There are many myths and legends out there regarding when you should wash your jeans, how often or if you should wash them at all. Today we hope to dis-spell some of these urban legends and pass on some top tips from a denim expert.
Let's start with the initial wash and how to achieve the perfect shrink to fit size.
1. You first need to first consider the make up of your jeans, as this will determine the rate at which they will shrink. In general, you will lose around 1-3 inches in length and up to an inch from the waist. ( Don't worry if this all sounds like gibberish to you, pop into your nearest specialist denim shop and ask their advice. )
2. The next step is to soak them and this can be done in three different ways. First for the denim purists we have the bath tub method. The idea behind this is that the jeans will shrink and mould to your body as you sit in the bath, but careful to watch the length as this can sometimes have a mind of its own when it comes to shrinking, and you don't want to end up with a new pair of shorts! If you don't feel like sitting in the bath then the alternative options are to turn the jeans inside out and let them soak in the bath in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes, swish the jeans about to help the cotton absorb the water and allow the shrinkage to happen. You could also put them in a warm machine wash with no soap, which proves quite effective. However try to avoid the spin cycle and tumble drying as these can leave vertical creases in a new pair. For best results we recommend doing at least two soaks.
3. Leave to air-dry and hey presto you've got the perfect shrink to fit jeans.
So the next question is how often should I wash my jeans as I begin to wear them?
Well the answer to this depends on how quickly and how much you want your jeans to fade. Wash your jeans more often for a less dramatic contrast in the creases and to achieve a vintage fade. And vice versa wash less often for higher contrast at creases and points of wear. Some like to wash their jeans regularly, some not at all - some who prefer to never to wash their jeans and allow them to wear down naturally over time, and then there are those who yearn for a soft and faded pair of baggies - that is the joy of denim it has so many options and variables depending on your personal choice and and style.
It is really a matter of choice. However, I would recommend minimal washing in order to save water. In a future trend month we will share just how much indigo denim jeans are helping to destroy the planet by using too much water, chemicals, energy.
If you do wish to wash then always turn the jeans inside out. Always wash on a short cold cycle with NO DETERGENT as this will always degrade the colour even if the powder claims to be non-bio, there is always a brightening enzyme in there.
Do not tumble dry, just line dry of dry flat after smoothing down on a flat surface with your hand. If however, you want them naturally creased just twist the water out and allow to dry still twisted. If you do this every time you wash them the indigo will wear away from the creases - voila! A naturally aged pair of jeans.
Denim is a wonderful fabric and is ideal for extensive wear and all the grit you can throw at them. Jeans love to live with you, ageing and getting better with time and wear. So next time you're about to wash your jeans, take a minute, and try to remember some of these tips so you can get the best from your denim .