Why New Jeans Stain Your Hands (and Clothes)

September 9, 2013 | By | Comments (7)


Ever noticed that after you wear a new pair of dark jeans, you end up with Indigo dye on your hands, your shirt, your purse, and whatever else comes in contact with your pants? There’s actually a name for this—crocking—and it happens naturally with most denim. (You have to use a lot of ink to get a rich color.) Here’s how to handle, and maybe even prevent, blue stains:

▪ Look for a label warning the denim may bleed. If there isn’t one, rub white paper against the fabric to check for residue.
▪ If there is any risk of crocking, wash the jeans before wearing. Launder them alone in cold water so the dye won’t damage other items.
▪ If the dye has smudged onto other clothing, pretreat the area with a stain remover, then wash in cold. Repeat as necessary without using the dryer until the stain is gone.
▪ If the indigo rubs off on a dry-clean-only garment, upholstery, or leather, seek out a professional cleaner.

In the market for new jeans? Use our handy guide to find the perfect style for you.


  1. boomdava

    Reblogged this on boomdava and commented:
    Always getting blue dye under my nails – argh! Knowledge is power :)

    September 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm
  2. Julie Bain

    Always gets on my white tennis shoes and can’t get it off of them.

    September 11, 2013 at 11:55 am
  3. J2

    Wouldn’t you wash your new clothes first before wearing them anyway? After all, you never know the cleanliness of the people who have tried them on before you. Ick.

    September 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm
  4. DS

    I’m not sure where this information came from but the best way to keep the dye from bleeding is not by repeatedly washing but by doing a vinegar soak in cold water. This helps set the dye. Google that and you will get the information regarding how much vinegar to water. I usually do one cup on the small setting with one or two pair of new jeans.

    September 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm
  5. Tracy

    Also! As well as washing the item on its own- add a half cup of salt to set the dye! Doing this will also keep the item close to the original colour for a while longer.

    September 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm
  6. lehcarstl (@lehcarstl)

    Vinegar does not help set dye on cellulose fibers, only on protein fibers. Crocking is excess dye, not dye that isn’t set. It takes a lot of excess dye to dye cellulose fibers and sometimes the extra dye molecules like to hang around for a few washes.

    September 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm
  7. Lou

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and
    I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point mme in the direction of a goid platform.

    July 5, 2014 at 3:09 am

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