Raw Denim Care 02: Taking a Dip (The Bath Soak Method)

The ‘bath soak’ as a method of shrinking your jeans, for many, goes hand in hand with the romantic history of heritage denim. We’ve all been told stories of how our elders used to sit in the bath with their jeans on ‘until their legs were blue’. But it turns out, that there’s much more rhyme and reason to this apparent madness than just denim tradition. So come with us while we take a dip into the indigo waters, to see what all the fuss is about!



One thing which is important to consider is just how much you want your jeans to shrink. Again, the hotter the water, and the longer you’re in said water, the more  width and length you will lose, but if you have a pair of oversized jeans, and your aim is to make them mould to the shape of your body, then you might want to consider another approach. The bath soak, in our humble opinion, is the best option to choose when you have jeans which are already a pretty good fit, or perhaps one inch too big, and this is because the jeans will pull in to the shape of your legs when in the water, and once they hit your legs, they can’t go any further! So, if you have a new pair of straight or slim jeans, and you want to give them a little more of your personal shape while softening the denim, this approach might just be the one for you! (Editors note: wider jeans will still shrink in the water, but you don’t necessarily have to be in them to do so, so you might save yourself some mess!)


Make sure that your tub is clean, and that any traces of bleach or cleaning product are long gone before starting to fill it up. If the bath tub isn’t your own, then it might be worth asking permission beforehand, as the indigo can leave blue streaks on the enamel. Be sure to properly consider the temperature of the water, as this will effect the results of the shrink. The hotter the water, the more the jeans will shrink, but bear in mind that you will be in there for up to half an hour; too hot and you might burn your legs, too cold and you could catch a cold!



When the tub is around two thirds full, you can get yourself in there! Make sure to have something nearby to keep yourself occupied; a beverage, a book, or some music. Always take extra special care when using electrics around water, or you could find yourself with a nasty shock! As we mentioned before, around half an hour is a good time to be aiming for, that will allow the denim to react with the water, and fully do its thing. So, now that you’ve drunk your beer, out you pop!



When getting out of the tub, take care not to bend your knees too much, as that can cause the wet jeans to go out of shape. While you’re watching the beautiful shades of indigo wash down the drain, take your jeans off, do the buttons back up again, and hang them somewhere that they can dry naturally. The head of your shower would be perfect, but if you don’t have that option, a clothes line would work too; basically somewhere where you don’t mind making a bit of a mess!



After allowing your jeans to dry fully, you can try them on for size. You should notice that the bath soaking method has allowed the denim to soften, whilst forming the jeans into a shape which makes them feel like they were designed just for you! The only thing you need to do now is wear them, and wear them hard!