How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

For years now the trends surrounding denim jackets and jeans have centered around looking distressed or bleached.

So when you have a wardrobe full of denim items you might wonder what you can do with them to make them trendy.

It really is very simple, all you need to do is learn how to bleach your denim goods and your wardrobe can look fresh. 

Do you like the seventies tie-dye style? Or do you prefer the two-toned look? Regardless of your tastes we are going to explore ways you can bleach your denim jackets and jeans. 

For those of you that simple want to be pointed in the right direction, the most common way people bleach their jackets and jeans is to soak them in a water and bleach solution for a few hours.

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

For this to work you will need to tape off sections of the clothing article so that you can get a really cool asymmetrical look.

If you want to create these cool patterns you can also use a spray bottle or a paint brush when you apply it to the bleach. This will work best if you want localized designs on your garment. 

In our article you will learn about the above techniques and much more in regard to bleaching denim garments. So, without further ado, let us get started!

Using Bleach Safely

When you are using bleach it is of paramount importance that you follow the correct safety precautions.

Bleach is a chemical that can cause serious damage to your eyes as well as irritating if you breathe in the fumes or if the bleach touches your skin.

Because of these reasons it is very important that you follow these guidelines so that you do not hurt yourself, or damage other people or items around you. 

Below you can see a few of the most important rules to keep in mind when you are using bleach:

  • When you are bleaching you must NOT mix your bleach with other chemicals as you may create a serious chemical disaster which will likely be far more catastrophic than any incidents you witnessed in your chemistry class experiments. 
  • When you use bleach make sure that you have protective gear on hand like goggles, plastic or rubber gloves and any clothes that you don’t mind getting ruined. The essential thing is to make sure that your skin is covered while you are using bleach. 
  • When you are using bleach it is of paramount importance that you have enough ventilation or air flow in the space you are working. This is because the fumes from bleach can be quite strong and may overwhelm you or irritate your lungs. So, make sure that the windows are open, or you have a fan on so that the air can flow in and out of the room. 
  • Before you start bleaching, it is recommended that you practice on a scrap of denim or an old pair of jeans you don’t mind ruining. This is to make sure that it gives the desired effect on the garment and to make sure that you have everything set up properly. 

Remember to be careful when you are using bleach, rather be too careful than risk hurting yourself. 

What Is The Best Way To Bleach A Denim Jacket And Jeans?

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

All you need to bleach a denim jacket or jeans is a bottle of regular household bleach and to follow our DIY methods below.

Any household bleach will fade your denim clothes to the perfect faded color your heart desires.

In fact, many of you may prefer bleaching your own clothes rather than purchasing them at your favorite store.

There is something cathartic about the process of making something. Working on a project and coming out with the product of your labors. 

Before we get into how to bleach denim garments we have a few tips you may want to keep in mind: 

  • One thing you need to keep in mind when you are getting your bleach for this project is that any regular household bleach will work. While bleach powder might work regular household bleach is better suited to this job. We recommend you use regular household bleach for this project. 
  • When you are mixing your bleach solution you will need to make sure that you are measuring equal parts water and bleach. You do not have to follow these measurements if you want  a lighter or darker fade on your denim garments. Add more or less depending on what effect you want to achieve. 
  • When you are in the process of bleaching it can be hard to if your denim garment is as light or dark your bleached areas are. Because of this you will need to make sure you allow the jacket or jeans to air dry before you decide to add another coat of bleach.

With all of this in mind, let us get into the techniques you can use in order to bleach your outdated denim jackets and jeans. 

Soaking The Garment In Bleach

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

Soaking your denim garments in a bleach solution is one of the most common methods. 

Below is a simple step-by-step guide o how you can soak your denim garments: 

Step 1 – Before you can start the process you will need to set up your workstation.  Next, make sure to add a protective layer on the floor so that nothing gets wet or damaged.

Open a window where you are working or put a fan on so that the fumes can escape.   Finally, put on your protective gear, and you will be ready to get started.

Now all you need to fill a plastic tub or your bathtub with equal parts bleach and water.

Step 2 – Now you must put your jeans or jacket in the tum, make sure to swish the water around every so often so that all the areas get exposed to the water.

Allow them to sit in the beach solution for about half an hour before you take them out, or remove it from the tub when you have achieved the desired color. 

Step 3 – Once you are happy with your jeans or jacket are the desired color you can remove them from the tub and make sure that you are wearing gloves.

Wring out the garment and take them to the washing machine so that they can dry. 

