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.