How To Stone Wash Jeans

Are you looking for instructions for how to stone wash jeans?  The stone washed denim look of the 1980’s has reappeared on the fashion scene.  As the name implies, clothing manufacturers historically achieved the stone washed, distressed look of jeans, skirts and other products by washing the new denim fabric with pumice stones in large capacity, industrial washing machines.  Today manufacturers also use a variety of chemical treatments to yield stone washed denim, and then sell the popular products with hefty price tags to fashion loving buyers!  Instead of shelling out the cash for new, distressed jeans, denim lovers can stone wash any denim from the closet, without chemicals or industrial washing machines, with a few simple materials and a little elbow grease.

 Materials Needed to Stone Wash Jeans

  • A Pair of Denim Jeans
  • A Large Bucket (large enough to submerse the chosen jeans in water)
  • 1 ½  C. Table Salt
  • Water
  • 2 Pumice Stones or 1 Package Sand Paper, 30-50 grit
  • Sunlight
  • Washing Machine
  • Laundry Detergent
  1. Soften the jeans' denim fabric in salt water. Choose a pair of jeans that is still sturdy enough to withstand scrubbing with the abrasive sandpaper or pumice stones. Fill the large bucket approximately half full of water, add the table salt and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the jeans to the bucket and submerse in the salt water solution. Allow the jeans to soak in the salt water solution for two to three days.
  2. Wring out the salt water. Twist and wring out the salty solution from the denim—but, do not rinse the jeans.
  3. Stress the denim with the abrasive pumice stones or sandpaper. In a vertical, or lengthwise, motion, scrub the denim with the stones or sandpaper to remove the surface coloring of the softened denim. Remember that jeans naturally become distressed in the knees, seat, and thigh areas—so, take care to put a little extra work into those areas to achieve a more realistic worn appearance.
  4. Dry the denim in the sun. Hang the jeans to dry in bright sunlight for several hours until dried completely.
  5. Wash and dry the jeans as normal. Using your normal laundry methods and washing machine, launder the jeans with your favorite detergent as usual.
  6. Inspect the final stone washed denim appearance. If this is your first time applying a stone washed look to denim, you may need to tweak the techniques used. If the final look is not quite right, simply repeat the steps listed until the desired affect is achieved.
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