Fade Jeans Like a Pro: 4 Tried-and-Tested Methods

Looking to fade jeans like a pro? Hey there, denim lovers! Who doesn't adore a perfectly faded pair of jeans? The great news is that this trend is here to stay, and you don't have to break the bank to get that effortlessly cool look. Believe it or not, you can actually fade your own jeans at home!

But we know what you're thinking - where do you even begin? Don't worry, we've got you covered! We've researched several tried-and-tested methods to help you achieve that coveted distressed look. So, whether you want to revamp an old pair of jeans or add some personality to a new one, we've got all the tips and tricks you need.

So, sit back, relax, and get ready to dive into the world of denim customization. By the end of this post, you'll be a pro at fading your own jeans!

There are a few different methods that you can use to fade jeans. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Bleach
  2. Table Salt
  3. Lemon Juice
  4. Sandpaper

Fading your jeans can be an involved DIY project or a quick project that you can complete within 15 to 20 minutes. It really depends on the approach that you want to use. Before fading your jeans, it's important to determine the extent of the fade that you want. Do you want to fade to be extremely light? Or do you want to have a few light spots here and there? It's good to have an idea of how you want your jeans to look ahead of time. Continue reading to learn how to get the perfect fade on your jeans.

Pile of Blue Jeans in Various Washes and Styles. 4 Methods To Fade Jeans

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Best Methods To Fade Jeans

faded denim jeans for males


If you have worked with bleach before in some capacity, you should be familiar with its fast-acting properties. Bleach is one of the quickest ways that you can fade jeans. Here's how to use it.

Things you'll need for these methods:

  • Bucket
  • Concentrated lemon juice
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Stirring utensil
  • Newspapers
  • Drop cloths or tarps
  • Liquid bleach (preferably Clorox)
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Laundry detergent

1. Gather your materials

Start by laying down drop cloths or tarps around your workstation. It's also helpful to wear plastic gloves to protect your hands from the bleaching solution. Remember that bleach can burn and irritate your skin, so it's best also to wear long sleeves if possible.

2. Prepare your solution

Take your 5-gallon bucket and pour 3 gallons of warm water into it. Next, take your bleach and pour one cup into the bucket. If you want the jeans to be darker, use less bleach and more water. It may be best to start with a half cup of bleach so that you may first monitor the speed at which your jeans will fade.

Find bleach on Amazon.

3. Soak the jeans

Toss your jeans in the diluted bleach solution and make sure that they are completely submerged. Try to remove any bends and kinks in the jeans so that the solution covers every part of the material. You don't want the ending result to be blotchy.

If you have jeans on the larger side or are fading multiple jeans at once, ditch the five-gallon bucket and toss the jeans in your bathtub. Be sure to clean your bathtub thoroughly beforehand. Lay the jeans down flat so that they cover the length of the tub. If you are fading multiple jeans, try not to lay them directly on top of each other but rather to the side of each other.

Click here to find a 5-gallon bucket on Amazon,

4. Set a timer

Set a timer for the jeans to about 15 to 20 minutes. It also helps monitor the jeans about every five minutes to ensure that they don't become too light for your liking. Remove the jeans after they have reached your preferred shade. Keep in mind that the jeans will look a bit darker while they are still wet.

5. Rinse the jeans

Run jeans under cold water to rinse off all of the bleach solution.

6. Wash the jeans

Next, throw the jeans in the washer with a small amount of detergent and set it on a cold cycle. You can air-dry the jeans or throw them in the dryer for about 30 minutes. When you remove the jeans, they should be a few shades lighter.

Table Salt

If you are looking for a safer method to fade jeans, salt is the way to go. Let's take a look at how to use it to make your jeans a little lighter.

1. Prepare your solution

For this method, you can use your 5-gallon bucket or your bathtub. Start by pouring 3 or 4 gallons of water into the bucket or the tub and combine it with 3 cups of table salt. Use your hand to mix the salt into the water so that it dissolves-be sure to use warm water. If you want your jeans to have a super light fade, add an extra 1/2 cup of salt.

Click here to find table salt on Amazon.

