Denim Care Thread (for denim FAQ)

January 12, 2011 @ 23:35:28
6 months is up, fades are pretty noticeable

i just throw them in the wash now? high heat?

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January 14, 2011 @ 20:47:17
6 months is up, fades are pretty noticeable

i just throw them in the wash now? high heat?


Yeah, you can wash now. Hot wash is the most popular way to go at this point.
January 23, 2011 @ 02:15:52
Is there a problem with using cold water for the initial soak? because I keep seeing guides up with using warm or hot instead. I suppose denim might fade better with warm/hot water? can someone verify this?
January 23, 2011 @ 04:38:25
Is there a problem with using cold water for the initial soak? because I keep seeing guides up with using warm or hot instead. I suppose denim might fade better with warm/hot water? can someone verify this?


The main reason people use warm/hot water is because it makes the denim shrink more so get out as much of the initial shrink as possible. However some believe that cold water causes less indigo loss, but on an initial soak it shouldn't really be a problem.
January 23, 2011 @ 17:42:25
Is there a problem with using cold water for the initial soak? because I keep seeing guides up with using warm or hot instead. I suppose denim might fade better with warm/hot water? can someone verify this?


You might retain more a little more indigo with a cold soak, but I don't really recommend doing it because you get almost no shrinkage with a cold soak. That defeats one of the major purposes of soaking before wearing, which is to get the shrinkage out of the garment.

The only situation in which I would recommend a cold soak (other than for cleaning) is if the jeans are already too tight on you, and you are worried that a hot soak would shrink them to the point where you can't wear them at all anymore. Other than that, I would do hot soaks, because cold soaks are pretty much a waste of time when it comes to shrinkage.
January 23, 2011 @ 18:11:34
^thanks for the help fellas
January 25, 2011 @ 21:37:03
Whats the goal behind a soak, instead of a wash. Got a pair of NAF that ive had for 7 months and i finally washed them, would it have been better to soak them?
January 26, 2011 @ 00:33:51
Soak is just less agitation and so less shrinkage + dye loss, if you wanted them cleanest then no wash would be more effective.
Also not trying to be a douche but 'better' is a little arbitrary, denim lovers are into lots of different things like some who vintage style fades, others want massive contrast, slub, all that.
January 26, 2011 @ 01:37:02
Whats the goal behind a soak, instead of a wash. Got a pair of NAF that ive had for 7 months and i finally washed them, would it have been better to soak them?


There are 2 main goals of soaking:

1. To remove starch from the jeans. Just about every pair of jeans comes starched brand new. Removing the starch will decrease the contrast of your fades but increase the life of your jeans.

2. If the denim is unsanforized, the soak is performed in order to shrink the jeans down to their proper size while minimizing indigo loss. This reason does not apply to sanforized denim like N&F, because sanforized denim doesn't really shrink even with a soak.

Washing gets the jeans cleaner than just soaking, so in your case, after 7 months of wear, it's probably best that you just washed instead of soaking.
January 26, 2011 @ 09:20:29
if u want it to fade faster that is. soaking keeps more color
January 26, 2011 @ 11:23:40
sweet thx for the info
January 26, 2011 @ 13:46:27
There are 2 main goals of soaking:

1. To remove starch from the jeans. Just about every pair of jeans comes starched brand new. Removing the starch will decrease the contrast of your fades but increase the life of your jeans.

2. If the denim is unsanforized, the soak is performed in order to shrink the jeans down to their proper size while minimizing indigo loss. This reason does not apply to sanforized denim like N&F, because sanforized denim doesn't really shrink even with a soak.

Washing gets the jeans cleaner than just soaking, so in your case, after 7 months of wear, it's probably best that you just washed instead of soaking.


ok sweet thanks for the info, so im planning to wash them again at the end of summer, so say another several months, to get higher contrast fades it would be better to wash them again im guessing?
January 26, 2011 @ 20:46:51
ok sweet thanks for the info, so im planning to wash them again at the end of summer, so say another several months, to get higher contrast fades it would be better to wash them again im guessing?


Actually, the longer you go without washing, the higher the contrast you get on your fades when you do eventually wash. The flip side is, the longer you go without washing, the sooner your denim or stitching will break down somewhere. So, you kind of have to balance the two. Your plan sounds fine to me.
January 26, 2011 @ 21:12:59
Anyone know how to avoid getting holes in the back of jeans almost all my selvage has gotten holes after like 8 months of wear

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January 27, 2011 @ 11:39:59
Anyone know how to avoid getting holes in the back of jeans almost all my selvage has gotten holes after like 8 months of wear


also wondering about this, would heavier oz. denim help?
January 28, 2011 @ 23:14:00
Anyone know how to avoid getting holes in the back of jeans almost all my selvage has gotten holes after like 8 months of wear


also wondering about this, would heavier oz. denim help?


Heavier denim tends to help, but it's usually the seat being stretched out by sitting or squatting and/or stuff in the back pockets causing additional wear to help create these holes.

