EDITORIAL | To Wash or Not To Wash?

That is the question…..

For all the denim aficionados out there, the answer is simply NO.

But that makes for a really short blog post, so I thought, maybe I should further elaborate this idea on our very first Art of Denim Wednesday feature.

I must admit, I’m notorious for washing my jeans when it gets dirty (common sense right?) but as it’s been pointed out on many occasions by my colleagues, they have already become faded and have lost their luster quickly. So I asked both our female and male staff around the store and the general consensus averaged to about 6 months to a year in the last time they have all since washed their jeans. Like me, you might start thinking, what about stains? What about the smells? What about the germs? Why are all my co-workers gross? (I’m kidding!) Should I just abandon all hope and stop wearing pants like Lady Gaga?

After I took the time to calm down from my mini-drama, I thought well, if I shouldn’t wash my denim for a year, then what are some of the ways to keep them looking and smelling good? Our resident denim expert and men’s department staff, Eli was more than helpful to give more insights on how to take care of your denim whether it is raw/dry denim, colored/printed or regular cotton/spandex jeans:

#1: Wash them inside-out and in cold water with like colors (Do not, I repeat, do not put your red jeans together with anything but red clothes!) As with anything dyed this helps minimize the bleeding. Use very little detergent, and use brands like Wool-lite or Tide Cold Water which help keep the color. If you’re apprehensive about your washer being too strong, you can try Soaking. Just make sure you rinse your bathtub afterwards so that you don’t turn blue the next time you take a bubble bath. For any small stains, just spot treat with a bit of laundry detergent and dab – avoid using Tide stick as they contain bleach and will discolor your jeans.

#2: Hang dry. Try and avoid the dryer if you can as this actually wears and thins out the material. If your jeans have become a bit loose after a few months of wearing them in, throwing it in the dryer won’t actually make them fit like new, as it will most likely shrink lengthwise accidentally turning them into a new pair of cropped jeans. Actually, the only time you will ever hear an Over the Rainbow staff member telling you to wash and dry your denim is before you get them altered. That way, when we pin and hem your jeans, they have already shrunk in length. If you find you have to throw your jeans in the dryer frequently to make them fit, it might mean you need to go down a size and make a trip to see us to get a new pair.

#3. Smells. What to do when your jeans start to stink? Well, there are many theories and experiments (and yes, even studies) out there but the most popular and common one is Freezing. Make room between your frozen steak and veggies and stock up on Ziploc freezer bags. For all the guys out there, you can also invest in a pair of raspberry-scented denim. Mmmm!?! The theory that your jeans smell because they are full of bacteria is somewhat skewed as it has more to do with proper hygiene than anything else. If your jeans smell, it might be because you smell (Sorry!). So scrub well in the shower and remember to exfoliate.

If you want more information or proof about any of the instructions above, check out some of our previous posts like this on Naked + Famous Raw Denim Experiment (click HERE) or this post featuring a video from Ryersonian TV featuring Over the Rainbow (click HERE)

One of our other brand favourites, Nudie Jeans, also feature a how-to care instructions pamphlet for every pair of dry denim you buy with the same message:

“Wear your jeans everyday for at least six months. The longer you wear them the more character and attitude they acquire.”

At the end of it, it really just comes down to comfort level, so maybe I just need to let go, own my inner-grunge and just go with it. Besides, if I hold up on doing laundry night every Saturday, it might just free up more space to do other things. Here’s hoping….