Should You Wait 6 Months Before Washing Your Raw Denim – and Does the “Freezer Method” Work? Find Out Here
It’s a simple rule of thumb that you should wear your raw denim jeans for 6 months before you wash them the first time. This will give the jeans your “signature” wear marks. However, there are other ways as well and there are certainly no rights or wrongs, just different approaches. Let’s take a look at one way to care for your raw denim.
Should I Wash My Raw Denim Jeans?
Is it by definition disgusting not to wash your jeans for a prolonged period of time with constant wear? Not necessarily. It all depends on how you use your jeans. But, the 6-months-rule-of-thumb does not automatically apply to all raw jeans.
If you wear your jeans dry for 6 months of everyday biking, lots partying, and dragging your jeans throw God-knows-what liquids every weekend, it might become a bit disgusting.
Even before you start wearing the jeans you have to consider how much wear you’ll put into them, the quality of the fabric, and especially what result you are aiming for. For my part, I usually wear my jeans 2 to 8 month
For my part, I usually wear my jeans 2 to 8 month every day for 10 to 16 hours a day before I wash the first time. This is for instance what I did with the Lee 101S jeans pictured throughout this article.
You’ve Worn Your Jeans Without Washing for How Long?
I have had customers in my shop who’ve told me that they have worn their jeans for years without washing them, and every time I’ve instinctively lifted my eyebrows and wondered.
Often the rest of the story goes that the jeans have only been worn a couple of days a week, and maybe only for a few hours each day. That way it may take decades to get distinctive wears.
The bottom line is; your jeans will not get worn from laying in your closet.
The Myth of the “Freezer Method”
Another recurring discussion I’ve had with customers is the “freezer method.” It remains a mystery to me how below zero temperatures should be able to “kill” bacteria and thereby clean the jeans. Remembering what I learned in school many years ago, not all bacteria are killed by cold, and most of them thrive in moisture.
To postpone the first wash, I mainly use the approach of airing the jeans if they have been exposed to odours from cooking or smoking. Also, remember that after the first wash the denim will be less dirt repellent and the jeans will therefore have to wash more often. I have experimented a bit for instance with dry cleaning, which has created some excellent results, but then again you cannot generalise.