Stone Wash

Pretreatment of Knits and woven fabric
May 6, 2019
Denim Washing Process
July 8, 2019

Stone Wash

Stone Wash

This is the most common and basic process for producing a washed-down look on denim garments. Towards the end of the seventies, pumice stones were discovered to accelerate the aging process of indigo dyed denim garments.

Wash Components

The stones in widespread use today are pumice stones, which have numerous pores. These pores have very sharp edges, facilitating a very high degree of abrasion.

The Process

A typical stone wash process is as follow:

Stone Wash

The degree of color fading and change of garment feel depends very much on the ratio of weight of the stone to the fabric weight, which can vary from 0.5:1 to 3:1. During the treatment, the outer most layer of the indigo-dyed yarn is partially separated and the portion of the fiber inside, which is undyed, comes to the surface. The surface gets a softer handle through the mechanical process with pumice stones.

The degree of the wash-down effect depends upon several factors – the size of the stone, stone ratio, liquor ratio, duration of treatment, garment load, etc.

Size

The size of pumice stones available for stone washing vary from 1 cm to 7 cm in diameter. Pumice stones, around 2 to 3 cm in diameter, are used for finer denim qualities. The common size employed for normal denim qualities is 3 to 6 cm in diameter.

Variants

Different wash names like sand wash, golf ball wash, micro wash and micro-sand wash — which are types of stone wash — refer to the use of very small size pumice stones.

Equipment

Drum washing machines are used for stone washing. The capacity of drum washing machines can be up to 200 kg. Some of these machines are equipped with tilting facility to empty the washed garments.

Stone Wash Effects

  • Under normal circumstance (fabric-stone ratio at 1:2), color fading is irrespective of the fabric stone ratio.
  • Smaller stones give slightly better fading effect, but this would reduce the color contrast due to more uniform abrasion.
  • Fading effect increases with the stone wash time. However, increase of the effect becomes insignificant when the washing time exceeds 90 minutes.

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