How many times have you gone into a store to purchase a new pair of jeans and been amazed at the prices. The least costly ones usually start at about $8 and are unprocessed denim that is hard as a piece of cardboard and also not as attractive but as you go up in price you have to wonder if some of these companies are buying jeans out of the garbage and reselling them.
If you like the prewashed look where the color of the jean goes from a deep indigo to a lighter blue color then you can save anywhere from 50% to 3 or 4 times the price by prewashing your jeans yourself. You also get to pick the color of the fade and the process only takes about an hour so its really not much work.
This process will work with any type of unwashed denim jeans or jackets but it is best that you test your work on one or two pairs before you fill your washer with a load of new jeans and endup with a color that is too light.
Unfortunately the stone washing process that uses pumice rock and acid washing or tearing of jeans will be up to you. Stone washing is really not necessary and your denim will acquire that softer feel after about 5 washes but abusing your clothes to make them look old is not something I recommend.
Bleaching Your Jeans
Each pair of adult sized jeans will take about 3 cups of bleach in hot water to fade to a relatively dark indigo. Some jeans have a black base color and are often used for Acid Washing so compare the raw denim before you start.
I usually buy two pairs of jeans and this is the method I use.
Fill the washing machine 1/3 full and add 6 cups of bleach (no soap) for two pairs of jeans.
Run the jeans through the first agitation or wash cycle without draining the water for at least 20 minutes to a maximum of 40 minutes. You will notice the water gets very dark blue don’t be alarmed.
Allow jeans to process through the rest of the rinse process to remove the bleach and then wash them with the rest of your old jeans and dark colors in soap to remove the final amount of dye and bleach.
Now you could wash them alone with soap after the bleaching process but since I wash them with dark tshirts and older jeans and not with items that could be ruined by a little blue dye it is not a problem.
Now that the bleaching process is over your jeans should be softer and lighter.
Allow the jeans to air dry on a hanger or over your bathtub. If you like to roll the cuffs of the bottom of the jean it is important you do this now before they dry.
Make sure you pull and adjust any wrinkles and if you are doing a jeans jacket it is important that you firmly adjust the collar and pockets before the first drying time or they will set wrinkled. Come back a few times in the next few hours to check on the drying of collars and cuffs.
If you are happy with the color depth then you can wear your jeans until the next wash. I normally do not dry jeans in a dryer because they will shrink unevenly but it is possible to tighten up a pair of just washed jeans in the dryer and some people suggest that you can set the color of the dye by drying them.
Personally i’m not sure that you can set the color in a manufactured pair of raw jeans after bleaching because of the setting process that had occurred in the factory along with the bleaching.
Your jeans will now fade regularly but if you feel they are too dark you can process them again in bleach.
Just remember 3 cups per pair in Hot water and make sure the water just covers the top of the jeans or about 1/3 of the washer basin per 2 pairs of jeans… meaning you can probably do 6 pairs of jeans at the most in a full load.
AGAIN test results by adding more or less bleach for a lighter or darker color and allowing the jeans to soak in the first agitation cycle longer to make them softer.