Step 4 – Your washing machine will need to be on a cold wash cycle, and you must not use any detergent otherwise the denim clothing will fade further, and may end up losing that perfect faded color. 

The great thing about this technique is that you can use it to fade only a section of your denim jacket, or you can fade the whole thing.

All you need to do is put a portion of it in the solution, and you will have a wonderful half-and-half faded denim garment.

If you would like a tie-dyed effect you can use rubber bands on your jeans or jacket and follow the same process. It really is that east!

Using A Spray Bottle To Bleach The Garment

Using the spray method is a great way to get a faded look on portions of your jacket. It also allows you to get a great splatter like effect which you will love. 

Below is a simple step-by-step guide on how you can bleach your garments using the spray bottle method. 

Step 1 – The first thing you will need is a spray bottle with a bleach and water solution. Make sure that you have your area set up properly and your garments laid out.

Of course, wear your protective gear and lay down something on the floor so that bleach and water does not get everywhere. 

Step 2 – Once you have all your safety gear and have made sure that the room is sufficiently ventilated you can mix your bleach solution.

Make sure that you are using a half-and-half solution and that you have mixed everything properly before you move on. 

Step 3 – Next, you will need to pour your solution into the spray bottle. We recommend that you use a funnel so that there are no spills and be prepared to refill the bottle several times over. 

Step 4 – Your next job is to arrange our denim jeans or jacket so that you can easily access the portions that you are planning on spraying.

For example if you just want to bleach the ends of your jeans make sure that that part is stretched out and flat before you begin. 

Step 5 – Now you can spray whatever portion you want to lighten. Have fun with the design but also be responsible while you are spraying bleach. 

Step 6 – Now that you have applied the bleach you will need to let them set for at least five minutes.

Just make sure that they do not drip everywhere, you might want to place a bucket below the garment to catch any drips. 

Step 7 – Now all that is left is to wash your jeans or jacket in a cold water wash without any detergent. Allow the garment to dry and there you have it, a beautiful faded and trendy denim garment. 

This is a great method if you want your jeans to look a bit vintage and distressed. 

Splattering Bleach On The Garment

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

The splatter method is a fun and artistic way to make your garment look fun and artsy.

If you just want a small portion of your jeans or jacket to get lightened this is a great method that should work well for you. 

Below is a simple step-by-step guide on how you can do the splatter method at home.

Step 1 – For this method it is essential that you make sure everything in the surrounding area is protected from splatter.

You will want to do this method outside or in an area that has plastic sheets everywhere otherwise you may fling bleach onto literally everything in the immediate vicinity. 

Step 2 – Once you have everything set up, and you have your protective gear on you can mix your solution together. Once again, make sure you are mixing equal parts bleach and water for this project. 

Step 3 – Your next job is to arrange your garment so that the parts you want to bleach are exposed.

If you only want to splatter the front or the back of your garment it is recommended that you stuff your jeans or jacket with newspaper so that the bleach does not leak through to the back. 

Step 4 – Get a paint brush and dip it into the bleach mixture. Now all you have to do is run your finger across the bristles so that the drops of beach splatter on your garment. 

Step 5 – Once you are done you will need to take care of cleaning up and of course wash your freshly bleached denim clothes. Make sure to put them on a cold wash and allow it to air dry. 

Using Salt While Bleaching The Garment

If you are not a fan of bleach but would like to give your denim jacket or jeans a distressed/faded look you might want to use the salt method.

It sounds weird, but salt can be abrasive and ultimately fade the fabric. 

Below you will see a guide on how you can fade your denim clothes using the salt method. 

Step 1 – The first thing you will need is a basic or a bathtub that is filled with cold water. 

Step 2 – Now, you will need two cups of salt. You can use any salt that you would prefer. 

Step 3 – Now place your denim jeans or jacket in the tub and let it sit in the salty water for about a half hour. Make sure to stir the tub every so often so that the salt can get everywhere. 

Step 4 – Now all you have to do is put your wet garments into the washing machine for a normal wash so that the salt comes out of the garment, and you should have a wonderfully subtle-looking faded denim garment. 

Using Bleach In The Washing Machine

If you don’t want to make a mess, using a washing machine to lighten your clothes is a great method to use.

The only downside is that you have less control over what parts of your garment get bleached and how light your garment gets. 

Below you can see a simple step-by-step guide on how you can do the washing machine method to bleach or fade your outdated denim garments. 

