Originally Posted by superego
There seem to be two camps and differing approaches on this:
(1) Denim Preservation Camp
- Warm/hot soak and hang dry.
- Fill the tub (make sure it's clean first) with enough warm water to fully submerge the denim, dropping a 'small load' portion of Woolite Dark into the water as it's filling.
- Lay the jeans flat into the tub and press down to make sure the jeans are fully submerged. You can jostle slightly to loosen and caked in dirt.
- Let set the detergent bottle or some other item onto the jeans to keep them submerged and let them sit for 30-45 minutes.
- Drain the tub and refill with clean water, no soap this time. Set the jeans in the water and jostle to rinse. You can roll them up and rinse under the faucet to get out any extra soap, wringing as needed.
- Hang on a hanger (either one with clips or by sliding the hook through a rear belt loop) and let sit on your shower curtain rod overnight, or until dry.
It's not science, and any number of the variables can be tweaked to taste. The Woolite Dark is to prevent indigo loss, but any non-harsh detergent (powders seem to be preferred) can be substituted if you're not super concerned about it. Hotter water will likely result in marginally more shrink, so you can use hot water rather than warm or cold if you're looking to get your jeans back to a bit snugger fit.
(2) "They're Just Jeans" Camp
- Warm/hot machine wash and hang dry.
- Drop the jeans into your washer inside out on the gentlest and shortest cycle with a 'small load' quantity of Woolite Dark. They'll likely bleed, so best to do them separately.
- Nix the extra rinse cycle if your washer has the option. If not, it's not a huge deal. It can be helpful to use a garment bag to avoid getting excessive creasing/contorting as a result of the wash.
- Once the cycle is complete, hang dry as above--hang on a hanger (either one with clips or by sliding the hook through a rear belt loop) and let sit on your shower curtain rod overnight, or until dry. You can do a partial or full machine dry (with heat) to get some extra shrink--you'll see much more shrink based on dryer heat than water heat, so be advised.
You'll see a bit more indigo wash with the 2nd method. Some will argue this is undesirable as loss of indigo due to wear will result in pronounced and more interesting fades, but at I'm of the mind that indigo loss is indigo loss. Best bet with any of this stuff is to try one method, see how it works for you and tweak some things if it doesn't work. It's much more art (and personal preference) than science, and truthfully you really can't fuck it up unless you use bleach instead of detergent or something equally retarded.
Thanks Superego! Good information here. Not sure if this thread is being followed but I have a few questions below (yeah, more than a few I know :) :
1. I'm in the (1) Denim Preservation Camp so the questions will generally relate to this method. Do you use this method for all ongoing washes or just the 1st wash?
2. Do you stretch the inseam gently to retain the length? (I wear mine cuffed, not stacked and like the extra length)
3. Do you unroll the cuffs when you wash?
4. why not wash in cold water? Is warm water to get shrinkage or higher contrast fades (or both)?
5. what's you opinion of wearing when still damp for 15 mins in order to stretch out the denim to your exact shape for a perfect fit after the shrinkage due to the wash?
6. Wash inside out, but do you also hang dry inside out?
7. Do you always pre-soak unsanforized denim?
8. do you presoak sanforized denim as well or can you pre-soak it without ruining the fades you get after a 1st wash? The theory is to prevent or decrease the severity of crotch blows out due to the removal of starch during the pre-soak?