Experts Discuss Soaking in Vinegar, Tumble Drying, Dry Cleaning, and the Bathtub SoakIf youre reading this, chances are you care a great deal about your jeans. Maybe even to the point that your friends call you obsessed?In that case, its safe to assume you also care about how you take care of your jeans, especially how you wash them. And you probably only wear raw denim jeans.Raw denim has spread from niches to the masses over the past decade. Along its way to commercialisation, myths and false assumptions about raw denim care have taken hold in the public conscious. And that means you might be getting (or giving) poor, or even false, advice about how to take care of your jeans.Advice like put your jeans in the freezer, wash them in the ocean, or wait six months before you wash are some of the popular raw denim myths floating around. With help from a handful of experts, I busted those three myths in a previous member resource.Suggested reading: 3 Popular Raw Denim Care Myths and Why Theyre Totally BustedIn this guide, Ill discuss another four of the most common denim care myths. Learn if vinegar really helps denim retain its colour, what happens if you tumble dry your jeans, if dry cleaning your jeans does any good, and why you should or shouldnt soak your jeans in the bathtub. Lets start with that last one.Myth #1: The Bathtub Soak Gives Great FadesThe premise of this myth is that wearing your jeans in a bathtub and then letting them dry on your body will help set creases in the right places and shape the garment to your body, which leads to great fades.First of all, lets make it clear that it is indeed recommended to soak unsanforized denim before you wear it to tighten up the weave, Jeremy Smith from Standard & Strange points outs. I couldnt agree more.The question is whether its a good idea to do it in a bathtub while youre wearing the jeans?It makes for a great coffee table talk, and weve even used promotional pictures on our site in the past showing this process, Merv Sethi from Okayama Denim admits.He adds that the bathtub soak is more about getting the best possible fit from your unsanforized denim than getting great fades.Some people opt to wear their jeans in the tub to make sure the jeans dont shrink too much on the initial soak, Andrew Chen of 3sixteen says. Ive never done it personally, it seems uncomfortable and too much of a bother to me.Menno Van Meurs from Tenue de Nmes recalls how the bathtub approach was popular when his parents were trying to get their shrink-to-fit jeans to fit some 30 years ago. I doubt this method will actually create better fades, though, he says.Nick Coe from Heddels argues that the settling in of creases might lead to more vivid fades. But its a big might, he stresses. And the approach has its downsides too.From my own experience, I would argue that walking around in wet denim is not a good idea; it might cause premature breakages as the denim is weakened.Kiya Babzani of Self Edge agrees. The idea that you should wear your jeans in a bathtub is a terrible one, he argued on Put This On in 2013. Its not only uncomfortable, but it stretches out the jeans in unnatural ways. It creates knee-bagging and pulls at the hips, giving you hip-flare.Myth plausible!So, to sum up this myth, you might get better fades if your soak your jeans in the tub while wearing them. But it comes at the price of a higher risk that the denim breaks prematurely. But because theres an element of subjectivity surrounding what great fades actually mean, we cant really bust this myth.Myth #2: Vinegar Helps Denim Retain Its ColourThe premise of this myth is that vinegar retains the colour of the fabric. Thats why Menno advises his customers to use vinegar when they soak their jeans.But it sounds like an unlikely urban legend, doesnt it? And whod want to put something with such an intrusive odour onto their jeans?! Like Danny Hodgson from Rivet and Hide, many hate the smell of vinegar, which is why hes never used it.For my in-depth jeans washing guide, I did a bit of research on using vinegar when you wash your jeans. I found that it prevents fades. How?Indigo and sulfur (the two most common denim dyes) are unstable, meaning the colour bleeds when washed as the dye releases pigmented mineral compounds. Vinegar absorbs and neutralises these minerals.Nick also recognises that it works. Vinegar has shown to minimise indigo loss since it sets in the dye to the fibre, he tells me.Jeremy adds that this can slow down the fading process; as it fixes the dye and softens the fabric, it prevents sharp fades from setting.Myth confirmed!But vinegar does more than retain colour. During the research for my washing guide, I also found that vinegar kills bacteria and that it works as a biodegradable fabric softener.I dont believe vinegar kills bacteria, Menno says with a grin, unless they hate the smell of it so much too.Nick doesnt think vinegar kills bacteria any better than a simple wash. Hes right. Although vinegar technically does kill bacteria, the dosage you use in domestic laundry is so small that it wont make much of a difference.Gordon of Blue in Green says there are examples of vinegar working as a fabric softener, but adds that it also depends on how the garment is dried. With line drying, you often get a stiffer hand compared to machine drying, which softens the denim up due to the agitation and tumbling.That segues perfectly into the third myth: tumble drying.Myth #3: Dont Tumble Dry Your