Myths about Washing your Denim

Before going into all those myths about washing raw denim let us first understand what the term ‘Raw Denim’ means. Raw denim is denim which has not been washed a single time. The denim comes directly from the loom and is cut and sewn into jeans and is sold to us with no waiting involved in the middle. The denims are a result of the combined effort put in by the denim cloth manufacturer and the denim manufacturer who later converts that piece of cloth into jeans. Now many of the salesmen working in denim stores tend to give tips on how to wash your jeans or when to wash your jeans. For example- “wear your jeans for as long as possible and then wash them in the ocean water.” There are many tips like these out of which some are true but many of them are myths. We’ll discuss some of these myths regarding the washing of raw denim here, which were busted by denim jeans manufacturers themselves.

Myth #1 Freeze your denim??

This is arguably one of the most talked-about myths about wearing and washing denim.

What happens when you don’t wash your jeans for a long period of time, they start to smell obvious! The longest that I’ve gone without washing my jeans is a bit longer than six months. My jeans used to smell so bad that people could actually smell me before they could hear me coming. Then I heard from a friend of mine that I could get rid of the smell by putting my jeans in my freezer for a day or two. I tried that method but it didn’t really work.

The concept behind this is that the jeans smell due to the bacteria which get accumulated on the jeans due to not washing it for a long time. When you put your jeans into the freezer those bacteria are supposed to die due to the extremely low temperatures. That’s true for most of the bacteria but in this case, they just become inactive and when your jeans again warm up they start to smell just like before. The denim cloth manufacturers have helped to bust this myth.


Myth #2 Ocean wash with a good sand rub

Ocean wash with a good sand rub sounds interesting but it’s said there’s a fact known amongst the researchers that swimming in the sea with jeans will give shades. The salt in the water is the culprit for this action. The denim will crease up to produce higher fades, according to Jeremy Smith, co-founder of Standard & Strange. It is also to be noted that according to Kiya Babzani of Self Edge (a denim jeans manufacturing company) has mentioned,

  “In the end, it will deposit more dirt and hard water into the fibers than what was there, to begin with. Due to the seawater scent and the high mineral content of ocean water, you’ll need to machine wash your jeans after an ocean wash to truly get them clean,”

Sand rubbing your jeans can increase the rate of fading and there might be some sand particles that get stuck between the denim fibers. In the end, the user has to wash the jeans in freshwater, which the user could have done earlier.

Myth #3 Not washing the jeans for 6 months

This is the most common myth known amongst the users is about delaying the wash for 6 months. Sounds logical but here’s the catch, according to most of the denim jeans and cloth manufacturers the longer you delay the wash, the strength of the denim further decreases. Additionally, some people say that delaying the wash will get great fades in your jeans. But, the question here is, how does one decide what is a great fade? It depends on individual-to-individual. Also, the jeans coming from the industries are pre-faded. So, there’s no point in delaying the wash for 6 months in order to get great fades.


Myths are there to make one fear of losing something! Because at the end it is not the denim wash but the fear of losing one’s precious piece of cloth which forces us to believe such myths. But as mentioned above these are myths and have no proof of backing themselves, whereas on the other hand, practical applications of these have resulted in a negation!! So don’t believe in myths and wear your denims comfortable, and yes do wash them once in 2-3 weeks as neither do they fade nor make you smell like an animal (personal experience). On top of that if you don’t have time to wash the denim yourself, then give it for laundry. Now if you want your denims not to undergo any such color changes (fading) or shrinking after wash, it is recommended to buy denims from a professional denim manufacturer and give it to the same for washing from time to time. At last, I would say that – ‘Denims are supposed to make you look like a beast and not smell like one!!’

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