The Craft Patch: Pinterest Tested: Bleach, Then Dye Jeans

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pinterest Tested: Bleach, Then Dye Jeans

Welcome to Pinterest Tested! Ever wonder if that miracle cleaner is really miraculous? Or what about that homemade facial cleanser or delicious-looking recipe? The Craft Patch is the place to find out! I am testing Pins that catch my eye to see if they really live up to the claims made on Pinterest. It's like the Mythbusters of Domesticity! 

I have been wanting to test today's Pin since the day I saw it on Pinterest. I am finally done and can't wait to share my results. The Pin I'm testing can be found HERE

The Pin says that you can bleach a pair of jeans, then use RIT dye to make them any color you want!

THE TEST: Will it work to bleach a pair of jeans, then dye them?

Here's the pair of jeans I started with:
I have owned this pair of jeans for several years, but recently they started smelling funny. I don't know why. I have tried Febreeze, heavy duty laundry soap, vinegar and baking soda, and everything else I can think of and nothing would rid them of their  weird smell. I was just about to throw them away when I saw this Pin. I figured soaking them in bleach would definitely kill any smell. So I gave it a go. 

Step 1: Soak pants in bleach. 

Here was the first surprise of this test. What color do you think the water would turn if you put dark blue jeans into bleach? Blue, right?

Wrong! I bet you didn't guess brown. Weird, huh? Now for the second guess: how long do you think you would have to soak pants in bleach to get them white? A few hours? A day? I had to soak them for FIVE DAYS to get them all the way bleached! Five days!

After researching it a little more, I guess some jeans bleach easier than others. Why these pants were so stubborn, I have no idea (especially since I have ruined nice jeans by a mere accidental splash of bleach in the past). But after five days of bleaching, here's what they looked like:
 Not really white, but a yellowish grey. I put a pair of my daughter's white jeans next to them for comparison.
This is about the time when I realized that all that time in the bleach had eaten away at my pants a little. The bottom hem was starting to die a slow death. And there was a spot that wouldn't go white. Strange. Honestly, I'm surprised that the pants didn't totally disintegrate with all that time in the bleach.

*** See my update below.

But I forged ahead and used Teal RIT dye:
Because my pants were a little bit yellowish, they turned out to be a nice minty color, just like I was hoping. My daughter's white jeans turned out a little bit more aqua. Also very cute.

Here's the weirdest thing about this whole experiment... when my jeans were finally washed and dried, I put them on and they didn't even feel like the same pants. The denim was a totally different texture and the pants were SO stretched out! They were wider and longer! Isn't that just the weirdest thing?

I was planning to sew them up the sides to make them skinny jeans anyways, so I just sewed up higher to help them fit tighter. It works.

The total cost for my new jeans was around $5...I used one box of dye and 1 1/2 bottles of bleach. Not bad!

My pants did not dye very evenly. There are a few white spots and imperfections, but I'm okay with that. I saved a pair of jeans that I would have probably just thrown away. And I love how they turned out, even if they are not perfect. I'm feeling very trendy in my new minty jeans.

THE RESULT: It worked...mostly. It would have been so much easier to find a pair of white jeans at a thrift store and skip the whole bleaching step. But I ended up with a cheerful (but not perfect) pair of pants that I will have fun wearing.




UPDATE: Yesterday while wearing these jeans, I bent over to pick something up off the ground and *RIP* went the knee. All that time in the bleach really took a toll on these pants. They are too thin and falling apart! Now that I know that, I can't recommend bleaching, then dying jeans. Instead, I would buy plain white jeans and dye them to the color you want. It would be so much faster, easier and they wouldn't disintegrate on you either.

Well, they were fun while they lasted.

10 comments:

  1. You can't see any imperfections in the pictures. They look great!

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  2. Those are so cute! Love them

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  3. there is also a color remove RIT does and it comes in a box, just don't mix it up with their whitener product. I love it, may not work really well on jeans, but I always try that first before I give into bleach. Plus this stuff is awesome cause you can just throw the article of clothes in the washer with the color remove and run a cycle.

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  4. I love the color that they came out. Really cute! I am surprised too that they didn't fall apart 5 days in bleach.

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  5. Very cute! I might have to try this.

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  6. Rit also has a Color Remover that will take the color out of fabrics in only 30 minutes or so. I haven't tried it on jeans, but it worked pretty well on a couple of black cotton shirts. The trick is using very hot water.

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  7. I agree with the color remover comments. You can also buy it in bulk online and it's much more gentle than bleach. Also, for more even dying, I use a big stock pot (used only for dye) on the stove with constant stirring.

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  8. Thanks so much for all the information you provided here! I have been planning to try this DIY and now realize I'm going to have to evaluate my game plan. They did look good while they lasted!

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  9. I tried this (before seeing your post) and it RUINED a pair of jeans that fit me PERFECTLY before - they look sooo cool, a kind of light spotted blue but they are super stretched out, not at all what I was trying. Do you think the stretching was caused by the bleaching step or the Rit dye step?

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  10. Christine-- It's definitely from the bleach. Mine did the same thing! I think the bleach eats away at the fabric and loosens the fibers. Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

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