How to Bleach Levi's

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Founded in 1853, Levi Strauss & Co. initially specialized in dry goods when its founder chose to immigrate from the region of Bavaria, Germany to San Francisco. Though Levi Strauss began making denim overalls in the 1870s, its jean line wasn’t started until the 1920s. Today, Levi’s is an iconic American denim jeans line and Levi’s are a bleachable as any other brand of denim.

Beaching By Hand

Fill large bucket or tub three-fourths full with warm water. Once the bucket or tub is nearly full, add between 1 and 2 cups of bleach depending on how white you want to bleach your Levi's. Be sure to wear a pair of rubber or latex gloves during the entire process, as the bleach may irritate your skin.

Put jeans in the water/bleach solution. If you opted to use a bucket instead of a tub, put the waist end of the Levi’s in first, followed by the pants legs. With your gloved hands, swirl the pants around, making sure the entire garment is covered in the bleach solution.

Check for desired evenness. Place a large towel over a surface that will not sustain damage from bleach, such as a kitchen counter or linoleum floor. Lay the Levis’ out on the towel to make sure your jeans have the bleaching pattern you desire. If more bleach is needed in certain areas, use a sponge to blot bleach directly onto the area in need. Once your Levi’s are bleached to your liking, pour out the bleach solution.

Rinse your Levi’s thoroughly. You can conveniently rinse your jeans in the same bucket or tub that held the bleach solution.

Dry the jeans. Using a drying rack is one way to dry your newly-bleached Levi’s. Place a towel under the rack while they dry. If you do not have a drying rack, hanging them on a clothesline or on a hanger in the shower are other ways for you to dry your bleached jeans.

Bleaching Levi's in the Washing Machine

Add bleach to a starting warm-wash cycle. Since the washing machine holds more water than a bucket, the amount of bleach is increased, as well. When using a washer to bleach a pair of Levi’s, add from five to seven cups of bleach.

Check for evenness. As with hand washing, once the wash cycle has finished, check the jeans to see if the bleaching is to your specifications. If not, put on your gloves and blot additional bleach directly onto your Levi’s with a sponge.

Dry your Levi's.