How to Fade Jeans at Home

How to fade jeans at home

Blue jeans have been in our culture since the 18 th century but were later popularized by celebrity style icons like James Dean and Elvis Presley in the 1950’s. Synonymous with rebellious fashion, it didn’t take long for people to realize that this American fashion staple looked even better when they were faded, ripped and worn. Although wearing your jeans often can help you get this faded look organically, there are ways to achieve the look before you even put your jeans on. Read on to find out how to fade your jeans and then learn about some great faded denim looks for men.

How Light Should I Go?

When fading jeans, it is a good idea to think about how light you want them to be before proceeding. While a lighter look seems ideal, darker can also work well in more formal situations . You should also consider the tone your jeans are to start and not be unrealistic in the fade you are going for. The fabric will weaken as you fade so it is best not to overdo it. Keeping that in mind, here are some simple ways for you to fade your jeans easily, from the comfort of your own home.

Light blue jeans and a camel overcoat look

Methods for Fading Jeans


Lemons are a great way to fade jeans without the use of chemicals. To bleach your jeans with lemon juice, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Douse jeans in water. Make sure they are completely soaked.
  • Wring out excess water thoroughly.
  • Fill a bucket with concentrated lemon juice.
  • Put jeans in the bucket.
  • This is a process that can take quite a few hours. Keep checking back on your jeans to determine when they have the faded look you are after.
  • Rinse jeans in water.
  • Allow them to dry on a clothesline in the sun.


The bleached jeans look is one that rose to popularity in the 80’s. When thinking of bleached jeans, the possibilities are endless. You may want to immerse your entire pair of jeans in bleach for an allover lighter look, tie your jeans up so the bleach only hits certain parts of your jeans for a tie dyed feel, or use a bleach pen or sponges for specific designs to show.

Whatever method you choose, you should be aware that the chemical properties of beach will also weaken the fabric. While your jeans may come out softer and more comfortable, you also run the risk of burning a hole in your jeans, so it is important that you proceed with caution and monitor the process carefully as you go along.

That being said, here are some general guidelines for bleaching your jeans:

  • Start by covering your work area with newspapers and be sure to wear gloves and an apron. This will prevent the bleach from doing damage to your hands and clothing as well as the area you are working on.
  • It is best to use a bathtub or washing machine for the bleaching process. Fill with hot water and add half a cup of bleach.
  • If you are looking to get an allover bleached look on your jeans, do not allow the jeans to slacken. Keep them as flat as possible using stick.
  • Once they have reached the desired shade, remove them from the water and hang to dry.
  • Wash with detergent and fabric softener.

Use a Pumice Stone or Sandpaper

This is a great method to use if you are looking to lighten only certain areas of your jeans like the knee, seat, pocket area, etc. If this sounds like the look you are after, here’s how you want to proceed:

  • Start by getting 180 grit sandpaper or a pumice stone.
  • Rub the stone or sandpaper on the jeans in the areas you are looking to lighten. Be sure not to rub too hard as you can end up wearing away the fabric completely.
  • Once your jeans have the desired look, put them in the washing machine to get rid of the excess dye and...voila! It’s as simple as that!


The naturally acidic property of coffee will make your jeans fade quickly. To fade your jeans with coffee, follow these steps:

  • Take coffee beans by the handful (green beans are best but roasted will work as well). Rub them in areas where you want jeans to fade.
  • Pour boiling water over the top of the pants to rinse.
  • Wash jeans to remove coffee residue and enjoy your faded look.

Wear Your Jeans Inside Out

Admittedly one of the more bizarre ways to fade jeans, you may want to limit this one to ‘in the house’ wear only. However, this method does work. Why? The friction caused by your skin rubbing against the denim material expedites the fading process to achieve that great worn out look.

Getting that Look Naturally

While all these methods are great ways to get that faded look quickly, you also run the risk of having the jeans rip in unwanted places as a result, and maybe you just find it easier and even more stylish to have them fade naturally.

The best way to do this is to wear your jeans for a couple of days without washing them. Sleeping in them will also serve to expedite this process due to the friction caused by rubbing against your bed sheets while you sleep. For obvious reasons, this may also be a method best kept to indoor wear only! In any case, when you finally wash your jeans, you will see that nice natural fade.

Wearing that Faded Denim Look

Now that you have got your jeans faded just the way you want them, it’s time to work on creating a complete look that features them well. Depending on the style you are going for, here are some great ideas.

Work Casual

If you can get away with wearing a pair of jeans to the office, make this look work for you by going with a darker wash . Wear fitted jeans for a neater appearance. Pair them with a button front shirt, a blazer and a pair of brogues or loafers for a great casual work look. Replace your button front with a tee shirt for a look that can work well for casual dates or a night on the town.

Light blue denim with jacket

Street Chic

If you want to capitalize on that rebellious, faded look, you may want to go in a more street chic direction. For this look, pair your jeans with a t-shirt and flannel or a leather or bomber jacket. High top sneakers or combat boots will work to complete this look.

Every Day

If you just want to achieve a great casual look, the possibilities are endless. A simple tee or sweatshirt can complement your jeans well as long as you go for a nice, fitted look for both top and bottom.

Double Denim

Though some may shy away from this look, it can work well if it’s done right. When wearing a denim shirt with your faded jeans, go for shades that vary slightly. You can further break up the look by wearing a plain t-shirt under a denim button front or go for completely different colors like a blue faded bottom with a black or white denim shirt. These same principles should also apply when pairing a denim jacket with denim jeans.

When doing double denim, it is best to keep the overall look of the outfit understated and casual.

Faded jeans are a great look that is predicted to be making comeback this spring. You can revamp your wardrobe easily by following these simple methods for creating great fades.  The look is also easy to style as long as you don’t overdo it. Good luck finding the perfect fade and rockin’ it for the upcoming season.

About the author

Jack Prenter

Jack has been fascinated by fashion for decades and spent huge amounts of time researching it and becoming an expert. He's written for many well-known publications and is in the process of opening an online clothing store for men. Jack studied at the University of Nottingham and is now based out of Toronto, Canada.