If you've ever spilled bleach on your jeans, you know denim can go from indigo to white in minutes. Harness the power of liquid chlorine bleach and give jeans a retro, acid-washed look by spritzing on the bleach with a spray bottle. Clipping the jeans and hanging them before spraying helps prevent the bleach from soaking through and gives you access to both sides at once. Use your darkest jeans to make the spots really show up.
Fill the spray bottle 1/4 of the way full with full-strength liquid chlorine bleach. Replace the sprayer and turn the nozzle to the mist setting you want.
Fill a bucket with water and add 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide to make neutralizing solution that will stop the bleach.
Clip the waistband of the jeans to an outdoor clothesline or to a hanger with clips designed to hold pants and skirts. Hang them over the bathtub and open the window if you are working indoors.
Spray the jeans with the mixture. Monitor them while the bleach begins to work. Depending on the darkness of the denim, you should see it start to lighten within 10 minutes. When the spots are as light as you want, submerge the jeans in the bucket for 10 minutes to stop the bleach from working.
Wash the jeans by themselves in the washing machine in warm water and laundry detergent to get the bleach out. Hang them to dry.
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- Test the look of different sprayer settings by filling the bottle with water and spraying a brown paper bag from different distances.
- Attach clothespins to a regular wire hanger to hold your jeans if you don't have a clothes hanger with clips.
- Create the look of galaxies by spraying close to the fabric in a few spots, or give the jeans an overall '80s vibe by standing back and misting the bleach lightly all over.
- Always wear old clothes when working with bleach, and work in a well-ventilated area.
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.