Writing a care guide for raw denim can incite quite a bit of spirited discussion. I want to say right off the bat, this is not intended to be the end-all be-all authoritative voice for denim care. In fact, one of the things we love most about raw denim is that each pair is unique to you. The fading patterns, whiskers, wallet fades, and even repairs tell your story. Each crease is affectionately embraced by the owner as if it were a nostalgic scar or a cherished memory. If denim is worn and loved by different owners in different ways, there probably isn’t one right way to care for the jeans. In fact, when you spend enough time in any raw denim circles, you hear stories of the ritualistic (and seemingly OCD) care for jeans that range from putting them in the freezer to rolling in the sand and everything in between. We’re not so dogmatic about it here. Just enjoy your jeans, that’s priority number one.

We encourage people to find out what works for them. The goal here is to share some general tips for raw denim care. Take them and make them your own.


Lets start with one thing. The various opinions and contentious arguments that are had over washing raw denim tend to boil down to one thing: high contrast fading. Denim is dyed by being dipped into indigo dye vats. The dye begins to fade with wear. Washing the jeans early and often causes the excess dye to come off more evenly. Waiting at least six months before the first wash will not only cause the denim to form to your body, it will help achieve high-contrast fades.

When considering the washing process in light of excess dye and fading, it makes sense that the best method to wash the jeans would include low agitation and a gentle detergent. For this we recommend 4 inches of water in a bathtub and Woolite Dark.

Here's a very conservative washing procedure:
  1. 1. Draw a bathtub with lukewarm water (4 inches deep is about the perfect amount to submerge your jeans).
  2. Mix in a small amount of Woolite Dark.
  3. Turn your jeans inside out and submerge them in the water. (Lay the jeans flat, do not wrinkle them up in a ball). Let them soak for 45 Minutes.
  4. Run them under lukewarm water to rinse any excess soap off.
  5. Hang dry outside (for a fresh new smell).
  • Do not wash your raw denim with other garments. The excess dye will bleed into the water and could transfer to other clothes.
  • Inseam Shrinkage: You can expect up to .5” of shrinkage in the inseam after the first wash. We recommend waiting to hem the jeans until after their first wash or accounting for some shrinkage if you hem them prior. In order to keep the Gustin finish on the cuff, you want to find a tailor with a chain stitch machine to finish the hem. If you are local to the San Francisco area, we recommend using AB Fits. Good people, great tailors, and friends of Gustin.

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