Denim Strength Under Extreme, Potentially Real World Conditions

Three Jeans is dedicated to all aspects of denim wash/wear. Here is a project I’ve been working on. In short, I exposed denim to the extreme real world conditions and stress tested the denim after 5 weeks.


  1. Strips of denim 1/2″ by >4″ were cut out of an old pair of jeans (image 1)

    image 1

  2. The strips were placed in 10 groups of 3
  3. Each group was placed in a glass jar to experience the most extreme wear conditions (image 2, table 1)

    image 2

  4. Strips were left under experiment conditions for 5 weeks and were agitated once a day for 30 seconds each (image 3)

    image 3

  5. After 5 weeks, denim was stress tested by pulling denim apart lengthwise. Clamps were placed exactly 3″ apart, and strength was measure in KG force require to break the denim (image 4, graph 1)

    image 4


graph 1


The only condition that seemed to significantly improve the denim strength was condition #4, water and ethanol (table 1). All other conditions either weakened the denim or had no effect. Unsurprisingly, condition #3, water and bleach, had the most adverse effect; however, condition #10, olive oil, wasn’t far behind.

In future tests, I plan to wet and dry repeatedly as compared to dry-only and wet-only samples.

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