How to Lighten Your Black Jeans

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You can use regular household bleach to lighten black denim jeans.
You can use regular household bleach to lighten black denim jeans. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Black jeans are a useful addition to any wardrobe. However, after repeated washing, the black color can begin to fade unevenly. The best solution when black jeans begin to fade unevenly is simply to wash them in your washing machine with chlorine bleach to uniformly lighten the color of your jeans. When you lighten your jeans using bleach, you can create an attractive pair of gray jeans, or even remove all of the black dye for a raw denim look.

Things You'll Need

  • Household chlorine bleach, 1 to 3 cups
  • Rubber gloves
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener (optional)

Pour one to three cups of bleach, depending upon how much color you want to remove from your jeans, into your washing machine. Pour the bleach directly into the drum of the washing machine rather than into your bleach dispenser.

Fill the washing machine with cold water according to the directions for your machine.

Set the washing machine to a medium speed cycle. Turn the washer on for about a minute and then turn it off.

Place one or two pairs of jeans in the washer drum, and submerge the jeans below the water level. Wear rubber gloves to avoid coming into contact with bleach solution.

Turn the washer on again for a minute and turn it off. Keep the washer turned off for 15 minutes, making sure that your jeans remain submerged in the water and bleach solution.

Turn the washer on again and allow it to complete a full wash cycle.

Wash the jeans again, using your regular detergent and fabric softener for a full, normal cycle wash. Allow them to drip-dry, or dry them in sunlight for additional fading effects.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may also be able to find a non-chlorine product that is sold specifically to lighten jeans. Use it according to the package instructions; it may or may not require the use of a washing machine.

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