When I got into raw denim washing my jeans in the ocean was something I’ve always wanted to try. It was popularised by a French clothing brand and involves wading in seawater with the jeans on then rubbing the jeans with sand. They say the salt water acts as a kind of natural bleach giving denim a subtle fade while sand “beats up” the denim softening it and giving it more character. Raw denim enthusiasts discourage washing jeans in sea water because it can leave a bad smell. However, the smell can be removed by washing the jeans in fresh water and detergent.
During a weekend trip to La Union I decided to do an ocean wash on my pair of Fullcount 1108. I’ve been wearing them almost everyday for the last three months and was washed once two weeks ago using a natural and organic detergent. I waded into the water and walked around a few minutes before going back to shore to rub wet sand on them. After doing this twice I rinsed the jeans in fresh water before giving them a wash in mild detergent immediately after. I hung them up to dry overnight and in the sun the following day.
After wearing them for three months and having gone through two washes the fading is somewhat noticeable. I can see a glimpse of how the jeans will fade over time. By washing early and frequently I hope to achieve a washed look with a low contrast. The rubbing of sand has softened the denim a lot and no longer has that stiffness from its post-soak state. I’ve also noticed that the waist seems to have completely stretched out.
Is it worth washing your jeans in the sea? It’s too early to tell. Maybe after another three to six months of wearing and washing will I be able to answer that question.