Raw denim is a much bigger commitment than normal denim. Raw denim is any denim product that hasn’t been washed as part of its production cycle.
This leads to some important upkeep considerations, which we’ll discuss below.
How Often Should You Wash Raw Denim?
Raw denim should be washed as little as possible. Depending on the manufacturer, denim wash and fit, this could be anywhere from once every 3-12 months. In theory, not having to wash raw denim at all would be great, but sometimes, needs must.
To understand why, we should briefly recap the difference between raw denim and regular denim.
Put simply, raw denim isn’t rinsed after the dyeing process. This means it’s much darker with indigo dye, and much stiffer. It’s also not pre-shrunk, so any stretching happens by you wearing them.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll want to avoid washing them too much because it’ll wash out the product’s characteristic traits.
Avoiding washing raw denim helps it wear, which leaves patches of dye unique to the trousers’ fit on you, and how you wear them. As this is one of the product’s main appeals, you’ll want to not wash them too much.
Try to wear your raw denim jeans for at least 6 months before first washing them. This gives them a chance to stretch and lose some of their dye.
After washing them for the first time, you can increase this to every 3-4 months if you want to, but it should be kept to the absolute minimum.
How Do You Wash Raw Denim?
Because of the presence of extra dye and starch, you’ll want to be careful when washing your raw denim. Some general steps include:
- Turn the jeans inside out, as this can help protect some of the wear you’ve put into them.
- Do up the fly and button to keep them in shape.
- Only use around a tablespoon of laundry detergent, along with a small amount of white vinegar to help remove odours.
- Wash at 30 degrees Celsius with a spin cycle of 900 rpm.
- Flick the jeans out and then hang to dry. Do not put them anywhere near a tumble dryer or any other source of direct heat.
Does Washing Raw Denim Make It Softer?
Washing raw denim certainly makes it softer because it washes away some of the starch that’s present.
However, you’ll want to ensure you’ve broken the jeans in yourself before it gets to this stage, as the extra starch helps them mould to your fit more effectively.
Washing raw denim is done on a needs-must basis. The less you wash it, the better it’ll look, and the longer it’ll last. Granted, it can take a bit of a mental adjustment to treat your raw denim like this, but it’ll definitely be worth it in the long run.
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.