which color contrasts will improve when washing, giving then a nice used aspect. Whash your jeans too early, and the indigo dye usually used on raw jeans will fade uniformly. Unless you prefer that, a dull render, sometimes even darker than brefore washing, and most of all, all the magic disapearing, stick to this 6 month guideline.

Premium jeans brand create kind of a panic when a new buyer come to get their jeans. They warn any new wearer about washing their jeans properly and give many washing options. Sincerely, bathing at the beach, using such or such detergent, machine or no machine, nearly impossible to sort things out! And you’re here, jeans in hand, terrified with the idea of spoiling them… when seriously, we’re just talking about washing some clothing piece!

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How do I wash my jeans ntil washing them?

First of all, it has been proved that jeans worn regularly without wash have a same bacterium level than freshly washed jeans. According to a Canadian who, in 2009, wore his jeans during 15 months then made a comparision before and after washing them (here is the source). For many other occasions, it is essential to disinfect your jeans after a sweat, a whole night spent in a nightclub’ smoking area, after cooking sardines, etc.

  • As far as possible, use a tissue, paper towel, but never use soap or water to wash your jeans stains.

  • Specific antibacterial disinfectant sprays exists!
  • Always tell yourself that a night spent outsite would expel foul-smellings.
  • For some, puting the jeans into a self-sealing plastic bag then putting them into the freezer for a whole night works. For the others, this has remained a legend.
  • For a blood stain, take a tissue then soak it with cold water. Scrub while caring to keep your jeans rather dry (actually, no water should appear on your jeans)
  • In case of chewing-gum, grandma’s good old recipe would work! Remove as much chewing gum as possible, then take an ice cube an try to wrap it with the gum.

The wash

Let’s get back to business! Once you have worn and used your jeans properly, time has now come to wash them. Do not panic, the method I used is simple as ever, and it does not require something you don’t have home.

preview jeans wash

What you will need.

  • Raw jeans from any brand which have never been washed, worn 3 times a week for 6 months.
  • 1 Special black detergent
  • A bathtub/basin
  • Lukewarm water
  • Somewhere to hang your jeans
  • 45 minutes

Time for some action

Now has come the fateful moment, let’s now proceed to the washing. First of all take your jeans off, then keep a water source at hand. Few recommend to put the jeans on reverse, I did not took such option because the dye would have remained on the jeans, and I wanted all the contrary. Well, let’s proceed step by step:

  1. Start by filling your bathtub with lukewarm water and make sure you can totally submerge the jeans in it.
  2. As the water flows, pour a 1/4 black detergent cap into it (cool, it makes foam.) – Important, do never use a classic detergent!
  3. Once the bathtub is ok, lay the jeans into it and submerge them. You could, if required, scrub the pockets which could look really dirty. However, don’t scrub the denim as it would leave marks.
  4. Soak the jeans during 45 minutes. If they don’t sink, you can try to put heavy items on them. Do not worry if the water color turns brown, that’s totally normal!
  5. Rinse with clear water to remove the detergent residues (after emptying the recipient)
  6. If you try this operation inside and you don’t want to flood your bathroom, roll the jeans to wring them out better.
  7. Now comes the drying step, hang your jeans outside and exposed to the sun if possible.
  8. After this first washing, you could try the operation more frequently, just leave 3 monthes between each washing.

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  • jan

    thanks for that!

    but one question remains: where did you get these brown boots? they look great.