The faded jean look is a fashion trend that many seek to follow. Store-bought faded jeans are different from traditional faded jeans in the technique used in fading. Chemical fading can shorten the lifespan of blue jeans, but it also allows for a quicker fade, which is important for fashion trends. Pre-faded jeans are generally more expensive, but there are techniques to fade jeans at home as well.
Natural Gentile Fade
Unwashed true denim makes for the best fading. Avoid washing the denim after purchase for as long as possible. The blue dye will gradually and naturally wear off in crests and ridges of the jeans, creating a worn in look. When the jeans are finally washed, the fade from the washing machine will be minimal. Hang dry, rather than machine dry, for best results. The heat from a dryer causes the jean to break down faster. This process ensures the only fading is from everyday wear. Gentle fading techniques will greatly expand the life of jeans.
Bleach Wash Out
This technique speaks to those who wish to quickly fade their jeans and are not concerned with the longevity of the jean's life. Bleaching works best on worn and pre-washed jeans. Since many new jeans contain starch, washing them removes the starch and prevents browning. Look at the label before bleaching a new pair. Mix one quart of bleach in the washing machine and let the machine fill with water. Do not wash the jeans, but let them soak in the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes or until the desired fade is achieved, then rinse with a fabric softener.
Another technique for fading jeans is using lemon juice. Since no chemicals are involved, the process is much safer than using bleach, although the process takes more time. To fade, soak jeans in water and then wring them out. Then place the jeans in a bucket filled with a quart of lemon juice. Keep jeans soaking in the juice for several hours or until desired fade is achieved. Hang dry the jeans and follow up by rinsing them with water. This technique can be repeated as many times as necessary and will result in faded and worn looking jeans.
Chemical and Professional Faders
A final technique for fading jeans is to purchase a chemical and professional fade dye. These work best when attempting to fade specific areas, although they are generally more expensive than the above techniques. Note that the fading achieved from these chemicals may sometimes simply be a dye rather than true fading. When using these products, always wear gloves and avoid skin contact.