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How do I minimize dye leeching from a new/newish pair of jeans?
November 3, 2012 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm about to buy a new pair of jeans. For health reasons (see: cautionary principle), I want to minimize the amount of dye that transfers and leeches into my skin from the jeans as I wear them over time. Is there any way to do this besides washing the jeans a bunch of times?
posted by fundamentafriendapendability to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
 
I suppose you could buy white jeans.

"On average, a pair of blue jean trousers requires 3 – 12 g of indigo... Indigo has a low oral toxicity, with an LD50 of 5000 mg/kg in mammals."
posted by gregr at 1:11 PM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is impossible to know unless you know exactly how the jeans were dyed. Commercial dyeing and fabric treating processes vary considerably, and only very high end jeans will be true indigo dye. Low end jeans will be a blue synthetic dye. If you automatically assume natural is better (I would not), then get more expensive jeans dyed with indigo, and hand wash them once to get off the fabric finishing chemicals, and then you're probably fine. Or get cheap jeans, wash them a few times and hope that you got the majority of the dye - and you probably did, because the function that describes how much total unfixed dye comes off with each wash will be exponential, so by wash number four or five they are hardly bleeding at all.

Btw, this goes for all your clothes, more or less.
posted by slow graffiti at 1:30 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would suppose some heavily pre-washed jeans would minimize dye exposure, as most of the heavy excess will have been removed already. You just wouldn't have that trendy dark look.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:38 PM on November 3, 2012


Wear something underneath your jeans (eg leggings)?
posted by btfreek at 5:12 PM on November 3, 2012


You could wear long underwear underneath, or engage a tailor to add a lining.
posted by Jahaza at 5:30 PM on November 3, 2012


First, read the labels - if it says something like "...this garment may leave dye on your skin on first wearing..." then put it in a tub of cold water with a few cups of white vinegar to 'set' the dye. Then wash in warm/cold water, and line dry. You should be fine after that.
posted by dbmcd at 6:07 PM on November 3, 2012


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