When you have a pair of raw denim jeans that you love, the last thing you want to do is see them get damaged. But what happens if you have some annoying wrinkles. Can you iron raw denim or will the ironing process permanently damage the material?
Yes, you can iron raw denim to remove wrinkles. But there are several tips you will want to follow to help ensure that your raw denim is not damaged during the ironing process. Here are some things to consider:
- Turn your raw denim inside out prior to ironing. This helps prevent the look of fading on the outside part of your jeans.
- Pull the pockets out so you don’t press pocket marks into your raw denim jeans.
- Low heat is always best. How low? Well that might depend on the severity of your wrinkles. As a rule of thumb, start with low heat and see how the wrinkles respond.
- Keeping the iron full of water so you can apply steam while ironing is always helpful with denim. With raw denim, it is a good idea to place a clean towel under the denim to help prevent color transfer onto the ironing board.
Although denim is extremely durable and can be pressed many times over without sustaining damage, some people like to avoid ironing as much as possible to help extend the life of the denim. Sometimes, simply hanging your denim for a day or two can help remove any signs of wrinkles.
Some people may choose to use a steamer instead of an iron so that they don’t have to press extreme heat against the raw denim. Another possible solution is to hang your raw denim jeans in the bathroom while you shower to see if the steam from the shower will remove the wrinkles.
The main thing to remember when ironing raw denim is that because the raw denim has not been pre-washed, it will easily bleed color onto other surfaces and/or garments. If you apply heat and steam to your raw denim jeans, you can expect some color transfer. Putting a cloth or towel under your raw denim can prevent color from transferring onto the ironing board.
In this article let’s take a closer look at ironing raw denim and discuss other possible solutions.
Can You Iron Raw Denim?
As we discussed above, yes, you can iron raw denim to help remove wrinkles. There are some minor long-term affects of applying iron to denim (fading, stretching, etc), but in most all situations, applying an occasional heat press to your raw denim will not have a lasting negative impact.
Long term negative effects of ironing denim can be:
- Fading (especially around the seams).
- Ironing marks and lines
- Weakened fabric
- Loss of elasticity
As a rule of thumb, start with low heat and see how the wrinkles respond. Applying low heat, with needed steam, will often take care of most minor wrinkles.
How To Iron Raw Denim
If you are not used to ironing, don’t be afraid that a mistake will shred your jean clothing forever. It may make a mark, but it will not destroy the entire jeans. Just follow these simple steps (source):
- Use an iron with steaming capabilities.
- Turn your pockets inside out.
- Fill your iron with water.
- Turn on your iron.
- Use the steam setting with your ironing.
- Press against the waistband for a few seconds.
- Line the seams of the pant legs.
- Press and steam down your pant legs.
As we discussed earlier, the main thing to remember when ironing raw denim is that because the raw denim has not been pre-washed, it will easily bleed color onto other surfaces and/or garments. If you apply heat and steam to your raw denim jeans, you can expect some color transfer. Putting a cloth or towel under your raw denim can prevent color from transferring onto the ironing board.
Even though raw denim can bleed onto other surfaces, it is still best to use a steam iron. Dry ironing can burn and damage the denim. The steam also makes it easier for the wrinkles to be smoothed out. Dampening your jeans also can be an option if you don’t have a steam iron.
Turning your jeans inside out prior to ironing will help prevent fading and other types of long-term affects from ironing. Again, low heat is best to start with, then slowly increase if needed.
Make sure not to press near the zipper because the zipper can leave marks on other parts of the jeans. Also make sure the cuffs and waist aren’t folded on top of other parts of the jeans when pressed because they too can leave indentations and damage other parts of the fabric.
Most people damage fabric while ironing because they are in a rush. They use too high of heat and they don’t take the time to properly prepare the jeans by turning them inside out and pulling out the pockets.
Alternatives to Ironing Raw Denim
You’ve probably heard that hanging clothes can help remove wrinkles. Sometimes, this feels more like myth than reality. The problem is, when many of us try hanging clothes to remove wrinkles, the results leave much to be desired.
Yes, hanging clothes prior to wrinkling obviously helps prevent wrinkles, but hanging clothes after wrinkles are already formed won’t have a quick, immediate effect on wrinkles. Yes, some minor wrinkles may fade, but to see a dramatic difference, you would need to allow your raw denim to hang for an extended amount of time (think weeks).
If simply hanging clothes for an hour or two removed wrinkles, irons wouldn’t exist. The truth is, if you have extreme wrinkles in your raw denim, hanging the denim likely won’t solve the issue (although it may improve it slightly). As we discussed earlier, hanging your raw denim in a steamy bathroom while showering may help improve wrinkles.
Some people choose to use a fabric steamer instead of an iron so that they don’t have to press extreme heat against the raw denim. In my experience, the steaming process won’t be effective on extreme wrinkles, but can help remove minor wrinkles.
Dry cleaning your raw jeans is another option. There is serious debate about whether or not the dry-cleaning process helps preserve the raw nature of denim.
Some people believe that the dry cleaning process helps prevent the color of the denim from being washed away, but critics often argue that over time the chemicals in the dry cleaning process can fade raw denim. Still, dry cleaning is another alternative if you are concerned about ironing your raw denim.
Denim Products to Consider
To read about specific types of denim workwear, visit our articles linked below:
- Best Denim Chore Coats
- Best Hooded Denim Jackets
- Best Denim Work Jackets
- Best Flannel Lined Denim Jackets
- Best Denim Cargo Shorts
- Best Denim Work Shorts
- Best Denim Work Shirts
- Why Does Selvedge Denim Cost Extra?
The main takeaway regarding raw denim is, yes, you can iron raw denim to help remove wrinkles. There are some minor long-term affects of applying an iron to denim (fading, stretching, etc), but in most all situations, applying an occasional heat press to your raw denim will not have a lasting negative impact if you follow proper ironing techniques.