JeansKeep your jeans far away from the tumble dryer, Menno advises, it harms the fabric as well as the fit.This one is arguably more common sense than myth these days, but the premise here is that tumble drying is not good for your jeans. Lets start by looking at what happens when you tumble dry your jeans.Basically, the high temperatures alter the composition of the cotton, Greg Tamura of The Denim Hound explains.You know all the lint that comes out? Jeremy rhetorically asks. Its made of fibres from your clothes.Tumble drying accelerates wear and eventual breakdown, Greg elaborates. It also changes the way the denim feels.Nick agrees. In his experience, tumble drying can lead to really bizarre creasing and wrinkles, which just mess with the fabric and fades.Danny says tumble drying is bad for any fabric but adds that people do this if they have sized wrong and want to get as much shrinkage as possible. The only time Ive tumble dried a pair of jeans myself was for that exact reason.If you desperately need to shrink a pair of jeans, Merv says, weve advised people to run the gentle cycle on the dryer and toss the jeans in, checking them every 1012 minutes to regulate the shrinkage.Gordon stresses that whether this myth should be busted or confirmed is subjective. As a blanket statement, I would not say that tumble drying is bad for your jeans.However, its not that simple, as he explains: There are many factors to consider before making this sort of statement, such as what sort of dryer is being used, the cycle its run on, how wet the jeans are, and whether the denim is stiff or soft to begin with. These factors are all relative to the outcome of using a dryer for your jeans.I dont suppose theres anything inherently wrong with putting your jeans in the dryer, Andrew argues, but adds that he always advocates for hang drying jeans.Myth plausible!The bottom line is that whether this myth should be busted or confirmed is a matter of personal taste.Myth #4: Dry Cleaning Jeans Keeps Them RawThe premise of this myth is that dry cleaning jeans will make them stay raw, meaning you wont get that washed look. But does it actually work? And does it clean your jeans? After all, thats what youd want to achieve, right?Menno is a supporter of this approach. Dry cleaning can potentially clean the jeans without losing too much of its stiffness. The problem is that one dry cleaner might treat your jeans very differently than another. I have seen jeans completely destroyed by a heavy chemical dry cleaning treatment and others come back beautiful, he explains.This highlights the core issue with dry cleaning; the way its done differs. But what is dry cleaning, really?As Gordon explains, dry cleaning jeans usually means theyll go into a machine similar to a washing machine. But instead of water, a chemical cleaning solvent is used.And unlike what the name suggests, dry cleaning isnt a dry process, because the clothes are soaked in the solvent!Andrew argues that dry cleaning doesnt really get your jeans that clean. It may remove some of the smell for sure, but nothing is going to beat actual washing with water in terms of getting dirt and grime and oils out of your jeans, which is what you want if longevity is the end goal.If having a pair of jeans that looks like theyve never been washed is the goal, you can definitely dry clean them, but at that point, why bother? Just keep soldiering on.Merv summarises the point: Dry clean your suit, jeans are workwear!Myth busted!Suggested further reading: Why you shouldnt freeze your jeans, washing them in the ocean, or wait 6 months before the first washTake Your Denim Knowledge To the Next LevelThe Denimhunters Academy is the denim industrys new independent on-demand online education and staff training platform.It teaches you how to create meaningful and memorable experiences for your customers with product knowledge and storytelling.Hi Thomas Stege. You already have a subscription.That means you have access to all the member resources as well as the entire the Denim 101 course!Were also offering freelance consulting, which you can learn more about and request here!·RELATED QUESTIONWhy do American men wear class rings, but wont use their postnominal degrees on door signs and business cards?American women wear class rings, too. I wear mine.Generally speaking, displaying where you got your degree from on a business card or a door sign would be seen as odd, at best. If somebody handed me a business card with the Harvard logo on it and he didnt work at Harvard, Id probably ask about it: Oh, do you do work with Harvard University? and if the answer was, No, I just attended Id find this an unpleasant level of showing off. Not classy.A lot of Americans will have college-related paraphernalia in their offices, though. Like, you may see a pennant or they may have their degree(s) up on the wall. This is a more casual display of affiliation.Likewise, the ring is casual. Class rings are usually not that obtrusive, particularly the signet variety.Usually, the signet is only immediately recognized by others who attended the university (though I have had people ask me to hand over my ring so they could take a closer look at it before), and thus it kind of acts like a secret handshake. Ive had people from my college recognize my signet ring on sight, and then we have an instant connection.Its just a lot classier than shoving it in everybodys face all the time in an American social environment, basically.