How to Make Clothes Fade Without Damaging the Fabric

If you want to fade clothes — such as that dark pair of jeans or bright blue shirt — it will happen in time with repeated washings. However, repeated washings tends to wear out clothes and shortens their lifespan. Below are some options to consider.

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Fade jeans so they aren't quite as dark.

NOTE: Test an old piece of clothing first to be sure the method you select works well and you can predict the results for future articles of clothing.

Option 1: Hang or lay your clothes out in the sun.

Many colored fabrics fade in the sunlight. Leave them in the sun for several days in a row, turning them as necessary to distribute the sunlight as evenly as possible.

Option 2: Wash clothes in hot water.

Wash the clothes, such as pre-shrunk cotton fabrics, in hot water. And then, dry the clothes out in the sun, if possible, to further along the fading process. Repeat as often as possible.

WARNING: Do not wash wool, synthetic fibers and other fabrics that are heat sensitive. Hot water fades colored clothing.

Option 3: Add liquid chlorine bleach when washing the clothes you want to fade.

First fill the washing machine with hot water, and then add a cup of bleach. Allow to sit for a moment to mix the bleach and water together. Add the clothes to the water, spin for about five minutes on a gentle cycle, and then let sit for an hour.

After an hour, finish the cycle, and then wash one more time on a normal cycle in order to remove all the bleach.


Melissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.