An ever contentious question, washing Selvedge denim is a conundrum with several different answers all depending on your personal preference. If you are going to invest in a pair of Selvedge jeans you will want to have a read of this.
When to wash
Some denim enthusiasts claim that you should first wash your selvedge denim after around six months, allowing the denim to crease and fade towards how you have worn them. If you do do this, the first wash will reveal fades completely distinct to you with more indigo dye being washed off in the areas of stress.
Six months is quite a commitment, however, and for many is just not practical. If you would prefer to wash them sooner you will get a more uniform fade throughout the jeans but will have less fade on stress areas. Resulting in a less contrasting look.
Post initial wash it’s up to you. Simply put: the more you wash the more fading there will be.
Wash on its own
It’s a good idea to wash the jeans on their own, the indigo dye will seep into the water and you don’t want that to stain other clothes!
Hand wash (or hand wash setting on a washing machine)
Hand washing is the go-to with Selvedge denim, it is less abrasive to the denim and reduces shrinkage. If you don’t have the space to hand wash, use the hand wash setting on a washing machine with a denim friendly detergent.
Wash Cold with Gentle Detergent
Following on from the last point, use a gentle detergent in lukewarm water (nothing over 30 degrees Celsius). Use enough detergent to clean the jeans but don’t overdo it, the denim won’t appreciate being oversaturated with detergent.
Let them Soak
Leave the denim to soak for a good 30-45 minutes and then rinse all of the dirt and grime out. Give them another rinse just in case.
Hang to dry
Gently roll up the jeans and give them a press to get rid of excess water. If you are lucky and it’s a nice day out you can hang the jeans up to dry outside, if not hang them over a shower rail or anywhere else appropriate.