How to Distress a Shirt with Bleach


Having a vintage look on your shirt is always an exciting thing to wear. There are many ways that you can easily make your shirt get a vintage look. Today we are going to suggest a technique on how to distress a shirt with bleach. We have shortlisted some easy steps that you can follow. The method is simplified below with a proper explanation.

How to Distress a Shirt with Bleach

Processes on How to Distress a Shirt with Bleach

Process One:

The first thing you want to do is take the shirt and lay it flat on a table. Once laid down, make sure that any parts of the shirt with holes or stains are at the top of the garment for easy access later on in this process.

Next, mix your bleach solution- create one part chlorine water (or Clorox) and two hydrogen peroxide to produce an oxidizing chemical reaction. Next, dip cotton balls into your mixture until they become saturated, as this will be used to apply the stain evenly across all areas of the fabric surface area.

Similarly, if using liquid bleach instead, pour some onto a rag before dipping into a sink full of warm water for cleaning up afterward. Now you’re ready! Use each ball/rag to apply the bleach evenly across a section of your shirt, starting with any stains or holes.

After soaking that area for about five minutes with gentle pressure from either your fingers or an old toothbrush, rinse it in cool water and watch as the color starts to fade away.

Process Two

Step One: For distressing your shirt, you will need some elements. This includes a used t-shirt. You can also use new ones if you prefer. Then you will need sandpaper. A scissor and tweezers. You will also need chalk and some bleaching powder. Once you have gathered all these elements, you can start the process. Now you have to select a shirt, and it is better to use a thin shirt with cotton fabric. Thick fabrics are much tricky to distress.

Check it out to learn to mix tannerite and chalk powder.

Step Two: Now, you have to take the shirt and place it on a cutting board. It is essential to keep a substantial back part on which you will do the work. After you have set the shirt, you have to take sandpaper and start rubbing the shirt. It is better to start from the edges and move lengthwise to the shoulders. Then you have to cover the whole area of the shirt. 

Step Three: Now, you can use chalk to rub the shirt. This will provide a vintage vibe too. Then, after the distress procedure is complete, you have to bleach the shirt. For this, you can use regular spray and apply it throughout the shirt. And lastly, you have to apply some fabric paint to the shirt. In this manner, the whole process will be completed.


The bleach solution will cause skin irritation, so be sure to protect your hands and eyes.

Work in a well-ventilated area with good lighting. The fumes from the bleach can irritate or even damage lungs if not properly ventilated.

Wear gloves to keep your hands safe while working with chemicals. Safety goggles should also be worn when mixing up the bleach solution as it may splash into one’s face during this process. Protect pets by keeping them out of the workspace until after you have rinsed off all of the chemical residues on both yourself and any items that are being treated.”

You do not need much fabric softener for use in this method; it is typically only added at a ratio of five or six tablespoons per gallon.

Is Vinegar Helpful for This Process?

Sometimes, people will add vinegar to the bleach solution. Vinegar is an acid, and acids react with alkalis (sodium hypochlorite) in a chemical reaction that produces water vapor.

The process of changing clothes through this type of distressing method can be accomplished without using any additional chemicals or solvents by simply soaking them in diluted chlorine bleach for some time before washing as usual. This may not cause noticeable changes to the fabric’s appearance but should make it softer from natural fiber reactions with sodium hypochlorite.

The Science Behind Distressing Clothes

When you use household bleaches like Sodium Hypochlorite on your favorite shirt, they create new compounds called chlorinated hydrocarbons, which are not harmful to humans.

  • You can use bleach as a soak for clothing without any adverse side effects!
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons are created in the reaction between sodium hypochlorite and fabric, neutralized by washing with soap or detergent. This prevents contamination of surface waters downstream from possible spillages during the handling, storage, or transport of these materials.
  • The chlorination process removes organic matter like dirt, oily residue, bacteria and other contaminants that would otherwise require more time-intensive processes like solvent extraction to remove them before disposal.” “This results in lower water usage (reducing wastewater), less need for energy inputs such as heat input required for drying clothes after cleaning,” says an article


Lastly, we hope that the process we have stated here will surely help get a new look at your used shirt. The beginners can easily follow these steps and get the best result. Thank you for your time. Have a nice day!

You May Also Read- How to Cut a Shirt for Working Out

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