2. Submerge the jeans in the solution

Place the jeans in the solution and make sure that they are completely submerged. If you're placing the jeans in the tub, lay them flat.

3. Set a timer

Set your timer to note the removal time. This solution will take a bit longer than some of the other methods, so set a timer to 48 hours from when you set the jeans in this solution. It's also helpful to agitate the jeans every few hours or so.

4. Dry the jeans

Remove the jeans from the saltwater solution once they have reached your desired fade look. You can hang the jeans up to dry or throw them in the washer for about 20 to 30 minutes. If the jeans are not wide enough, repeat the previous steps as many times as needed until they are. You can also rub sandpaper on the areas where you want a lighter faded look.

Lemon Juice

1. Prepare the solution

Start by gathering all of your ingredients and materials and place them in the bathroom. For this method, it's best to use a 5-gallon bucket, as you will need a lot of lemon juice to fill a bathtub. Fill the 5-gallon bucket with lemon juice. Pour an equal amount of water into the bucket. Keep in mind that depending on the jeans' size, you would need at least a couple of gallons of lemon juice.

Find lemon juice on Amazon.

2. Soak The jeans

Place your jeans in the lemon juice solution and make sure that it touches every inch of the jeans so that the color will be even. Keep in mind that this bleaching process can take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours, so you may want to set a timer for every 2 hours and check on the jeans. When you check on the jeans, gently agitate them with your hands to ensure full and even coverage of the solution.

3. Dry the jeans

After you rinse the jeans, dry them outside in a sunny area. This step is imperative to the fading process as the sunlight will activate the lemon juice's bleaching properties. Let the jeans sit out in the sun for about three to six hours or until they reach the desired fade that you're looking for.

Sandpaper To Fade Jeans

This method is perfect if you are only looking to fade specific areas of your jeans. Using sandpaper is also safer than any of the other methods, as you have complete control over the areas that will be lightened, and you don't need to use any harmful chemicals to do it. Let's look at how to do it.

1. Gather your materials

Start by taking your sandpaper and cutting it so that it is small enough to apply to the jeans. You can also fold it over until it fits the palm of your hand. Next, lay the jeans on a flat surface. It could be a counter or on the floor, so long as it is a hard surface.

Click here to get sandpaper on Amazon.

2. Sand the jeans

Next, take your sandpaper, and while holding it firmly in your hand, rub it on the areas of the jeans you want to fade. It's best to do a quick test area on an inside pocket. This will show you how fast the fading action will take place with that particular grit of sandpaper.

Next, rub the sandpaper back and forth over the area that you want to fade. Be sure to apply steady even pressure without going overboard-- you don't want to tear the jeans with the paper. When you reach the desired fade that you were looking for, repeat the sanding process on any other areas you want to fade.

3. Wash the jeans

Toss jeans in the washer to get rid of the grid from the sandpaper. This will also help to remove any extra fibers or dye that may have rubbed off. After you remove the jeans from the washer, you can dry them in a tumbler dryer for 20 to 30 minutes or let them hang dry.

Do All Jeans Fade?

faded denim cloth close up

Yes. Most jeans, whether they are pre-washed or not, will fade to some degree. That being stated, you will find some jeans that are better at holding their color than other jeans brands. One tip that you can use to minimize the extent to which your jeans fade is always to wash them in cold water. Hot water rinses the dye off of your jeans faster than cold water does. You'll also want to cut back on the amount of detergent you use, or perhaps consider one with a color guard.

Do Prewashed Jeans Fade?

Many people purchase pre-washed jeans because of their distressed look. The process of pre-washing jeans can minimize the amount of fading that the jeans undergo. However, it does not mean that the jeans will never fade. Pre-washed jeans may fade minimally. They'll typically take a longer time to fade than raw denim materials.

How Long Does It Take For Jeans To Fade?

If you wear your jeans anywhere from 5 to 12 times a month and wash them frequently, the chances are that they will begin to fade anywhere from 8 to 12 months. Washing your jeans less often can help minimize the extent to which they'll fade.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has provided you with the methods you were looking to fade jeans at home. Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

How To Wear A Crop Top With Jeans?

What Color Sneakers Go With Blue Jeans?

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