Love/hate relationship with unwashed denim smell

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by BlvdDandy, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. BlvdDandy

    BlvdDandy Senior member

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    I've been stuck in mild rain on more then one occasion while wearing my RR dry selvage. Aside from causing me to worry that it will totally ruin my fade when I finally wash them, it produces a very distinct odor. I'm not sure if it's the indigo or something else, but it's fairly pronounced, and even though my initial reaction is usually one of disgust, after I few minutes I find it mildly comforting. Has anyone else experience this? Just curious...
     
  2. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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  3. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    Yep. Not sure what that smell is, but it happens with all my unwashed jeans. I assume it is the indigo. I kind of like the smell, actually.

    I wouldn't worry about the rain. I've seen tons of unwashed jeans that got rained on several occasions and come out fine. I think it's because the water doesn't necessarily go anywhere, so it doesn't take the indigo out with it.
     
  4. Geowu

    Geowu Senior member

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    Any tips on dry-cleaning or just keeping the smell away?

    I already know the following:

    - put them inside a plastic bag in the freezer
    - air them
    - dry clean

    other alternatives?
     
  5. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Can I ask... Does it really matter if you wash them periodically? What the hell is the difference going to be in how they turn out? I seriously can't fathom why it would be any different washing them every 7-10 wearings versus waiting 100 and finally washing the rankness out.

    Is it just supposed to be some major event where you fly your denim friends on a pilgrimage to a well at the top of a hill in a small village in Italy and then once they are washed, someone rings the bell and the whole town celebrates?

    WTF?.
     
  6. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    Deoderant.
     
  7. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    Yes. No, not really, but sort of like that. Nothing is wrong with washing your jeans frequently, but they won't get the highly-distressed effect unless you wear them for a long time without putting them in the wash. Some things like a cold soak, spraying with water/starch can keep your jeans a little more clean, but I always say just go until you can't take the smell anymore. Honestly, they don't even smell that bad.
     
  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Brian's right. Having said that, I've neve been able to go beyond 15 wearings (I love the feeling of fresh laundered jeans.) Of course, I wear my jeans *extremely" hard, and my 15 wearings is about 30-40 for the regular guy,
     
  9. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    I feel the same way about freshly laundered jeans (and clothes in general), which is partly why it is so difficult to keep wearing these things without washing them.

    My next pair of unwashed jeans I may wash every day to get a completely different type of effect.
     
  10. Geowu

    Geowu Senior member

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    it depends. If you live in a place that is hot and humid then wearing your jeans for 3 days will be the same of wearing them for 1 month in a really cold weather.
     
  11. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    just to be really pedantic...so the reason for waiting to wash them for the first time, is ostensibly because they distress differently, right? does anyone know why, exactly? is it due to their rigidity (which lessens after they are washed) or is there some treatment in the fabric (e.g. sizing, etc) that aids distressing, which you want to avoid washing out?

    /andrew
     
  12. Geowu

    Geowu Senior member

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    don't know exactly, must be some type of reaction with the water, since it is not good to catch rain either. I know they kind of loose their "raw denim lustre"
     
  13. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    You're right in your assumptions - wearing raw denim jeans without washing them gives you crisper distressing areas due to their rigidity (sharper whisker marks) and unstable color (higher contrast). Pristine denim jeans are very unstable because the indigo is just basically sitting there on the surface of the jeans in the warp threads. This is why it rubs off through hard wear. There isn't a treatment in the fabric - they are made in the same fashion that Levis were originally made. They come straight from the loom to the sewing machine to the shelf. Washing jeans often will make a nice, soft-fade effect, but if you want the distressed, high contrast with strong whiskers effect, wearing them without washing can help you get there. Washing in a sense neutralizes the indigo's ability to rub off the surface - nothing wrong with it, just not what's really trendy at the moment.
     
  14. stache

    stache Senior member

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    The smell is probably sweat from your crotch/ass area. Not pretty. That being said, sometimes when I am traveling I rinse the crotch of my jeans (sometimes I add soap) so I can get a couple of more wearings out of them without wasting the time to do a full launder for them. This may help you. Also, I have a denim jacket that I have sewn vintage embroidered fabric on to and I ran it through the dryer with Dryel. That got rid of the sweat smell and did not damage the embroidery.
     
  15. BlvdDandy

    BlvdDandy Senior member

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    No, not the crotch/ass area. I'm talking about the indigo smell. Sorry about your smelly crotch.
     

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