This 3-Step Raw Denim Wash Method Gets You Great Fades and Makes Your Jeans Last Longer

When I first started wearing raw selvedge denim back in 2007, the final push I needed to become a full-blown denim addict was the promise that I would get this completely individual wear pattern, what I would later come to know as the fade.

I was taught that the infamous six-month-without-washing approach was how I would get the best results. And while most raw denim brands and retailer agree that postponing washing, how to wash is a matter of great debate. RPMWEST just dropped this 3-step video tutorial to hand washing raw denim, which is how the successful California-based brand recommends you to wash your raw denim.

Raw or Pre-Washed?

The first thing you need to consider is whether your jeans are actually raw.

Pre-washed jeans already look and feel worn in when you buy them. They will have whiskers and fading and do not need special treatment. Just wash them whenever needed, inside-out on a cold cycle in your washing machine at home.

Raw denim is different. It is essentially unwashed, which is a common synonym for raw denim. It fades, molds and conforms to your body over time to get a look that is uniquely yours.

Ready to wash? Watch the video tutorial below

Step 1: Wear Your Jeans

We all wash our clothes, but when it comes to raw denim RPMWEST (like most others) suggests you wait as long as possible before the first wash. The six-month mark is a good rule of thumb.

Unlike RPMWEST, we recommend that you soak your raw denim jeans before you start wearing them. Find out why and how to do it here.

WELL WORTH A READ >  The Essentials of Raw Denim: Selvedge Denim

Until your first wash, you can spot clean light stains with a damp cotton towel. You can reduce odour by airing them outside and giving them an occasional treatment of antibacterial spray.

Step 2: Wash Your Jeans

At some point, you’ll have to wash your jeans. RPMWEST recommends hand washing, which is what the film focuses on. Here’s how RPMWEST founder, Manuel Rappard suggests you do it:

  • Turn your jeans inside out
  • Fill a bowl or bath with lukewarm water
  • Add a small amount of Doctor Bronner’s castile soap (or similar)
  • Then let the jeans soak (don’t rub or wring them in the water)
  • Leave them in the water for at least 30 minutes
  • Rise the denim in fresh water

Step 3: Dry Your Jeans

It’s important that you do not tumble dry your raw denim. It will shorten your raw denim’s lifespan considerably, and probably shrink them quite a bit. Instead, Manuel suggests:

  • Use a clean towel to roll your jeans into to catch any dripping dye
  • Turn the jeans the right way and straighten them out
  • Hang them on a rack or coat hanger
  • Let them dry overnight

You can also simply hang the jeans in the shower on a hanger and let them dry without the towel-rolling step.

Enjoy Your Jeans

The last piece of advice to get great fades is to wear your denim often and wash them as infrequently as possible.

If you need a pair of raw denim jeans, RPMWEST just launched a new Kickstarter with a handful of different denims.

The brand broke into the mainstream back in 2013 with the “perfect jeans delivered” tagline and a promise of +$250-jeans for only $95, obviously by cutting out the middleman. If you want to know what $95 buys you, check out our in-depth and impartial review of the jeans here.

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RELATED READING: Get Perfect Fades With This Raw Denim Wash Guide

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