BERKELEY'S NEWS • SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

I bleached my pants (and so should you!)

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ELYSA DOMBRO | STAFF

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JULY 06, 2020

This summer is the perfect time to get creative with do-it-yourself projects. I’m a huge fan of altering, cutting, dyeing and getting creative with clothing, but the one aspect of the DIY clothing process I hadn’t yet tried was bleaching. Something about the toxicity of the bleach and the idea of potentially ruining an expensive item, such as a pair of jeans, had always turned me away. But as I’ve been stuck sitting around in the heat of summer, I figured there was no better time to tackle a project that I’ve been putting off. And if these look awful, just know that I did it for the Clog. 

The first step was picking a pair of jeans. I needed something that I almost never wear, but not something that I hate enough that I won’t wear it even if the bleaching looks good. Luckily, I have an addiction to buying $2 pants at the thrift store, so I had a decent supply of jeans to work with. I finally settled on some jean capris that were given to me by my aunt. They’re a little too big for me, which is why I rarely wear them, but maybe this is the renewal they needed!

Next, I scoured the internet for design inspiration. Should I do tie-dye style, bleach the whole thing, or dip-dye? I even considered drawing some funky swirly patterns, but in the end, I decided to bleach an entire leg and leave the other leg unbleached. This felt like a bold move for me, but if you’re going to bleach your jeans, you might as well really bleach ’em! That’s the advice my mom gave me, at least.

I set up by finding a spot outside that I don’t normally spend a ton of time in. I used some thick tape to make a border down the middle of the pants. This way, hopefully, the tape would help me get a clean line. I also put some bleach in a spray bottle. The small amount of research I did before starting this project informed me that I should probably dilute the bleach. Honestly, though, I didn’t end up doing that mostly because I forgot. At least they were free pants!

After working up the courage, I put on some thick gloves and used the spray bottle to soak one entire leg with bleach. After leaving the pants for about 45 minutes, I came back and bleached the spots that still had some color. I wanted them pretty bleached, but you can always go a little lighter if you want them slightly colored.

Once I was happy with the result, I rinsed my jeans in the sink with water. I then threw them in the wash, and finally, I washed them again with a bunch of light-colored towels and sheets that I didn’t mind getting a little bleached. I decided to let the jeans air dry instead of throwing them in the dryer, and once they were dry, I tried them on.

Well, maybe becoming a TikTok DIY star is in my future, after all! I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and I really didn’t put an extensive amount of work in. Even though I’m not sure how much I’ll really wear them, I feel good that I finally tackled this project and that I refreshed a pair of jeans I never wear anyway. And if I could do it, you can do it! Maybe this is just the kick in the pants (no pun intended) you needed to bleach your own jeans.

Contact Elysa Dombro at 

LAST UPDATED

JULY 06, 2020


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