Getting the most from your selvedge denim is important, and one of the best ways to do this is with the correct care and attention. Here at Stuarts London, we have been wearing selvedge denim for decades, and over the years, we have a range of tips and tricks, and we’re finally sharing them with you to ensure that you can get the most from your denim.
Top tips for washing Selvedge Denim
You can expect selvedge denim to fade over time, and this usually occurs during the washing process. To make sure the fade is even, turn the jeans inside out. This will expose the water and detergent to the dirty part of the jeans and prevent any bleeding from happening.
Make sure that you wash the jeans alone. By washing the jeans alone, you can be sure that the denim doesn’t run and stain other garments in the same load. Let’s face it, the last thing you want is a blue stained t-shirt that is supposed to be white.
Wash them in the bath! Hand washing your jeans in the bath is better for your jeans as it is not as harsh of a process, and you can control how much force is applied. You will also naturally find a temperature that your hands are comfortable with, which means your water won’t be too hot for the denim.
Don’t use too much detergent. Many people think that adding more detergent to their washing load will make their clothes cleaner, but in fact, this can cause a build up of the detergent on the clothing and if you are cleaning your jeans in the bath – you don’t want to add too much detergent to the tub.
Go for natural products. If you’re too cautious about using detergents in the bath, you could go for an alternative of natural products. Use one cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of salt. It is believed in the selvedge denim elite circles that this combination can help the indigo stay in the fabric longer.
Submerge the jeans for 45 mins. Leave the jeans to soak underwater for 45 minutes. If they try and float, use something to hold them down. You can then drain the bath and fill it again to get rid of the dirt. Repeat the process again to get rid of the grime and then finally, once more, to make sure all of the dirt is gone.
Once you have washed your selvedge denim, you’re going to need to dry them properly – but how do you dry selvedge denim?
There are a few ways that you can dry your selvedge denim:
The towel method: Place a towel on the floor and lay the wet jeans on top so that the water can be absorbed.
The shower method: Hang the jeans up in the shower and let them drip dry.
The shaded washing line: Hang the jeans on a washing line where the wind can blow them dry, but make sure that they stay out of direct sunlight as this can have an impact on the look of the jeans, and they can begin to look faded.
Wear them wet: Stick with us on this one! We know that it may sound bonkers to wear your jeans before they have dried fully but wearing your jeans when they are 90% dry will give them a little stretch.
When it comes to ironing your selvedge denim, there are a few things that you have to consider before reaching for the iron. The first thing is to consider the denim type.
If your selvedge denim is 100% cotton, then you should set your iron to the cotton setting, which is usually a high heat and steam. For selvedge denim that has any stretch, you will need to use a cooler setting.
Top Tip: To protect the jeans from any burns, place a tea towel cloth over the jeans and iron that as it will add a layer of protection from the heat.
You should then iron the pockets first before continuing on to each leg.
Selvedge denim can bleed, so it is best to make sure that you wash them alone. This will ensure that any dye that does bleed from the denim doesn’t stain or ruin any other garments that you are also washing in the same load. If your denim is going to bleed, it is more than likely to happen during the first few washes.
To make sure that you get the best out of your selvedge denim, you should refrain from washing them for the first 3-6 months. This will allow them to mould to the shape of your body. If you do feel like you need to wash your jeans, we recommend that you try to do so as little as possible or adopt a soft wash system that isn’t as tough on the jeans.
The denim community has weird and wonderful ways of caring for their selvedge denim jeans, and because we don’t want you to miss out – we thought we would share some of the wackiest denim care hacks.
Walk into the sea wearing your jeans
We’re not joking! Some denim enthusiasts like to clean their selvedge denim by wearing their beloved pair of jeans and walking into the sea. This method can have mixed outcomes, but many people in the community favour this method as they believe it prolongs the rich look of the indigo and prevents any fading.
The salt and sand in the seawater can be abrasive, and if you want to create a faded look, you can rub sand on the jeans to create your own custom fade. The sea method is great for stretching your jeans if they are too tight, but it is worth mentioning that seawater can also have other (potentially nasty and disgusting) things floating around. This is why if you are to use this method, we recommend washing them afterwards. Seawater can also contribute to crotch blowouts, so make sure you’re not walking into the sea to wash your selvedge denim every weekend.
Throwing your jeans into the freezer
This is a method that has been disputed for years but a novel one, if nothing else. It has not been proven that putting your jeans in the freezer will make your jeans cleaner or fresher, but some enthusiasts live by this method.
Adding your jeans to a freezer in a ziplock bag will capture the bacteria and take away any smell for a while, but once you begin to wear the jeans again and your body heat activates the bacteria – you will be back to the beginning.
Freezing your jeans is a technique that has been stated to be eco friendly – so if you are looking for eco-friendly ways to clean your jeans, this could be the method for you!