How to Wash Raw Denim – Methods & Care Guide

Last Updated on March 7, 2023

Do You know How to Wash Raw Denim? or how to care denim item while washing, ironing etc? Denim pants, jackets, and shorts have become a staple in ours. They are stylish, affordable, and comfortable, which is why they quickly became the favorite clothing of millions worldwide. And it all started back in 1873 with a patent for producing work overalls.

How to Wash Denim

They always had three pockets: for a knife, money, and the smallest one for coins. Initially, the fabric had only a rich blue color. Just then, it was the most stable dye.

Jeans have become an attribute of port movers, cowboys, and gold diggers. Cotton, breathable fabric that you can wash – ideal for people involved in heavy physical labor. Today it is universal, but always fashionable clothes. Let’s get to know Denim closer to understand how to care for it properly.

What is Denim Fabric, and What is Sewn with it?

Denim is a dense fabric made of cotton threads with weaving-like twill. Each new thread shifts the crossing system one or two threads to the side. Thus, diagonal tubercles (the so-called scar) are formed on the surface.

Sewing Denim

The density of Denim is calculated in ounces; usually, this figure is kept in the range of 4 to 7. The threads in the base of the fabric (wefts) are not dyed. Therefore, the wrong side of the canvas is always light. But for the front side, the number of different shades is practically unlimited.

Men’s, women’s, and children’s clothes are sewn from Denim. And there needs to be a special sewing machine to sew denim. Its assortment is extensive: trousers, jackets, vests, sundresses, dresses, summer shirts, and shorts. Headwear (caps, baseball caps, and Panama hats for children) and denim shoes (moccasins, sneakers, sandals, and even boots) are also very popular. Backpacks and bags are also sewn from this fabric.

Should You Ever Wash Raw Denim?

Raw denim is typically not washed for a few reasons. First, washing can cause the dye to bleed and fade, altering the appearance of the denim. Second, washing can shrink or distort the fit of the jeans. That being said, if your raw denim is particularly dirty or smelly, it may be necessary to wash it. In this case, it is best to do a soak rather than a full wash in order to minimize any changes to the fabric.

Use cold water and a gentle detergent specifically designed for denim. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as these can damage and alter the fabric’s color. Hang dry your raw denim jeans when finished washing them to maintain their shape and integrity. Ultimately, whether or not you should ever wash raw denim depends on how often you wear them and how dirty they become.

How to Wash Raw Denim?

You can clean jeans differently: by hand or in an automatic machine. Each one of these methods has its own set of guidelines. Their observance will determine how the product looks and how long it lasts.

1. Washing Denim by hand

This is the most common way to wash denim clothes. This is because the material is quite dense, and with too intensive and frequent Washing with a machine, it loses its properties.

Washing Denim by hand

Washing denim by hand step by step:

  1. Turn the denim item inside out.
  2. If there are no serious stains, dip it several times in a container with water (its temperature is not higher than 20+ degrees) and a non-aggressive detergent. You can use simple laundry soap.
  3. When the fabric is completely saturated with soapy water, you must lay the thing out on a flat and hard surface. The bottom of the bath will do.
  4. Pour a little gel onto the clothes brush and lightly brush the fabric. With heavily stubborn stains, you can rub harder.
  5. After cleaning, you must rinse the item thoroughly. To do this, dilute a couple of tablespoons of vinegar in cold water.

2. Washing Denim in the Washing Machine

A machine is allowed for those who still have no time for hand washing. However, several details need to be considered.

Washing Denim in the Washing Machine

Machine wash rules:

  1. You must also turn to clothes inside out. Fasten all snakes, buttons, and buttons.
  2. Additional protection will be a special mesh laundry bag (especially if there are embroidered patterns, rhinestones, and stripes).
  3. We must now interact with the formats. The latest models of machines already have a program for washing jeans. In their apparent lack, a delicate mode is appropriate. The water temperature should be at most 50+ degrees, and the number of revolutions should be at most 600 – 700. If the clothes are not very dirty, it is better to clean them manually.

How to Wash Shrink Denim?

There are different situations: sometimes, the purchased item is too big or stretched after Washing and wearing. You can attempt to reduce it in such conditions.

How to Wash Shrink Denim

Here it would be best if you acted from the contrary according to the principle: you can do what you can’t:

1. Machine wash in hot water

Up to 90+ degrees inclusive, using the fast spin option. It is preferable to perform this process continually in a row without putting on any products. A highly effective method for fabrics containing a low percentage of synthetic threads. It is better to conduct such an experiment on high-quality Denim. The duration of the wash should be within half an hour.

2. A more gentle option is manual

It is based on the contrast: clothes are soaked in well-hot water (for about 30 minutes) but rinsed in completely cold water. You can alternately dip the fabric in the water at different temperatures. It is also useful to resort to this method: soak the trousers in cold water all night, and wash them hot during the day. Dry in a horizontal position on a flat surface. Extreme mods are advised to take a bath in trousers. After that, they are rinsed and dried.

3. Nostalgia method

Older people still remember when trousers were boiled in the kitchen. A saturated concentrate is made from detergents (laundry soap or powder) in a large saucepan. It is filled with clothes and heated gently for about 30 minutes to boil them. The size of clothes is reduced, and even the most hopeless stains are removed. Split-up can be an unpleasant surprise.

To reduce the size of jeans, you can not bother with non-standard Washing. It is enough to dry them on a hot battery or take them out into the open sun. The rays should not fall on the front side (it is better to turn the trousers inside out). Hang your trousers on clothespins so that the legs do not sit down.

How to Wash Denim So That It Does Not Shrink?

