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How to Wash Jeans for the First Time: A Handy Guide

How to Wash Jeans for the First Time: A Handy Guide

How to Wash Jeans for the First Time and Keep Them Looking New

Do you want to learn how to wash your jeans for the first time? Well, you are definitely not alone. Denims are a wardrobe must-have for many people around the world, with countless variations in style, fit, and material. 

Among these, four popular types of denims stand out: unsanforized, sanforized, black, and industry washed. Each type has unique characteristics that require special care and washing techniques to maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan, especially if you’re washing them for the first time.

It is important to clean your denims the right way, as this helps preserve their color, prevents damage, and maintains their original quality. In this article, we will explore these four types of denims and provide detailed guidance on how to wash your new jeans for the first time.

Pre-Washing Preparation

Pre washing Preparation
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Before diving into the different first-time cleaning processes, it’s essential to take a few preparatory steps to ensure the best possible outcome for your denims, no matter the type. Following these steps can help you understand when to wash jeans for the first time and how to do so effectively.

Reading the Care Label

Care labels contain vital information for proper garment care. Familiarize yourself with the symbols and instructions to ensure you follow the correct cleaning, drying, and ironing methods on how to wash your jeans.

Care labels also provide information about the fabric composition and any special treatments, such as distressing or coatings, that require extra attention or specific care during the cleaning.

Sorting Denims by Color

Washing denims of similar colors together minimizes color bleeding and maintains the vibrancy of your denim. If you combine dark and light-colored jeans together, for example, this can lead to color bleeding and staining. To avoid this, separate them based on their colors, creating distinct piles for dark, medium, and light washes.

Additionally, consider grouping them based on fabric type (e.g., stretch or rigid denim) and similar washes (e.g., distressed or coated) to ensure consistent care and prevent damage to more delicate pairs.

Turning Jeans Inside Out

Turning your garments inside out helps protect the outer fabric from excessive rubbing during the cleaning process, which can cause fading and wear. 

It also minimizes the chance of other garments in the load causing wear or damage to your denims’ outer surface, helping them maintain their original texture and appearance. Additionally, it allows the interior to be thoroughly cleaned.

Emptying Pockets and Fastening Closures

Empty all pockets to prevent any forgotten items from damaging your denim or other garments during washing.

Also, make sure that you have fastened all zippers and buttons on it to prevent them from catching on other garments, reducing the risk of damage.

The 4 Types of Jeans and How to Wash Them

The Types of Jeans and How to Wash Them
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Now that we know the most important preparatory steps to take when washing our denims let’s dive into their different types and how to wash them for the first time, addressing common concerns such as how many times to wash your new jeans and how to wash your new black jeans for the first time.

Unsanforized Jeans

Unsanforized Jeans
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Unsanforized jeans, also known as shrink-to-fit or loom-state jeans, are made from denim that has not been pre-shrunk during the manufacturing process. 

This type of denim retains its original texture, resulting in a stiffer and rougher feel compared to sanforized denim. Due to the lack of pre-shrinking, unsanforized jeans will shrink considerably after their first contact with water, with potential size reductions of up to 2 – 10%. That’s why it’s advised you buy them oversized.

Washing Unsanforized Jeans

Washing them for the first time requires a bit of care to prevent excessive shrinking. Here are some tips on what you should do:

  • First, fill a bathtub or a large bowl with cold water.
  • Add a small amount of mild detergent to the water and mix well.
  • Turn the trousers inside out and submerge them in the water.
  • Let them soak for about 30 minutes.
  • Gently agitate them to ensure that they are fully saturated.
  • Drain the water and rinse your denim trousers thoroughly with cold water.
  • Squeeze out the excess water, but do not twist or wring the denim.
  • Hang the trousers to dry, making sure that they are not exposed to direct sunlight or heat.

It is important to note that unsanforized fabrics may bleed dye during the first few washes. To prevent this, you can soak them in a mixture of cold water and vinegar before the first wash. Additionally, hand washing is preferred, but using a gentle cycle on a washing machine is also acceptable.

Sanforized Jeans

Raw Sanforized Jeans
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Sanforized jeans are made from denim that has undergone the sanforization process, which pre-shrinks the fabric to reduce shrinkage during washing. 

The process also softens the denim slightly, giving it a smoother texture than unsanforized denim. Sanforized jeans are often characterized by their deep indigo color and stiff feel.

Washing Sanforized Jeans

Sanforized trousers should be worn for a few months before their first wash to allow the denim to develop natural creases and fades. When it is time for the first wash:

  • Turn the trousers inside out and wash them in cold water with mild detergent.
  • Wash with hands or use a gentle cycle and avoid using fabric softeners or bleach.
  • After washing, hang them to dry or lay them flat to dry.
  • Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can damage the denim and cause shrinkage.

