What does Stonewashing mean?

The process in which pumice stones are literally added to wash cycle with denim, in order to abrade and lighten the garment.

Heddels explains Stonewashing

Stonewashing is a method used to quicken the fading and softening process of jeans. It involves washing the material with natural or synthetic pumice stones for a period of time, allowing the stones to abrade the material and remove some of the dye particles. The process usually lasts an hour; however, for a super faded look the process can take up to six hours.

Unfortunately, stonewashing also abrades the buttons and rivets on the jeans and cuts down on the lifespan of the garment. In addition, it increases the cost of production as the jeans must then be washed several times to remove the grit from the fabric.

Also, the ground-down pumice, which must then de disposed of, is detrimental to the environmental. For these reasons, many manufacturers have switched to enzyme washes or biostoning as more economical and environmentally-friendly solutions.

Raw denim jeans are not stonewashed.

Additional Resources

Stonewashing machine:

Raw Denim Term - Stonewashing