How to Acid Wash Denim

Knowing how to acid wash denim can allow you to create some trendy jeans or skirt at very little cost. What goes around comes around, and acid wash jeans (white hot in the 1980s) are back again. Get fashion forward on the cheap.

How To Acid Wash Denim Quickly

Acid wash jeans are created by exposing the denim material to a chemical process that strips away much of the indigo dye, leaving the pants a much lighter color. Although early acid wash denim featured a mostly uniform color, today's styles tend to be more random with an almost tie-dyed look. Getting started is easy with a little help:

  • What you'll need. You'll need a few supplies to get started, including: Some garments to acid wash (jeans are a natural, but don't forget denim skirts and shorts), heavy rubber gloves, old clothes (in case of splashing or over-spray) and household bleach.
  • Getting ready. Set up a work area in a spot where a bleach spill won't ruin your day. Avoid carpeted areas or areas near furniture-your laundry room or out on the driveway are both good choices.
  • You're all wet. To begin, soak your garment in water until it is thoroughly wet. Wring the garment out to remove excess moisture, but make sure it stays damp.
  • Think fast! To acid wash your denim garment; you'll be using bleach. Work quickly, as the bleach will damage the fabric if it's left on too long. Try to finish the bleach portion of the project in less than 10 minutes.
  • Get bleachy. For a uniform look, dunk your entire garment in bleach-wearing rubber gloves, of course! For a more random look, bunch the garment into a wad and tie it with a bit of leftover rope or string and then dunk the garment in bleach. For a random look with more control, lay the garment out and splash bleach haphazardly over the garment. Next, spread the bleach over the garment with a sponge.
  • Wash and dry. When you've finished spreading the bleach, let it sit for a minute or two, but no longer than 10 minutes total. Wash and dry the garment as you normally would.
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