Alternative Ways to Wash Your Raw Denim

Alternative Ways to Wash Your Raw Denim

February 23, 2016

There are many alternative ways to wash your raw denim jeans. As you can see from the 10 Step to Hand Washing Your Raw Denim post, we prefer to use a hand washing technique in soapy water. With that said, there are various other ways that you can clean your denim. Some will clean them well, others not so much... 

If you wash your jeans hard they will be broken in more from the wash rather than from your wearing, which will eliminate a lot of the novelty of the raw denim, but they will be clean. Some of the alternative washing methods we will go over are; freezing, cold soaking, normal machine washing, dry cleaning and sand/ocean washing.


In some cases people throw their raw denim into the freezer. This supposedly will eliminate some of the odor and possibly kill some of the bacteria causing odor. Here's the problem, freezing doesn't actually kill bacteria or odor and it definitely doesn't clean the denim. It may eliminate some of the smell, for a short period of time, but it is not an effective way to clean your denim. 

Cold Soak

This is pretty simple you just soak your denim in cold water. This will reduce the amount of dye and wear on the denim from washing. What it won't do is to actually clean your denim. This option may be good for a very light cleanse and it also reduces the wear from the wash. This would be recommended if you want to freshen your jeans up but you don't feel like they need a full wash. Feel free to use some denim detergent if needed, we like the No. 096 Cotton/Denim Laundry Detergent by LA Bruket. 

Normal Machine Wash 

This will definitely clean your denim more than any other method. A washing machine is about as hard of a wash as you can get. It will very thoroughly clean your denim but it will also change the wear patterns and washout a lot the dye. If you use this method make sure to NOT put them in the dryer; this will have a significant negative affect on the denim. Again, feel free to use some denim detergent if needed, we like the No. 096 Cotton/Denim Laundry Detergent by LA Bruket.

Dry Cleaning 

A reputable dry cleaner is a very effective way to clean your denim and reduce the stress you put on the fabric. For this case you need to know the dry cleaner does an effective job, that they guarantee to dry clean them by putting them through a normal wash, not using chemicals that are harsh on the jeans. One draw back is that this will be more expensive then washing at your house and it can take some time depending on your dry cleaners (I've had to wait a week to get an article of clothing back from the cleaners), but it is an effective way to clean your denim while reducing wear. 

Sand and Ocean Washing 

The sand and ocean wash method is to go down to the beach, rub your jeans with sand and then walk into the ocean to wash them out. Similar to the cold soak, you will have some slight cleaning of your jeans by washing out the jeans with water. Side effects, you may pick up a salt water smell. The sand scrub will expedite the process of breaking the denim in, although it may also weaken the fabric. 

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