The Internet is full of recommendations and “rules” with regard to how, and if, one should wash their raw denim jeans. Many opinions are put forth by consumers, some by denim makers and others by denim mills. It seems as though everyone has a different “recipe”.
The fact is that there is no exact prescription to follow and that each person has a different regimen for his or her jeans. The process we follow for our personal jeans is simple: we wash them after four to six months of wear and then every couple of months thereafter.
How To Wash Raw Denim
Our recommended washing method is to turn the jeans inside out and wash in cold water and air dry. The cold water wash can either be done in a tub by hand or in a front loading machine on the hand wash or delicate cycle. Top loading machines tend to spin the jeans too aggressively which can lead to streaks in the denim where the jeans rub against themselves.
Regardless of the washing method, air drying is essential. Air drying helps the jeans retain the custom fit you obtain through months of wear when starting with rigid denim.
Jeans that are washed periodically, especially later in their life, will actually last longer as dirt, sweat and other bacteria can weaken the cotton fibers, hastening holes and blowouts.
The Myth to Freezing Raw Denim
Regardless of the washing method you employ, do not fall victim to the urban legend that instead washing your jeans you can just “freshen them up” by keeping them in the freezer overnight. Think about how ridiculous that notion is. The freezer will not miraculously remove the dirt and whatever else is causing an odor. There are various ways to mask odor, and our favorite is Juniper Ridge’s Desert Denim Wash.