How can I lighten or fade blue jeans without using bleach?
April 22, 2007 10:32 PM   Subscribe

How can I lighten or fade blue jeans without using bleach?

I own three pairs of similarly colored blue jeans from AĆ©ropostale and I'd like to add variety to my wardrobe by lightening a couple pairs. I'm trying to avoid bleach because it's corrosive and I'm afraid it'll turn the jeans orange. I've tried using Rit Color Remover and Rit Whitener & Brightener but neither had an effect. Apparently, a product called Rit Fast Fade used to exist but is no longer with us. What should I do?
posted by macadamia to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wash in hot water.

Put them in the dryer.

Leave them out in the sun.

Rub them with sandpaper.
posted by catburger at 10:55 PM on April 22, 2007

I've lightened jeans with bleach before, and they came out very well. I'd be afraid I'd do more damage with the sandpaper.

You might try putting them in the washer and adding just a little bleach in the first cycle. Then wash again with more bleach until you reach the desired shade.
posted by laskagirl at 1:06 AM on April 23, 2007

The jacket I washed with bleach came out sort of a light blue. Hey, it was the 80s and that was in. ;o)
posted by laskagirl at 1:07 AM on April 23, 2007

sandpaper? that seems like it would kill the fabric.

read this and this
posted by goldism at 4:07 AM on April 23, 2007

You probably need an enzyme wash like Denilite by Novozymes.

Can't seem to find a domestic version though.
posted by brautigan at 5:25 AM on April 23, 2007

don't sandpaper it
posted by matteo at 5:29 AM on April 23, 2007

Anything that will change the color of your pants is corrosive. Orange juice is corrosive.

I suggest you take a drop of diluted bleach and try it on the inside hem of the left leg of one pair. That way, you will know conclusively what bleach will do, without visible damage.

If you like the results, wash them with dilute bleach, possibly several times, until you get the result you want.

Otherwise, sunshine is your best option.
posted by fake at 5:29 AM on April 23, 2007

Hydrogen peroxide turns things white - I did a google search to see whether people are using it to whiten fabric, and apparently it's the active ingredient in "oxygen bleaches". I guess you could try just washing your jeans in it (you'd need a greater concentration than with regular bleach).

Here's a link I found.
posted by amtho at 5:49 AM on April 23, 2007

It might be worth asking for tips on the Superfuture denim forum.
posted by jack_mo at 6:32 AM on April 23, 2007

To stop chlorine bleach from eating your jeans away, once you've obtained the desired color, rinse them in water and then use Anti-chlor (sodium metabisulfite) to neutralize the hypochlorite in the bleach. You can order this from a dye supplier, or find it (or potassium bisulfite) at a photography or winemaker supply store.
posted by Ery at 12:49 PM on July 18, 2007

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