To do this, you must strictly follow all the hand and machine washing rules. Do not experiment with water temperature (the maximum threshold is +40 degrees). Never twist clothes.

How to Wash Denim

Before drying, carefully straighten the fabric and allow excess moisture to drain. It is best to lay the trousers on the table, spreading a hygroscopic terry towel under them. It is permissible to dry.

1. Detergents

Denim does not tolerate granular powders. They spoil the structure of the fabric and discolor it. After using the powder, the fabric will not be as strong as before, and you can forget about the bright color.

Gels will be a saving alternative. They are economical and gentle. They help wash the thing with high quality, preserve the original color and do not injure the threads. The gel quickly dissolves in water, leaving no soap stains, and is easy to rinse.

It is essential to adhere to the usage guidelines strictly. It’s also advised that you pay particular attention to complicated denim stains.

2. Whitening things

You can add any chlorine bleach to the water and place the jeans. Stir them with a wooden stick. The main thing is to take advantage of the moment when the Denim changes shade. You can produce the effect of stains by twisting clothing.

Hydrogen peroxide and soda are also good brighteners. The latter is better not to pour into the machine. You can use household detergents (for example, Domestos – 0.5 cups / 3 liters of water). But after using it, the strong smell persists for a lengthy time.

In addition, a good bleaching option is a concentrated citric acid solution. It will lighten the fabric and remove the scale from the drum. You can try boiling. But you should bear in mind that along with a color change, the clothes will sit at least a size.

3. Drying

The ideal option is to lay the trousers on a table on a hygroscopic cloth away from heating appliances. You can also dry it in a suspended state; only clothespins should be fixed strictly on the belt. Try to avoid automatic dryers, or at least set the temperature to the lowest.

How Do You Wash Raw Denim Without Fading?

Washing raw denim requires some care to avoid fading, but keeping your jeans looking new is possible. Here are a few tips:

  1. Turn your jeans inside out before washing them to prevent the outside from rubbing against the drum of the washer.
  2. Use cold water and a very mild detergent that is gentle on the fabric. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as these can cause fading and damage to the fibers in the denim.
  3. Wash your jeans by hand if possible, or use a gentle cycle with a low spin speed to minimize agitation.
  4. Hang your jeans up to dry instead of using a dryer which can be harsh on fabrics and cause fading over time.

Following these simple steps, you can wash your raw denim without sacrificing color or quality.

What Happens if You Machine Wash Raw Denim?

Raw denim is known for its unique texture and color that develops over time with wear, so it’s essential to take good care of it to maintain the fabric’s quality. Machine washing raw denim can have a negative impact on the fabric, causing it to shrink and lose some of its distinctive characteristics.

Additionally, machine washing can cause indigo dye from the denim to bleed onto other clothes in your load. If you must wash your raw denim jeans, consider hand-washing them in cold water with a mild detergent and allowing them to air dry. This will help preserve their color and texture while also extending their lifespan.

When Should I Wash My Raw Denim for the First Time?

As a general rule, it’s recommended that you wait at least six months before washing your raw denim jeans for the first time. This allows the jeans to mold to your body and take on unique fade patterns, resulting in a personalized and well-worn appearance.

However, if the jeans get excessively dirty or emit an odor, washing them earlier than six months is perfectly fine. When washing raw denim, be sure to follow the instructions on the care label and consider hand-washing or using a gentle cycle with cold water to avoid excessive shrinkage and color loss.

How Many Times Should I Wear Raw Denim Before Washing?

The rule of thumb for raw denim is to avoid washing it too frequently. Most experts recommend waiting at least six months before washing your raw denim jeans for the first time.

However, how often you wash them afterward depends on your preferences and lifestyle. Some people prefer not to wash their raw denim at all, while others may opt to wash them every few weeks or as needed. It’s important to note that the more frequently you wash your jeans, the more quickly they will fade and lose their unique character.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and finding a balance between maintaining hygiene and preserving the quality of the fabric.

Can I Wash Raw Denim With Other Clothes?

Technically, you can wash raw denim with other clothes, but it is generally not recommended. The reason is that raw denim tends to bleed dye during the first few washes, which can result in staining or discoloration of other items in the load.

To avoid this potential problem, it’s best to wash your raw denim separately for the first few times until the bleeding stops. Alternatively, you could consider hand-washing your raw denim to ensure that no other clothing items are affected by the color bleeding.

What Temperature Do You Soak Raw Denim?

To properly soak raw denim, you will want to set the temperature of the water to cold or lukewarm. Hot water can cause shrinkage and potentially damage the fabric.

It’s best also to avoid using any detergents or bleach, as this can strip the natural indigo dye from the denim. Submerge your raw denim in water with a small amount of mild soap, if necessary, and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing thoroughly and hanging it to dry.

How to Iron Denim?

It is preferred to iron jeans from the back side only. For the front, it is recommended to use a piece of damp cotton cloth, gauze, or mesh. Slightly damp trousers are ironed and steamed at low temperatures. Modern irons have a special mode for Denim.

How to Iron Denim

Hot to Care Denim Fabric or Items?

It would be best if you took good care of your clothing to keep it looking good for a long time:

  • Follow a gentle washing regime;
  • Do not use hot water (from 40 degrees or more);
  • No bleach based on chlorine;
  • Wash denim separately from other items;
  • Strictly follow the rules of drying and ironing;
  • Keep trousers and jackets on your temples so that they are less wrinkled.


Washing jeans properly is easier than it seems. Thanks to these helpful tips, your denim products will always look spectacular and stylish, as if they were fresh from the store.

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