Washing selvage denim jeans for the first time can be a delicate undertaking. Here are a few rules to follow to ensure the best results:
Wait 6 months before washing
We know that sounds extreme—but it is worth the wait. Raw denim is just that: raw. It hasn’t been chemically treated or distressed by a machine—it’s right off the loom and indigo-dyed. So you have to train your jeans and bring them up to speed with your life. Let them mold and crease to your body. By walking around, sitting, putting your hands in your pockets, you’ll end up with naturally distressed creases that fit the way you live. Wash them too early, and the indigo might fade too uniformly and you won’t be able to establish the custom wear marks. So hang in there.
Tips for keeping them fresh while you wait
Rub out spills and stains with some cool water. Avoid soap or detergent. Put them outside in the fresh air. Let them breathe. Try putting them in the freezer overnight; this kills most bacteria. If you’re in a bind, use gentle odor removal spray.
The First Wash
Turn your jeans inside out. Soak them in cool to room temp water for 45 minutes with just a little mild detergent (we recommend this denim wash). Bathtubs & utility sinks are great for this. You’ll notice some of the indigo dye pulling out—but if you give it a hearty wait before the first wash, this will be minimal. When they are done, turn them right-side-out and let them air dry. Stretch out the inseam a bit while the seams are still damp.
Avoid putting your jeans in a dryer if you can help it. Heat will increase the shrinkage. Drying out in open air is always best—using clothespins, binder clips or laying them out flat (so you don’t get a crease).