Learning how to look after and clean your jeans is the best way to ensure you are getting the best out of them. So, we’ve put together this guide to help you learn how to look after raw denim jeans.
Denim Care Varies for Sanforized or Unsanforized Jeans
Before you can care for your jeans appropriately, you must work out whether your jeans are sanforized or not. This information is usually listed in the product description on our site. If shopping in-store, our team members will gladly help you.
The two types require different denim care.
What is sanforized denim?
Sanforized denim is that which has been processed to remove shrinkage from the fabric after it is woven.
The sanforization process uses steam and pressure to shrink and stretch the new fabric. Sanforized denim will have minimal shrinkage because of this process, most pairs will lose only about 0.5”-1” in length with a wash.
Does sanforized denim shrink?
Because sanforized denim has little shrinkage, it does not need to be soaked before wear. Feel free to start wearing it right away.
Having said that, some wearers prefer to soak their sanforized jeans, to remove some of the starch. In doing so, they get the minimal shrinkage in length out of the way.
What is unsanforized denim?
Unsanforized denim, otherwise known as shrink-to fit or loomstate, has not undergone the sanforization process. Unsanforized jeans tend to have a rougher texture and hairier feel in comparison to sanforized fabrics. They require an initial soak and will shrink by about 10%.
Preparing your Jeans: The Initial Soak
When soaking, always turn your jeans inside out. You then have two options.
Put your jeans in the bathtub in lukewarm water for around 30 minutes. Agitate the jeans so the cotton fibres absorb the water whilst the shrinkage takes place.
Alternatively, put your jeans in the washing machine. Ensure the washing cycle uses warm water and do not use any laundry detergent.
Soaking your jeans is an effective way to remove most or all of the shrinkage. We suggest avoiding soap, to keep some of the starch that helps form defined creases in a new pair.
Avoid the spin cycle and hang your jeans to air dry. Using a tumble dryer can leave vertical creases in a new pair. For best results we recommend at least two soaks.
How to Wash Jeans
When it comes to washing jeans, remember these top tips:
- Avoid hot wash cycles - as this will damage the fibres in the denim.
- Use a minimal amount of washing powder.
- Never use a tumble dryer!
How Often Should You Wash Your Jeans?
Your jean washing schedule will depend on the look you want to achieve.
Wash your jeans more often for a lower contrast, vintage fade.
Wash less often for higher contrast at creases and points of abrasion.
If you desire high-contrast fades, we suggest waiting up to five or six months of daily wear before the first wash. After this initial settling-in period, begin washing your jeans fairly frequently: once every 1-2 months.
After the first wash, the creases on your jeans will be well-defined. At this stage, it's safe to wash them more often and you will continue to see the denim's colour evolve.
This will also help to preserve the denim and the stitching, which is more prone to breakage with multiple long periods without washing. Make sure you turn your jeans inside out every time you wash them.
You can spot clean your pair of jeans without putting them on a wash cycle. Simply use a damp cloth with cold water to remove the excess soil and let it air dry.
How to avoid crotch blowouts
Soaking or washing your jeans will strengthen the cotton, especially in areas of stress such as the crotch. This should help to avoid those dreaded crotch blowouts.
Top Tip for Jeans that Last a Lifetime
If you want your jeans to last for years, make sure to wash them from time to time. There is little point in having killer contrast fades if they fall apart.
Remember: you only need to wash jeans when they are unbearably dirty or start to host an odour. You certainly don’t need to wash your jeans after every wear.
You may want to invest in a quality detergent, specifically designed for denim. Consider an enzyme-free liquid laundry detergent like Mr Black denim wash.
Alternatively, speak to a member of our team about our pre-purchase washing service.