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To Starch or Not To Starch, and How

Any newcomer to raw denim researching and reading about the topic is always guaranteed to come across the issue of whether or not they should “starch” their raw denim.  Yours truly included, I had no clue what “starching” meant (“you mean the stuff you eat?”), what the reason for it was, and whether or not it was really worth all the trouble.

After much surfing across forums, blogs, and articles, I finally learned more about the process and how it all came to be.  First, why do people starch their denim?  One of the biggest reasons for wearing raw denim is the fading/creasing achieved, which is partially due to how raw (i.e. stiff) the denim initially is.  Since applying starch stiffens any textile fabric, the thinking is then that starching raw denim = more profound creases = better fading.

The next question is of course – is this really necessary?  Does it expedite the fading process and make such a difference?  Well, different strokes for different folks.  You’re bound to come across some who think starching is “so 2006” and makes your jeans stink, but others will advocate you just need to “do it right” and will swear by it every time (true starch slingers – see below).  To be honest, I have yet to starch anything I’ve ever owned (result of being a little bit lazy) but am interested to give it a shot and see the result.



If you do feel compelled to starch your denim, here is the 5- step process:

  1. Get the Goods – If you are purchasing from store, ensure it is scentless and a “proven” brand.  For spray starch, I’ve read Faultless, Niagra Spray Starch, Dr. Beckmann, and Easy On Double Starch works; while Sta-Flo works well for liquid.  One brand that I have not read good reviews about is “Magic Sizing”, apparently causing one guy’s jeans to smell like a bag of a**holes.  Note that many do opt for the D.I.Y. approach – mixing starch and water in spray can with 2 heaping teaspoons of regular corn starch to 3/4 – 1 litre of hot water.  The best method when cooking is you first make a slurry with a little bit of the water, gradually mixing in the rest of the water.  This prevents the starch from clumping, which will happen if you put all the starch in at one time.
  2. Apply – If spraying, apply from  8-10 inches distance on ironing board or flat surface, and work in 12-inch sections and until damp.  If using liquid formula, work liquid into the denim liberally but being careful not to drench.  It isn’t a bad idea to use a sponge.
  3. Iron – Now a lot of people out there will throw up red flags when hearing “iron” and “raw denim” in the same sentence, but I say take a look at the washing instructions on the inner tag and go from there.  If it strictly shows an iron icon with a big X through it, then do not.  Otherwise, you should be good to go.
  4. Continue – Continue Steps (1) – (3) until finished
  5. Hang – Hang jeans on hanger, like below photo.

If you know of a better starching method or way to enrich the stiffness factor, pls feel free to leave comments below.

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