Any denim lover has their tried and true method for washing their jeans. Just browse the subreddit /r/rawdenim and you’ll quickly realize it’s a surprisingly controversial topic. Personally, we really prefer the old tub soak. Reason being, it effectively removes dirt and oils that can break down your denim, but is gentle enough to avoid fabric disintegration, which can easily happen in a traditional washing and drying machine type of situation.
At the end of the day, use whatever method works best for you. But if you're curious and don’t have a go-to strategy yet we recommend the following:
Remove all coins, movie tickets and wadded up cash from your pockets. If this is the first wash then you can turn your jeans inside out, but it isn't necessary otherwise.
A regular bathtub is perfect for this job, but if your tub is porcelain we recommend using a basin/bin instead. Indigo dyed porcelain isn’t going to help increase your home resale value.
Fill your tub about halfway with lukewarm water. You want enough water to completely cover your jeans, so about 4-5 inches. Also, don't go too hot - the warmer the water, the more dye will bleed from your denim.
Add a small amount of detergent. We’ve had good success with Woolite Dark , but whatever you use just make sure there’s no additives or bleach. Make sure the detergent is completely dissolved before you place your jeans in the tub.
Get To Work
Fully submerge your jeans in the lukewarm water. Make sure to hold down the areas that get air pockets. Once they’re completely soaked you want to start agitating the fabric. Don’t scrub or scrunch them up roughly, but lightly churn the water so that it flows through the fabric.
Let sit for about an hour before agitating them one more time before draining all the water.
Rinse & Hang Dry
Once the tub is drained you want to turn the water back on, but this time on cold. Rinse the jeans lightly to rinse out all the detergent.
Wring the fabric lightly to drain of excess water and hang dry somewhere that gets plenty of air flow. Drying denim can take hours, but goes a long way to preserve your favorite jeans. Dryer’s are a hot bed (literally) that fades, shrinks and distresses denim quicker than almost any fabric, so hang your denim to drip-dry to maintain their proper fit, reduce wrinkles and preserve the fabric longer.
Once dry, store your denim on a hanger, especially if you’re wearing raw and selvedge denim. Folding your jeans will go against the natural wear pattern.
That’s it! If you have any tips of your own, please share them below.