How to Make Raw Jeans Less Stiff

With proper care, raw denim jeans last for years.
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You love your new raw denim jeans, you can't wait to wear them -- but the fact that they can stand up on their own doesn't promise the greatest of comfort. You may as well accept that your jeans won't feel soft and comfy overnight, but raw jeans are worth a little discomfort. Break them in gradually, and they’ll fit your body like a glove, with natural wear patterns and fade marks that identify them as uniquely yours forever. However, there are a few things you can do to speed up that breaking-in process and soften raw jeans without too much hassle.

Soak raw denim jeans in a tub of cold water for five minutes to removing the sizing, which is a substance that manufacturers apply to provide a crisp, smooth finish. To prevent shrinkage, don’t use warm water; and don’t agitate the water because the fabric will fade.

Roll the wet jeans up in a large towel to absorb excess water. Use an old or dark-colored towel because the indigo dye may stain.

Lay the wet jeans flat on a dry, dark-colored towel. Turn them every one or two hours so they dry evenly. Put on the jeans while they're still slightly damp and let them dry on your body while you move around in them.

Wear your new jeans at least every day for two weeks. Start by wearing them while your're relaxing around the house to give the jeans time to conform to your body. Wear them out into the world when they begin to loosen and feel more comfortable.

Exercise while you’re wearing your new jeans. Do a series of squats every day. Bend over and touch the floor. Twist. Do a few jumping jacks. The more you move, the faster raw denim softens.

  • While wearing damp jeans, wear dark-colored undergarments to avoid staining.

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.