Manufacturers use a resin rinse or resin wash to give your jeans special effects, depending on what resins are used when and how. A resin is a sticky plastic chemical compound that coats the outside of the denim and changes the surface of the fabric. A resin wash adds value to a pair of jeans, meaning -- what else -- you get to pay more for them.
A resin rinse is used to fix the deep blue indigo dye that has long been associated with jeans, according BASF, a large chemical company that manufactures various resins. Other resins can create creases, crackles, wrinkles, or that certain vintage look, according to Makeyourownjeans.com, a company that sells custom-made jeans. You don't have to be a cowboy to have cowboy-looking jeans. Just thank chemistry for breaking in your jeans for you.
Jeans makers have their own methods of creating the effects they want. Hey, it's a tough business, so they might be very hush-hush about their special recipes, just like your mom might have a secret apple pie recipe. You need different resins for different effects, and to make things more complicated, the fabric might be thicker, thinner, heavier, lighter, absorb more, absorb less. The fabric can vary all over the place, and a manufacturer just has to deal with it.
Garment Dip Method
That's why jeans manufacturers do some serious experimenting before picking what resins to use, according to NAEM Denim Company, a jeans maker in Los Angeles. One way to do a resin rinse is the garment dip method. The jeans get soaked in a resin solution for six to 10 minutes, some of the solution is extracted, the jeans are tumble dried down to a moisture content of 8 percent to 10 percent, and then cured in a special oven, states Saurabh Rai, guest writer for DenimsandJeans.com. You might say the jeans get cooked.
Oh yes, and the trendy jeans with the cute 3-D whiskers that you just had to have -- those are also done with a resin rinse. The resin is sprayed onto the jeans while they are tumbled. A more fun-sounding method is to hang them on balloons in a spray booth. The spraying procedure is automated and carefully controlled. The jeans are crunched, scrunched or otherwise handled to create the desired effects. The next time you wonder why some jeans are so pricey, it might be because they've been specially soaked or sprayed, tumbled, hung, crunched, scrunched, or mashed.