The more denim was washed, the softer it would get.
The the sentence describes the past or is it a subjnctive mood which describes 'present situation'?
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Kate Bunting wrote in a comment: "It's a habitual occurrence in the past. Each time it was washed, it got softer."
The habitual past is indicated most frequently by the semi-auxiliary verb used to, the auxiliary would, or the simple past tense of a verb.
We sometimes use would (rather like used to) when talking about habitual past behaviour:
- Every weekday my father would come home from work at 6pm and watch TV.
- Every summer we'd go to the seaside.
- Sometimes she'd phone me in the middle of the night.
- We would always argue. We could never agree.
You can find several discussions of this topic under this site's "past-habitual" tag.