Prices in CAD | Free Shipping in NA on Orders over $500

How to Soak your Unsanforized Denim

Step 1: Prep

You’re going to need a bathtub and lukewarm water for an exceptional soak. Unsanforized denim will shrink in the conditions outlined below; about 2” in the waist and inseam, and ½” in the rise, thigh and leg opening. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a page out of the denim buffs’ guide and sit in the tub with your jeans on. This will allow the denim to shrink to your body, creating an ideal fit. If that’s not for you, ensure all the buttons are closed before you place them in the tub. If you want to go one step further, try tying a rope through the belt loops for a little more control.

Step 2: Soak

Temperature and soak time are the greatest factors affecting the shrink and fade of your denim. Too hot, and your denim will shrink more than intended. Too cold, and achieve minimal shrinkage. This is why lukewarm water is the temperature of choice. Not to mention, this temperature also limits the amount of indigo dye lost in the process.

Typical soak times lie around 30 minutes. Feel free to adjust this depending on how much you want your jeans to shrink. However, please be aware that an increase in soak time will result in a greater loss of indigo.

Keep a few things in mind during your soak. You want the water to penetrate your denim, so try to move your jeans around the bathtub every so often. If you’re not soaking with your jeans you may want to try weighing your jeans down to prevent them from floating to the surface. 

Step 3: Dry

The key to drying your soaked jeans is letting them do so naturally. I highly recommend drying your denim outdoors and in the sunlight. This method minimizes the fall of the indigo dye and prevents undesirable creases and fades you may notice with machine drying.

Pull your jeans out of the tub and turn them inside out without wringing the fabric. Then decide how you would like to hang your jeans. A few options include running a rope through the belt loops on one side of the waist band, or clipping a hanger to the outer corners of the waistband. While taking your denim from the tub to your outdoor hanging spot, you might want to protect your floors from dripping indigo dye. Tie or hang your jeans so that they are not touching the ground, and again, you may want to cover the ground beneath your jeans. Now sit tight, because these bad boys will take several hours to fully dry.

- Kevin

Raw Denim Tutorials Unsanforized Denim

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • Peter, yes. However, if you only want parts og your raw denim to shrink – you have the option to do so! I bought a «one wash» pair of Oni’s 465 zr raws which fit really good, with a perfect snug grip on my waist. I kne they had been shrunk in the «one wash» process and I wanted them to stay that eay for longer. Therefore i gave them a hot soak only around the waist for a little more than thirty minutes. This gave the jeans a very snug grip around my waist, bit they gradually ecpanded to a nice fit around my waist. Eventually I might need to wear a belt since the fabric of Onis is ever changing and loosely woven. The point is, you have the option of «controlled shrinkage» like I did. Good luck!

    Erlend on
  • Hi guys, if soaking will shrink the waist by about 2”, does that mean I need to size up to a 36? I’m usually around 34” true size and my previous raw denim (momotaro) was 33” but I had a very tough time breaking those in

    Peter on

Leave a comment