It is important to note that just as with unsanforized fabrics sanforized denims (especially raw ones) may also bleed dye during the first few washes. To prevent this, you can soak them in a mixture of cold water and vinegar.

Black Jeans

Black Jeans
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Black jeans are made from denim dyed with black or dark gray colors, offering a sleek and versatile look. They can be found in both raw and pre-washed forms, with varying degrees of fading and distressing. 

The primary concern with black denims is maintaining their rich color and avoiding excessive fading over time.

Washing Black Jeans

When addressing a question like how do you wash dark jeans for the first time, it is important to know that black denims can fade quickly if not washed properly. Here are some tips on how to wash your black denim for the first time the right way:

  • First, turn them inside out and wash them in cold water with a mild detergent.
  • Do not attempt to wash them in a washing machine. 
  • Wash them with your bare hands, and avoid using fabric softeners.
  • Add a cup of vinegar to the wash solution to help set the color and prevent fading.
  • After washing, hang them to dry or lay them flat to dry.
  • Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can cause fading and damage to the denim.
  • Avoid hanging your trousers in direct sunlight, as this can speed up fading.

It is important to note that black denims may still fade over time, even with proper washing and care. To extend their lifespan, avoid washing them too frequently and consider air-drying them instead of using a dryer.

Industry Washed Jeans

Industry Washed Jeans
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Industry-washed denims, also known as pre-washed, distressed, or Industry abraded denim, have undergone various treatments to achieve a worn-in look and feel. 

These treatments may include enzyme washing, stone washing, bleaching, sandblasting, or other processes that create unique fades, distressing, or patterns on the denim. 

Industry-washed denims are typically softer and more comfortable to wear than raw denim, but they can also be more delicate due to the pre-washing treatments.

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Washing Industry Washed Jeans

Here’s how to wash your industry-washed jeans:

  • You can wash them in a washing machine, but make sure that you use a gentle cycle.
  • As usual, turn them inside out and wash them in cold water with a mild detergent.
  • Wash them separately or with similar garments to prevent bleeding.
  • After cleaning, hang the denim trousers to dry or lay them flat to dry.
  • Avoid direct sunlight when air-drying them, and avoid using a dryer, as it can cause fading.

It’s important to note that the more distressed the denims are, the more delicate they become, so they should be washed less frequently. Avoid using hot water, as it can further damage the denim and cause the color to fade.

Other Important Washing Tips

Other Important Washing Tips
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To further enhance the care of your denims and prolong their life, consider these additional cleaning tips:

Reduce the Frequency of Washing

Overwashing your denims can cause premature wear and fading. To maintain their appearance, wash them only when necessary, typically after every four to five wears or when they become visibly dirty.

Spot-Cleaning Stains 

Instead of washing your denims after every wear, spot-clean any stains or spills with a damp cloth and mild detergent. This will help preserve their color and fabric integrity while still keeping them clean.

Refreshing Your Jeans with Air and Sunlight

Hang your denims in a well-ventilated area or outdoors to refresh them between washes. The fresh air and sunlight can help eliminate odors and maintain their original appearance.

Tips for Maintaining Jeans’ Appearance and Longevity

Tips for maintaining jeans appearance and longevity
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Proper care and maintenance can significantly extend the life of your denim trousers and keep them looking their best.

Preventing Color Transfer and Damage

Store your denims separately from garments with sharp or rough textures, such as zippers or Velcro, to avoid potential snags or damage to the fabric. 

Also, make sure that they are not in direct contact with light-colored clothing, as color transfer can occur, especially if the denim is still damp or has been recently washed.

Maintaining Color

To minimize color loss and fading, always wash your denims inside out and use cold water, as mentioned earlier. 

Plus, consider adding a cup of white vinegar to the water solution or rinse cycle to help set the dye and maintain color vibrancy. Lastly, avoid drying your denims in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as this can contribute to fading.

Folding and Storing Denims Properly

Fold your denims along their natural creases and seams to prevent unnecessary wrinkles and preserve their shape. Store them neatly in a drawer or on a shelf, making sure they are not overly compressed.

Wrapping Up

Learning how to wash your jeans for the first time and taking proper care of them from the first wash to subsequent washes is crucial for maintaining their appearance and longevity. 

By following the steps outlined above, as well as adhering to the additional cleaning tips and proper maintenance methods shared, you can keep your denims looking brand new and enjoy them for years to come.

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