Step 1 – Before you put your denim clothes in the washing machine you will need to put a half cup of bleach into the machine. After that, add some cold water to the barrel.

Step 2 – Once you have that sorted out, place your garment inside the washing machine and lay it in the water for about a half hour. 

Step 3 – When half an hour has elapsed  you can drain the water out of the machine and then put the machine on a cool wash. Do not add detergent to the wash.  

Step 4 – Now all that is left is to allow your denim garment to air dry. If it is not as light, or you would like to follow these steps again if the color of your jeans is not exactly what you want. 

How Do You Bleach A Pair Of Jeans Stark White? 

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

The best way to get your jeans to be completely white is to soak your denim in bleach water for longer than the prescribed time mentioned above. 

But, it is not that simple. To remove all color from an already dyed garment is actually quite tricky.

While you can lighten a pair of jeans quite easily it is an entirely different kettle of fish if you want to bleach your garment until it’s stark white. 

The best you can really do is to soak your jeans until they lose their color. Just make sure to swish your jeans around every so often so that the bleach evenly fades your jeans all over. 

If you already have a pair of white jeans, and you have noticed that they are turning an unsightly yellow, don’t worry, there is an easy fix.

All you need to do is soak them in a basin of baking soda and water. This should get rid of any mineral deposits that have formed on your clothes and make them wonderfully white again. 

Once you have bleached your jeans and are satisfied with the color you can then wash your jeans on a cold wash and allow them to air dry. 

How Long Does Bleaching Take?

Bleach takes anywhere between 15 minutes to several hours depending on the type of fabric you are trying to bleach.

It also depends on how much dye is present in the item you are bleaching. It is also dependent on what color you want your jeans to be at the end of this process.

The lighter you want them the longer it will take for the process to complete. 

The longer your garment in bleach the more color will fade out o the garment.

The issue with leaving your garment in bleach for too long is that it will start to eat away at the fibers in your material will become weak. 

The best thing you can do is to test out different methods of samples of fabric or even cheap jeans you have picked up at a thrift store.

By testing out your timing and your methods you can get a better idea of how long it will take for you to achieve the color or design you are aiming for without damaging the denim. 

If you want to bleach a more delicate fabric on, for example, a pair of stretch jeans you can simply use a solution that has more water in it. 

Bleach is very corrosive and will erode synthetic fibers in fabric. In particular, stretch jeans will become weaker and even lose their ability to recover from stretching.

How Do You Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Fade Jeans?

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

If you want to fade your jeans using hydrogen peroxide you may find that you will have an easier time achieving your faded jeans look. On top of that this is a much safer method to use. 

You will need the following items before you start: 

  • Thermometer
  • Large Pot
  • Stove Top
  • Soda Ash
  • White Vinegar
  • Synthrapol
  • 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

You should be able to acquire all of these items quite easily. You can order them online or simply visit your local Dollar Store or Walmart. 

This method does require a lot of stuff to do, and it is a little more involved than the other methods we have talked about today.

It is highly recommended that you use rubber gloves and protective eyewear while you are using hydrogen peroxide to bleach your jeans. 

Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can bleach jeans using this method. 

Step 1 – Before you do anything else you will need to weigh your jeans when they are dry. Make sure to note down the weight in pounds before you move on to step two. 

Step 2 – Now, add half a teaspoon of soda ash and half a spoon of synthrapol for every pound of your jeans. Put your jeans and these ingredients to the side before you move on to the next step. 

Step 3 – Place a large pot on the stove and fill it with water. The pot should be large enough to put your leans in and submerge them fully.

Now, wait for the water to boil. Once it has reached about 140 degrees Fahrenheit you can move on to step four. 

Step 4 – Add your soda ash and synthrapol to the water and stir it in until it has completely dissolved. 

Step 5 – Place your jeans into the water, be careful not to splash hot water onto your skin.

When they are submerged carefully stir them into the water so that they are completely waterlogged.

Once your jeans have been soaked you can take your pot to the sink and tip the water out. Make sure that you rinse the jeans under the tap thoroughly before you move on. 

Step 6 – Now, refill the pot with cold water and put about six pints of hydrogen peroxide in the water, followed by about seven tablespoons of soda ash and one teaspoon of synthrapol.

Place the pot on the stove and allow the water to boil again. 

Step 7 – Before you put your jeans in the water you must make sure to turn the heat off. Completely submerge your jeans and leave them in the water for sixteen to twenty-four hours. 

Step 8 – After this time has elapsed drain the pot and rinse your jeans well before you move onto step nine. 

