What is denim abrasion and finishing?

There are 1.9 billion jeans sold worldwide each year - and many of them are manufactured to have a vintage look. To get that faded finish, pumice stones were traditionally added to the washing machines in a jeans washing process called stonewashing.

Making one pair of stone-washed jeans requires a lot of water , chemicals and energy. But, with the help of enzymes, stone-washed jeans can be produced more sustainably without the use of stones – this is called enzymatic denim abrasion.

Denim finishing covers various additional processes such as bleaching and resin treatments. Novozymes offers enzymes for more sustainable denim bleaching.

How can enzymes help?

Up until the early 1990s, jeans manufacturers used pumice stone and chemicals to give jeans a stonewashed look. That changed after Novozymes’ scientists developed the first stone-washing enzymes capable of loosening dye from the fabric for a more sustainable wash.

Recently, Novozymes perfected denim abrasion and finishing biotechnology to allow low-temperature enzymes to be sprayed directly on the garment in safety-approved low-water spray machines. This process dramatically reduces water consumption by up to 95 percent.

Learn more about Enzymes for denim processing

Novozymes Denilite® allows for a safer, more stable and faster denim bleaching process even without damage to stretch fibers when compared to traditionally bleached denim.

Novozymes Denilite® Benefits

  • Cuts chemical use to improve effluent quality
  • Easier to use: bleaching stops automatically after 15 minutes
  • Improves garment contrast and enhances abrasion effect
  • Excellent anti-back staining properties
  • Available for use at room temperature
  • No damage to stretch fibers


Download the info sheet for Denilite®

In denim abrasion, Novozymes Denimax® cuts water, energy and heat costs and gives a great stone-washed look.

Novozymes Denimax® Benefits

  • Provides a high color contrast finish, high-color pull and a low degree of back staining
  • Cuts water consumption by up to 95 % and energy consumption by up to 50 %.*
  • Reduces equipment wear and tear*
  • Available for temperatures as low as 30°C and for combined de-sizing and abrasion (single process step)
  • Available for water saving spray application for DeniSafe® certified machines

*Compared to conventional stonewashing with pumice stones


Want to learn more about Denimax®? Contact us below.

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