So, if you sit or squat less and stop carrying stuff in your back pockets, you'll probably delay the formation of these holes. Or you could just not worry about it and get the jeans repaired when it does happen.
February 05, 2011 @ 02:42:05
How do you guys hang your raw denim? If not hang them how do you keep them when not wearing them?
February 05, 2011 @ 11:04:14
How do you guys hang your raw denim? If not hang them how do you keep them when not wearing them?


I lay mine flat on the ground.
February 06, 2011 @ 10:32:26
I've been wearing my NS for a bit longer than a year, they've been hot soken once; no wash.

I got the feeling that they need a wash, anybody got tips on how to do this? Cold or hot..
Help me out.
February 06, 2011 @ 12:54:56
So what do I do about tiny little stains that get on the front crotch area and dry quickly?

Like for example. If I'm eating chili and a small drop of the stuff splashes on the seat of my jeans, there's not much I can do except wipe off and whatever else is left let it harden and disentegrate right?

After only a month of wear on my NAF I have like 3 or 4 of these tiny stains. They aren't really that noticable but still kinda annoying.
February 06, 2011 @ 14:33:29
So what do I do about tiny little stains that get on the front crotch area and dry quickly?

Like for example. If I'm eating chili and a small drop of the stuff splashes on the seat of my jeans, there's not much I can do except wipe off and whatever else is left let it harden and disentegrate right?

After only a month of wear on my NAF I have like 3 or 4 of these tiny stains. They aren't really that noticable but still kinda annoying.


cry more.
February 06, 2011 @ 14:50:12
Well you do the math genius.

4 stains after 1 month = a whole pants seat of shit after 6-10 months of wear.

So what do you spot clean it or just let it disentegrate?

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February 06, 2011 @ 23:46:39
They're just jeans man they age better if you DON'T baby them. But then again they'd be your jeans so you can treat them how you feel is best.
About initial shrinkage a hot tub/sink soak for 30 minutes should do it.
February 07, 2011 @ 01:06:48
I've been wearing my NS for a bit longer than a year, they've been hot soken once; no wash.

I got the feeling that they need a wash, anybody got tips on how to do this? Cold or hot..
Help me out.


I would do a hot wash, using detergent that is either colorfast, like Woolite Dark, or organic, like Dr. Bronner's.

So what do I do about tiny little stains that get on the front crotch area and dry quickly?

Like for example. If I'm eating chili and a small drop of the stuff splashes on the seat of my jeans, there's not much I can do except wipe off and whatever else is left let it harden and disentegrate right?

After only a month of wear on my NAF I have like 3 or 4 of these tiny stains. They aren't really that noticable but still kinda annoying.


I wipe up as much as I can while the drop is still wet, then I let whatever is left over just disintegrate.

OK guys so I'm pretty much a huge denim noob. I own a pair of Levi 505's, 514's, and some raw denim from GAP that I got for sale. Being aware that there is a certain way to 'wash' your jeans, I've yet to wash any of mine and I've had them since about the beginning of the year. However, I'm in the market to purchase another pair and I'm thinking of getting the 501's (shrink to fit, I guess, because every one is suggesting that to me), but I have no idea how to actually take care of them. I read the first few pages of this thread and got some insight, but I'm not exactly sure which method to go with because there are plenty of them. Which is the best one to follow?

I'm talking about the actual method of 'shrinking to fit' and also, what should I do to wash my current jeans? I haven't worn them every day and I've kind of rotated throughout the 3 of them. Thanks.


Everybody is going to have a different opinion on what method is best. Personally, for "shrinking to fit", I like to do two hot soaks of about an hour each, hang drying after each soak. For washing, look above at my first response in this post for my recommendation.

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February 07, 2011 @ 13:19:30
Is there like a YouTube video for these methods? lol. I'm just excited to start taking care of my jeans better and I don't wanna mess up. When you say things like 'hot soaks for an hour each' I'm not exactly sure what you mean. So do I sit in a hot bath tub or something with these on or what? Sorry for the confusion.


No, personally, I don't think there is any need to sit in the bathtub with your jeans unless they so tight raw that you don't think you'll be able to get back into them after soaking.

Just fill a tub with hot water (I use the hottest water that the tap will give me), and put your jeans in. Use weights to make sure that they stay submerged. Take them out after an hour and hang dry them. That's all there is to a hot soak.

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February 07, 2011 @ 15:05:04
That sounds simple enough to me. When you put weights on them, can you just put like a big shampoo bottle on each leg or something? And when you hang dry them, do you post them over like a coat rack or do you attach it to a hanger or something and leave it there? Or do you leave it outside? Lol, sorry for the questions just looking for some stuff that I should avoid. Thanks a lot.


For weights, I use my wife's 5 lb. dumbbells, but you can use anything that is heavy enough to hold the jeans down. I'm pretty sure that most shampoo bottles float in water, so you might want to look for something else as a weight.

For drying, I personally sling them over my banister and run a fan on them, but you can pretty much dry them any way that you want as long as you don't use the tumble dryer. And even using the tumble dryer isn't going to destroy your jeans or anything, it just softens the denim up a lot, which I don't like on a new pair of raw jeans.

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