Step 9 – Fill your pot up with water again and add in about eleven tablespoons of distilled vinegar. You will need at least eleven tablespoons for every gallon of water that is in your pot. 

Step 10 – Place your jeans in the mixture and allow it to soak for about ten minutes. Once this time has elapsed you can wring out the jeans and toss them in the washer on a cool water cycle. 

This method requires a lot of time, if you would rather use a quicker method of bleaching your jeans we would not blame you.

But, using this technique does leave you with a particularly striking pair of washed out jeans that just scream vintage. 

Is It Possible To Bleach Stretch Jeans? 

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

Stretch jeans can be bleached, the only issues with subjecting this particular material to bleach is that you are very likely to lose elasticity.

You may need to use less bleach and only dye expose your stretch jeans to bleach for a short amount of time.

It is recommended that you use hydrogen peroxide to lighten or face your jeans instead as it is safer and less likely to damage the fibers in your jeans.

The majority of jeans today contain some synthetic fibers. In particular, they have a tendency to have Lycra or spandex fibers within the fabric.

We all love our skinny jeans it is because of this blend that we can actually fit in them. 

Sadly the fibers from fibers like Lycra and spandex are extremely susceptible to damage from bleach and exposure for too long will mean that your jeans will lose their ability to be stretchy.

In fact fabric that is made using synthetic fibers like this can even have holes eaten through the fabric as a result of bleach. 

With all of this in mind, you can actually use bleach on garments like this if you are careful.

You will need to make sure that you are using less bleach in your solution, and you must not allow the fabric to sit in your solution for long periods of time.

If you do not follow these guidelines then there is a great chance that you could end up damaging your garment. 

It is important that you wear gloves when handling any chemical solutions such as bleach. Wear rubber gloves, cotton gloves or latex gloves depending on what type of chemicals you are working with. 

How Do You Bleach Just One Leg Of Your Jeans? 

Two toned jeans are very fashionable at the moment. If you love the look of these fun retro jeans you are probably keen to learn how you can achieve this look. 

Well, the main thing you need to keep in mind when you are trying to achieve this look is the fact that you will need to make sure any areas you are NOT planning on bleaching are properly sealed off and do not come in contact with the bleach.

It is recommended that you use duct tape, contact paper, garbage bags or packing tape to do this.

So, if you want to create that famous one leg black and one leg white look you might want to put the side you do not want died in a plastic bag and seal the opening using tape.

If you want to get really artsy you could even use tape to seal off smaller portions of your jeans like the pockets to create killer contrast.

The main thing you have to remember is that your sealing needs to be perfect so that no bleach bleeds into the side you don’t want bleached. 

Before you start bleaching you will need to make sure that your sealed off areas are crisp and neat otherwise your project may go south fast.

Once you are satisfied, you will need a spray bottle and your bleach solution for the best results.

This is because if you soak the jeans you might end up dissolving the glue and everything you are trying to achieve will amount to nothing. 

Is It Possible To Bleach Black Jeans?

How To Bleach Denim Jeans And Jacket

Yes, but only if you know what you are doing. Unfortunately, many people mess around with the process of bleaching clothing and find out that it’s just not possible.

This is due to the fact that most fabrics used in clothing today are made from natural materials like cotton.

Cotton does not hold dye well and instead leaches color onto other material.

So, unless you are willing to pay the price of having your clothes ruined by dyeing them yourself, you should avoid bleaching your clothing.

What Should You Avoid When You Are Bleaching Jeans?

Now that you have learned just about everything you need to know about bleaching jeans, there are a few pieces of advice that we recommend you follow if you don’t want to have any accidents or mess up your favorite pair of jeans. 

  • It is not recommended that you use concentrated bleach. It can easily corrode the fibers and event eh metal parts of your jeans. 
  • Do not leave your jeans sitting in the bleach solution for extended periods of time as this may result in weakened fibers and holes in the fabric. 
  • Do not be lazy, cutting corners when you are preparing to bleach will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. 
  • Before you put your newly bleached denim garment in the dryer you will need to make sure that it has sufficiently air dried. This process stops the bleached areas from turning yellow.
  • Wear protective gear. You will thank us later when you see just how easily bleach can splash onto your skin or in your eyes. 

How Do You Care For Bleached Jeans?

After you have finished bleaching your jeans, they should be stored away in an area where they are protected from direct sunlight.

