How do I Make Acid Wash Jeans?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Making acid wash jeans is relatively straightforward, but it does involve some chemicals, so caution must be used. Acid wash jeans, which are jeans that have had some pigment removed, revealing a different color, are made in several different ways, but all involve chemicals. Some people simply apply bleach to the clothes, but others choose to use stones to change the way the bleach touches the fabric. Different techniques will result in minor variations, but the basic effect will usually be similar. It is important to note that not all jeans will acid wash in the same way, and the revealed color is not always white.

The first step to making acid wash jeans is getting set up. You should wear clothing that you do not mind ruining, as well as gloves to protect your hands. This project is best done in a bathroom or other area where the bleach cannot damage anything and where there is easy access to water.


You must get the jeans wet before bleaching them, which is usually accomplished by soaking the jeans in a bathtub. Next, you must apply the bleach liberally to the jeans. Some people soak the jeans in bleach in a bucket for a short period of time, but this will usually result in too much loss of color for the desired effect. Scrunching up the jeans in a fashion similar to the preparations for tie-dye will often help randomly distribute the bleach better if a bucket method must be used. Spraying the jeans with bleach in a random pattern can also be effective.

Some people choose to further distress the jeans by rubbing them with stones while the bleach is on the fabric. This results in a style similar to stone washing. True stone washing involves putting pumice stones that have been soaked in bleach in a washing machine with the jeans, allowing the movement of the machine to randomly distress the jeans. Putting stones in a home washing machine will likely destroy the machine, so this is not a recommended method.

Acid wash jeans are usually made out of blue denim jeans, but other colors will work as well. The difference is that not all jeans will bleach white in the same way blue acid wash jeans will. Black jeans, for example, often turn orange when exposed to bleach. This can be used in combination with dyes to create very unique acid washing effects, or you can simply test a spot on the fabric prior to bleaching it completely to ensure that the revealed color will be desirable.


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Post 2

When acid washing jeans, it is best to use latex or rubber gloves. They are less bulky than other types of gloves, which will allow you to easily work with the material while protecting your hands from irritations and dyes.

Post 1

A good tip to follow to get a neat color pattern on acid washed jeans is to use rubber bands. All you have to do is take several of them and twist them around bunched-up sections of the jeans. You can use as many or as few as you like, depending on the pattern you want.

Next, soak your jeans in the bleach solution or dye, depending on the effect you want. Rinse them thoroughly before removing the rubber bands. When you do, you will see the pattern you created. Finally, rinse the jeans one more time to remove all of the bleach or dye.

The interesting thing about using this method to acid wash jeans is that each time you do it, you will end up with a different and unique pattern. It is a great way to make many customized pairs of jeans.

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