How to Whisker Jeans

The whiskered look on jeans refers to the lighter bleached crease lines around the front pockets and hips of some washes of jeans. Placing bleached lines along the natural creases in a pair of jeans enhances the three-dimensional detail with color contrast, adding interest and visual motion to an otherwise typical pair of jeans. A fashion statement and aesthetically enhancing feature, anyone can bleach whiskers onto jeans just as well as it is done in a factory. A few basic home supplies are the only requirements.

Cut a piece of cardboard with scissors to fit inside the jeans to protect the back side of the pants from bleach stains coming off the front. You may cut the cardboard smaller to work on just one side of the jeans at a time.

Slip the piece of cardboard inside a sealable food storage bag. This completes the protective bleach barrier.

Mix 1 cup of bleach together with 1 cup of water in a small container. One fast stir is sufficient to mix the two substances together, using any stirring utensil.

Set the cardboard and storage bag protective sheet inside the jeans under the first side you want to add the whiskered look to.

Bend the hips of the jeans before working on them to find all the natural creases that the pants make in the front when someone would sit in them, since these creases are where the bleach goes and working with the inherent creases of the pants makes for a more natural, store-bought look.

Dip the tip of a sponge, such as the kind used for dishes, briefly into the water and bleach mixture.

Paint the bleach onto the tops of the jeans’ natural creases, working in multiple strokes to make sure the bleach enters the fabric of the pants. Excessive bleach may run where it does not belong, and too little will not show up well later. Work both sides of the pants, alternately if necessary.

Wait 15 minutes for the bleach to set. The bleach will continue to lighten the denim during this time, so wait a full 15 minutes after initially bleaching the pants before you decide if you want to bleach even more for greater contrast.

Mix 10 cups of water and 2 cups of vinegar in a container large enough to fit the water and vinegar mixture and the pair of jeans. After waiting for the bleach to set and when you are satisfied with the amount of bleaching, place the jeans in this mixture to stop the bleach from continuing to lighten the pants. Stir around the jeans initially to get the new mixture in all the creases, then let the pants sit for five minutes.

Remove the jeans from the water and vinegar, and wash and dry them normally.