They will also need to be kept clean and free of dirt and dust. It’s important to note that while bleached jeans are usually very durable and strong, they still need regular care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have answered several of the most frequently asked questions concerning bleaching denim jeans and jackets. So, without further ado, let us get started. 

Can You Leave Jeans In Bleach Overnight?

Yes you can. If you want to lighten very dark jeans or if you want to bleach a garment until it is stark white you can leave them to soak in bleach overnight.

This does mean that you will not be there to stir the fabric, and you may end up with uneven bleaching.

On top of that, prolonged exposure to bleach will severely weaken the fibers in your denim which could leave you with very fragile jeans that will not last you a long time. 

Why Do Your Jeans Turn Yellow When Bleached?

You are probably asking yourself why your jeans turn yellow when bleached.

First you must understand that the reason your jeans go yellow is that the dyes in the denim actually leech into the white cloth and change its original color.

So when you bleach your jeans they will still look like they were dyed, but the colors will all be diluted down making the garments appear whiter. 

When washing your jeans after they have been bleached you should make sure that you cleanse them thoroughly so that the bleached chemicals don’t seep back into the denim.

Also, dry your jeans immediately after washing as wet denim can cause fading.

I Want To Bleach My Jeans Until They Are White How Long Will It Take?

It depends on how much bleach you apply. A typical bottle of laundry detergent contains about one cup of liquid per load.

The amount of bleach you buy also affects the length of time it takes to bleach your jeans.

For instance, if you purchase a large box of bleach you may need to wash the jeans multiple times before they are completely bleached.

To avoid this, try using smaller bottles of bleach (about half a cup) and see how many times it takes to get the desired effect.

How Can You Fade Jeans Without Bleach?

There are several ways you can fade jeans without bleach. As mentioned above, the best way to do this is by soaking the jeans in soda ash.

Soda ash changes the color of natural fabrics such as cotton by removing the lignin, a compound found in plants and wood.

Lignin stains our clothes and makes them appear faded. It’s important to note that soda ash works only on natural fiber materials and will not affect synthetics.

Another method used to fade jeans is to use hydrogen peroxide. Although hydrogen peroxide is effective at fading jeans, it is extremely dangerous and should never be left unattended.

Hydrogen peroxide has no smell, and it is possible to use it safely with little risk of harm. However, we recommend against doing so since it can damage silk shirts and other delicate items.

The last method is to simply wear out some color from your jeans. Over time, repeated wearing will gradually remove the colored portions of your jeans leaving behind the white base.

This process can take weeks or months depending on the number of washes you perform.

Why Is Bleach Not Working On Your Jeans?

If you’ve tried washing your jeans in bleach for hours, and they still seem to be fading then there is something else going on. There are two main reasons for this: 1.

The type of dye in your jeans may not respond well to bleach; 2. Maybe your jeans already contain an anti-fading agent which prevents the bleach from working properly.

Here are three different types of dyes commonly used in jeans:

1. Acid Dye – These dyes are usually derived from coal tar or petroleum products.

When exposed to heat and light these dyes produce acid compounds that react with the fabric fibers causing them to darken.

Most acid dyes are very strong and will require more than one application of bleach to achieve the desired results.

Some acid dyes also contain iron oxide that binds with the bleach molecules preventing them from reaching the dyed areas of your jeans.

2. Direct Dye – These dyes are typically made from synthetic dyes based on pyridine, quinoline, indigo, etc.

These dyes have less affinity for the fibers and therefore don’t cause as much discoloration when applied directly to the denim material.

They also tend to fade faster than acid dyes. In order to prevent direct dyes from fading, manufacturers often add stabilizers like antioxidants to their dyes.

Unfortunately, these stabilizers make it difficult for the bleach to penetrate the dyed area.

3. Vat Dye – Vat dyes are created using chemical processes similar to those used in making latex paint.

Unlike acids and direct dyes, vat dyes cannot be washed off the fibers because they are covalently bound to the surface of the fibers.

They must instead be removed chemically using solvents like acetone. To prevent the vat dyes from reacting with the bleach, you’ll need to soak the jeans in acetone first.

If you try to wash the jeans while they’re wet with acetone, the acetone will act as a mild solvent and dissolve the vat dyes before the bleach can reach them.

In addition to acid dye and vat dye, there are also a variety of dyes used to create specialty effects like metallic highlights, fading, and even water-based paints.

All of these dyes work differently and each requires its own special treatment. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, if you are planning on bleaching your jeans it is important to have fun with the designs and of course take extreme caution so that you do not hurt yourself in the process. 

Amanda Brown

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