A pair of diy bleach jeans on a table

How To Bleach Your Jeans

There are SO many ways to upcycle an old pair of jeans, but bleaching them might just be our new favorite. We LOVE the look of bleached denim. Whether you dip dye, tie dye, or bleach half of your jeans for a two-toned look, they are sure to feel like a whole new pair. The best part? DIY bleached jeans is one of the easier DIY projects out there since it doesn’t require any sewing. So… whether you thrift a new pair of jeans and want to customize them OR want to give an old pair a new look, we’ve got you covered.

What You’ll Need

Here are the supplies you need to bleach your jeans:

  • Bleach: Liquid bleach is ideal for this project as it will result in a more even color.
  • Bucket: You need a large container to mix your bleach solution. If you plan to dye the entire pair of jeans, ensure your bucket is large enough to fit them inside.
  • Jeans: Grab a pair of jeans to bleach. Dark blue jeans will result in the most drastic transformation and will turn white. Black jeans will turn a shade of reddish-brown, rather than white, so keep that in mind when selecting a pair.
  • Measuring cup: You will need a measuring cup in order to measure one cup of bleach for your solution.
  • Newspaper, cardboard, or tablecloth: Lay something down on your work surface to protect it from the bleach.
  • Rubber gloves: It is essential to protect your skin when working with bleach, so make sure to wear gloves. You can also wear a mask to ensure you don’t breathe in any fumes.
  • Spray bottle, sponge, and paintbrush: If you plan to bleach certain sections of your jeans, use a spray bottle, sponge, and paintbrush to control the application.
  • Tape or rubber bands: Use either packing tape or rubber bands to section off the parts of the jeans you don’t want to dye. If you plan to dye the entire pair, or dip dye them, you don’t need these items.
  • Water: You need one gallon of water for your bleach solution.

How To Bleach Your Jeans in 8 Steps

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to give your jeans a whole new look.

1. Gather your supplies

Place all of your supplies near your workstation and protect your work surface. Newspapers, flattened cardboard boxes, or plastic tablecloths work well for this. Also, make sure to wear gloves and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or bleached (an old white t-shirt works perfectly!).

2. Decide what you want your jeans to look like

Your ideal end result will impact the way you dye your jeans, so decide how you want them to look. Do you want to bleach the entire pair? Or, do you want to bleach certain sections? If you only want part of the jeans to be bleached, decide if you want them to be tie dyed, dip dyed, or have a color block pattern.

3. Prepare your jeans

Now that you know how you want them to look, use tape or rubber bands to prepare them accordingly. If you want to bleach the entire pair, skip this step.

    • Dip dye: Use tape to section off the bottom of your jeans wherever you want the bleach to stop. If you want a more organic look, skip this step.
    • Tie dye: Bunch your denim jeans into a ball and use rubber bands to secure it. Cross the rubber bands in an “x” pattern. The more rubber bands you use, and the smaller the sections are, the more bleached your jeans will look.
    • Color block: Use tape to cover the sections you don’t want to bleach. This will act as a stencil while you bleach the other parts of the jeans. 

4. Mix bleach and water

Mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of cold water in your bucket. 

5. Apply the bleach solution

  • Full dye: Submerge the jeans in the bleach solution completely.
  • Dip dye: Submerge the bottom of the jeans in the bleach solution.
  • Tie dye: Fill the spray bottle with the bleach solution and spray every other section of the rubber-banded ball.
  • Color block: Use the spray bottle or sponge to carefully spray the sections that are not covered in tape. To achieve clean lines, use the paintbrush to carefully apply bleach to the edges of each section.

6. Let the bleach sit

Check in on your jeans every couple of minutes until they have achieved the color you’re looking for. If you applied the bleach with a spray bottle, you may need to spray another layer of the solution.

7. Rinse and let air dry

When the jeans have reached your desired color, rinse them to stop the bleaching process and let them air dry.

8. Wash and wear!

Wash your jeans in the washing machine to remove any remaining bleach that could irritate your skin. Then they are ready to wear!

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