It's 102 degrees in Long beach right now and most naturally what do you do when it's Lucifers furnace outside?
You take your pants off, duh.
But real talk, I have noticed a lot of guys seizing the time to wash, repair, and care for their denim in times of heat wave. Sometimes you just can't wear the denims when its this hot out (I am not one of those people, long pants always and forever) I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you how I care for and wash my denim.
Lots of guys ask me how to care for their jeans and its a fair question. Raw denim care is something we all do differently and I totally understand. We are paying usually $200+ for jeans and you want to make sure you don't ruin that beautiful patina you have worked months for, or god forbid you shrink your jeans and ruin the fit all together. (don't worry that wont happen)
Common rule for raw denim is this, Wear your raw denim for six months before their first wash.
Why you ask? Because raw denim needs to be broken in and shaped to how you and your body wear them. Hence the fades, whiskers, honeycombs, and beautiful patina you seem developing on your jeans the more you wear them. Six months is that good point to wash your denim because they have now molded themselves to every nook and cranny of your body. With that being said once your jeans are ready to hit the showers and take a dip they will have a "memory" to them once they have gone through the detailed wash process to fit your body perfectly post wash, rinse, and dry.
It's a fairly simple process I use to hand wash and care for my jeans. You can use this process when the day comes when you need your raw denim to touch water.
I do a hand wash to all my denim just to avoid a few things:
1. shrinkage - The machine wash can cause shrinkage if you run the wrong water temp.
2. too much color loss. hand washing your denim lets your control all aspects of the process.
3. Creasing in the denim - if you jeans crinkle or ball up in the wash cycle is can cause uneven wash pattens and ruin the patina of your denim.
Here are the steps to follow if you wish to hand wash your denim.
Step 1 - Take it off
Take off your pants. Some guys like to take the plunge into the bath or ocean while still wearing their jeans to keep their shape. I don't care for this method because taking off soaking wet jeans just does not sound like a fun time to me. Then i have a pool of indigo water on my floors.
Step 2 - Fill it up
Fill your bathtub with cold water(cold water is suggested for two reasons, 1. hot water will induce some shrinkage. 2. heat can also activate more color loss in your denim.) fill deep enough to fully submerge your jeans. I like to use my tub because my jeans can lay flat in the water for a simple easy hand agitation. If you don't have a tub you can use a large bucket or 5 gallon bucket filled with cold water. Add a 1/4 cup of your detergent to the full length of the tub to equally distribute into the water.
Step 3 - Prep your Pants
Turn your jeans inside out. I like to keep my jeans inside out for the wash process to ensure if there is any color loss in the indigo releasing out of the yarns of my denim it could potentially be re-absorbed and keeping color loss in your denim to a minimum. I like my jeans dark. if you keep them right side out then the indigo will release into the water and during the rinse phase will just end up in the water rather then potentially back into your denim.
Step 4 - Wash & Rub
Now that you have filled your tub, added soap, and jeans are inside out, time to put them denim slacks into the water. Place your jeans into the water and fully submerge into the water. now that your jeans are in the water work your hands up and down the legs, hips, and waist pressing and agitating them in the water.
I suggest not to squeeze or ring them out in the water to avoid more color loss. Flip, and repeat the process on both sides. Once you feel you have worked the dirt, dust, and sweat out of the denim next is to rinse.
Step 5 - Rinse it off
Drain the soapy water out of the tub and refill with clean cold water. Now that you have clean water work the clean water through the denim to ensure all the soap and cleaner has been removed from your jeans before drying. I repeat the rinse process twice.
Fill with clean water, drain, fill again and rinse thoroughly.
Remember to not squeeze or ring out your denim while the water is fully saturating your jean or you will release extra indigo from your denim.
If you wanna see something gross grab your jeans by the waist and let the clean water run through them as you lift them vertically out of the water letting water drain from the leg openings into the tub, you'll see some interesting colors..
Step 6 - Roll it up
Now that your have washed and rinsed it is time for the dry. Before we hang your pants up for the long dry, I like to use the two towel method to get some of that extra water out of the jeans before hang drying. Helps decrease the hang weight and wont leave puddles all over your floor.
Take a towel lay it flat on the floor where its ok if you have a little water soak through. (not on white carpet) once the towel is laid flat take your freshly washed slacks (still inside out) and lay them flat on top of the towel the full length of the towel. Now roll from leg opening to the waist. Once you have what looks like a denim doobie compress the jeans into the towel. I like to walk on them denim roll-up to apply weight the full length of the roll.
Grab one more towel and repeat this process to get the remaining water out of your jeans.
Step 7 - Hang it up, your finished.
Now you can unroll your jeans from your denim rollup and return them to their natural right side out state. Hang your denim out for the final drying process. At this time you can open up the legs of your jeans to avoid any crease lines during the drying phase. Give your legs a little profile and you'll be happy when you slip back into them. I usually let them hang in a dry place over night.
keep in mind your denim will feel a little more snug as you did just wash and dry them.
This complete the hand wash process I tend to use on all of my raw denim. I hope this was helpful and insightful for any of you whom have questions on how to care for your denim.
Shoot me any questions you may have if you are still scratching your head!