Whether you wear designer dungarees, a Texas tuxedo, or hipsteresque jorts, the way that you care for your denim will have a big impact on how your garments look, feel, and how long they will last. Here are a few simple rules to follow that will help you keep your denim garments in great shape:
Follow the care label instructions: By default, the proper care for denim is found on the care label. Typically, denim care labels will have both washing and drying instructions that are specific to each garment. Some denim dyes are water soluble and some aren’t, so designers will typically change their washing instructions based on the type and amount of dye used to color each garment. Most denim garments are made of a majority of cotton and a small amount of spandex, which enables the fabric to stretch to hug the contours of your body. Spandex is very heat sensitive, so denim producers will adjust their drying instructions based on the amount of stretch they have built into the garment’s weave. When you wash your denim, the most important thing to do is follow the care label 100% of the time.
Turn denim inside-out before washing: You always want to turn your denim garments inside out before washing them. Turning your garments inside out will reduce the friction on the dyed portion of the garments. It will also protect any buttons or grommets attached to your clothes. By limiting the amount of friction on the garment, you lower the stress applied on the dyed side of the fabric, and therefore the amount of dye that is lost during the cleaning process.
- Treat stains quickly: The more time a stain sits on your garment, the more likely it is to set. When your denim gets dirty, minimizing the time between when the garment is soiled and when it is cleaned will raise your chances of removing the stain entirely. When stains are treated quickly, you are likely to reduce the amount of friction required to clean the garment. This in turn reduces the amount of dye lost, and the wear and tear your denim will endure during the cleaning process.
Decide between optimizing for fit or color preservation:
- Optimizing for Fit Preservation: If you care more about keeping your denim in perfect shape, avoid unnecessary and prolonged exposure to heat. The recommended course of action is to launder your garments in cold water. After the laundering process, we suggest that you hang dry denim to avoid prolonged exposure to heat. If you're washing on cold and air drying it, there will be less wear and tear on the weave of the garment over time.
- Optimizing for Color Preservation: If your main concern is preserving the color of your denim, use a dry cleaning process. Most denim dyes (ie: indigo) are water soluble. Dry cleaning uses a non-water based solvent, which means that a minimal amount of dye will be lost during the cleaning process. While there is some heat involved in the dry cleaning process, which may cause minor changes to the fit of your denim, it is the best way to preserve the color of your garment.
If denim care is important to you, you’re best served trusting your garments to a professional cleaner. While there are some hard and fast rules to keeping your denim looking great, an experienced cleaner will have the tools and experience to properly evaluate and treat each garment correctly.