So you love your jeans and live in denim, right? Denim is versatile, comfortable and fashionable, which is why it remains an enduring wardrobe staple. But do you really know your denims? There are many different types of denim fabrics out there and understanding them can help you choose the perfect pair of jeans for any occasion. It can also help prevent issues like fading, tearing or misshaping that can happen after repeated washes. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the most common denim fabrics like selvedge, stretch and raw denim. We’ll also explore some of the most frequent denim wash defects, what causes them and how you can avoid these problems so your favorite jeans last longer. Time to boost your denim IQ!
Denim comes in all shades of blue and a variety of weights, from lightweight and stretchy to heavy duty. The most common types are:
The classic indigo blue denim is versatile and perfect for jeans and jackets. Blue denim is dyed with indigo, a plant-based dye that gives denim its signature blue hue.
Charcoal, jet black or faded black denim is stylish and edgy. Black denim contains the same cotton fibers as blue denim but is dyed black instead of blue. It’s a great alternative to blue denim.
Denim also comes in a variety of colors like red, green, yellow, and gray. Colored denim provides an easy way to make a statement and brighten up your look. The dyeing process is similar to blue and black denim.
Stretch denim contains spandex or elastane fibers that provide comfort and flexibility. Stretch denim jeans and pants contour to your body while still maintaining the look of regular denim. Stretch denim is perfect if you prefer jeans with some give.
Pre-washed or distressed denim has a faded, worn-in look from the start. Distressed denim goes through a chemical wash process that makes new denim look aged and weathered. Holes, fading, and abrasions are added to create a vintage feel. Distressed denim is casual, laid back and effortlessly cool.
Selvedge, or selvage denim is made using old-style shuttle looms that produce denim edges that are tightly woven, rather than left open. Selvedge denim is typically very high quality and more durable. Selvedge details, like the colored edge, are a sign of craftsmanship and quality. Selvedge denim is prized by denim enthusiasts and fashion brands.
Denim wash defects can ruin an otherwise perfect pair of jeans. The good news is most are preventable if you understand what causes them.
Did you overload the washer or use the wrong cycle? Overloading prevents effective cleaning while an improper cycle can cause damage. Always wash denim separately the first time on a normal cycle using cold or warm water.
Not using enough detergent fails to lift dirt and oil from fibers. Too much, however, can leave behind detergent residue. Follow the recommended amount listed on the detergent bottle based on load size. An eco-friendly detergent free from dyes and fragrances is best for denim.
Hard water contains minerals that can react with detergents to form soap scum, leaving blue jean fibers dull and dingy. Install a water softener to prevent hard water issues. If that’s not possible, add a water softener booster to the detergent.
Drying denim on high heat can cause damage like shrinkage, fading, and tearing. Tumble dry on low or air fluff and remove while still slightly damp to prevent over-drying. For raw denim, hang drying is best.
Denim will naturally fade over time with washing and wearing. To slow fading, turn garments inside out, wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, and avoid bleach. For more intense fades, wash less frequently using the same method.
By following these tips, you can stop denim wash defects in their tracks and keep your favorite jeans looking their best. With some extra TLC, your denim will last longer and become even more comfortable over time.
Denim washing is an art form, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Several common defects can occur during the denim washing process if you’re not careful. Being aware of these potential issues and knowing how to prevent them will help ensure your denim comes out picture-perfect every time.
Fraying happens when the edges of the denim fabric start to unravel and come apart. This is often caused by excessive agitation during the wash cycle. To prevent fraying, avoid over-loading the washer and use a gentler cycle. You can also treat any raw edges before washing by serging them or applying a liquid seam sealer.
Creases are hard, folded lines that form in the denim during washing and drying. They’re usually caused by over-loading the washer or dryer, which prevents the denim from moving freely. Remove excess denim from the load and avoid packing the washer or dryer to maximum capacity. You should also avoid leaving denim sitting in the dryer after it’s done, as this can lead to crease formation. Remove items promptly and either hang or fold them.
Color bleeding happens when excess dye from the denim transfers onto the denim fabric itself or other items in the wash. This is common the first time denim is washed. To prevent color bleeding, wash dark denim separately the first time. You can also pretreat any areas where dye looks especially heavy before washing. Use a product containing sodium percarbonate, which helps lock in dyes.
Pilling refers to those tiny lint balls that form on the surface of denim over time. While pilling is often unavoidable, there are a few things you can do to reduce it. Choose a high-quality denim made of longer, stronger fibers. Wash denim inside out and avoid fabric softener, which can coat fibers and accelerate pilling. Remove any pills between washes using a lint roller, pill remover or razor.
With some extra care and attention, you can avoid these common denim washing defects. Your perfectly washed denim will look and feel brand new, wash after wash.
To prevent unwanted effects during the denim wash process, it’s important to understand what can go wrong and how to avoid common defects. By taking the proper precautions, you can achieve the perfect vintage fade or distressed look you want.
When denim is over-abraded, it can cause damage like holes, threadbare spots, and an uneven, “fuzzy” texture. To prevent over-abrading:
If denim fades unevenly, it won’t achieve a natural, vintage look. To ensure even fading:
By taking your time and making minor adjustments during the wash process, you can achieve gorgeous fades and a perfectly distressed denim look. With some practice, you’ll be creating unique vintage styles in no time!
Once wash defects have occurred in your denim garments, there are a few things you can try to remedy and minimize their appearance.
Treat any stains on the denim as soon as possible before washing to increase the chances of removal. For protein stains like food or sweat, use an enzyme-based detergent. For grease stains, apply a grease-fighting detergent or a paste of water and baking soda. Let it soak in for at least 30 minutes before washing as usual.
For dye transfer or bleeding, wash the denim separately the first time on the hottest setting possible using a dye-fixing agent. The heat will help set the dyes and prevent excess dye from bleeding onto other clothes. For puckering or creasing, use the warmest water setting and avoid over-drying the denim. The heat will help relax the fibers.
A detergent formulated specifically for denim and dark colors can help prevent excess indigo dye bleeding and keep your denim looking vibrant. These detergents often contain dye fixers and brighteners. For existing dye transfer stains, a denim detergent may help lift some of the excess dye from the surface of the denim.
Avoid machine drying denim when possible, especially after the first wash. Hang denim to air dry away from direct heat. Air drying will prevent over-drying and help avoid shrinkage, creasing, and puckering. If machine drying, remove denim while still slightly damp and lay flat to finish air drying. The heat and tumbling action of a dryer can exacerbate many common denim wash defects.
If needed, iron denim inside out on a medium setting. Ironing the reverse side will prevent the creation of shine marks and creases on the surface of the denim. Take extra care around pockets, seams and the hem where creases are more likely to form.
With some TLC and by following these tips, you’ll get your favorite denim pieces back to like new in no time. Denim wash defects don’t have to be permanent, so try a remedy and save your jeans!
So there you have it, everything you need to know about denim fabrics and how to properly care for your favorite jeans to prevent damage and wear. With some basic knowledge about the different types of denim and the common wash defects, you’ll be able to choose denim that suits your needs and keep your jeans looking their best for years to come. Remember, wash them less frequently using cold water and a gentle cycle, avoid the dryer when possible, and consider hang drying or flat drying them instead. Treat any stains promptly and avoid harsh detergents. By following these simple tips, you’ll be sporting stylish denim for seasons to come. Now, go forth and rock those jeans!