How To Make Acid Wash Jeans

Learn how to make acid wash jeans yourself and experience the magic of the '80s. Acid wash jeans were popular along with big hair. Big hair is gone, but the popularity of the vintage jeans has come back. Acid washing jeans meant using chemical to strip the color off of the top layer and leave the white of the fabric exposed giving it a faded look. Some jeans were faded all over and others were made to look splotchy. You can use any color denim jeans to get the result, but navy is the most popular choice to work with. It is possible to make acid wash jeans in your home using things you may already have.

Items needed:

  • Denim Jeans
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Laundry Bleach
  • Spray Bottle
  • Pumice Stones – like you use for a pedicure
  • Sodium bisulfate (optional)
  1. Soak the pumice stones in the bleach overnight. The bleach will be absorbed into the stone. Wear old clothes and rubber gloves while handling the bleach. Make sure you have a well-ventilated area to work in.
  2. Mix two parts bleach with one part water in a spray bottle. Randomly spray the pants where you want the acid wash look to appear. Soaking the jeans completely will give you an overall faded look while just working on certain areas will give you the splotchy look.
  3. Take the bleach soaked pumice stone and scrub on the area of the jeans that you choose.  Try different effects. You may want to spray the jeans around the legs, but use the pumice stones on the rear end of the jeans to give them a worn aged look. Get creative and none of your acid wash jeans will look the same.
  4. Allow the pants to sit for ten to fifteen minutes and watch the jeans begin to fade. The longer you let them sit, the lighter they will get. However, it is very important not to leave the bleach on for more then twenty minutes. The bleach will begin to eat away at the denim fabric and ruin your jeans.
  5. Set the washer for a small load and fill with water. Add a tablespoon of sodium bisulfate. This will remove the extra bleach from the pants and allow you to wash them with other clothes. If you do not have sodium bisulfate, wash your jeans several times by themselves or only with other clothes you do not mind getting bleached.
  6. Dry the acid wash jeans in the dryer as normal. If you want them to shrink, leave them in the dryer until they are completely dry. If you do not want them to shrink, take them out while they are slightly damp and hang them to dry the rest of the way.


  • Experiment with an old pair of jeans first before trying the process on your favorite pair.
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