Raw Denim Myths Debunked

Raw Denim Myths Debunked

Posted by Laurie L. Dove / www.howstuffworks.com on 27th May 2016

Over the weekend I discovered an interesting, well done video from howstuffworks.com, which discussed raw denim. It covered some of the myths about how to care for raw denim as well, so I thought it would be interesting for our blog.

Raw Denim Myths covered in When should you wash your jeans video

Click image for link to video

Those jeans you're wearing? They're part of a decades-old debate about whether — and when — you should wash denim. It's a contested topic filled with pseudoscience and conjecture, one centered around an Odyssean journey designed to coax a legendary article of clothing into the perfectly worn pair of jeans.

How often jeans should be laundered is dependent on a number of factors, including fabric, dye and your personal feelings on bacteria. But first, Ben Bowlin, host of our BrainStuff video above, lets you in on some surprising information. Denim is only partially dyed, so if you prefer a deep indigo color, think long and hard before putting those pants in the washing machine.

Denim is created when cotton fibers are made into a twill weave. In a twill weave, a yarn called the weft is woven crosswise, passing over and under vertically placed warp fibers. Typically, only the warp threads are dyed. This means the weft threads remain white, a quality that gives the inside of blue jeans its lighter color.

Plus, the blue shade on the warp threads comes from an indigo dye — a dye that doesn't penetrate cotton fibers. Indigo sits atop the surface of each thread that makes up the yarn, its molecules chipping away over time and causing the fabric to fade.

This fade pattern is so unique that the FBI can analyze denim fade patterns to track criminals, identifying telltale whisker patterns on the front and honeycomb patterns behind the knees.