6 Steps to Distress Jeans Like An Expert

Do you want to know how to distress jeans like a pro? You’re in the right place. You would think that distressed jeans would have gone out of style, but I guess it’s proved everyone wrong. One can’t fully predict fashion trends in today’s day and age.

If you have a pair of jeans you want to distress, not to worry! This article will teach you how to distress jeans and rock them with style and elegance. Shall we?

Why are Distressed Jeans Such a Vibe?

Here are excellent reasons I love distressed jeans, and why you should love them too:

Huge Fashion Statement

Nothing screams “bold” louder than distressed jeans. You can walk into a room and get noticed almost immediately. If you dislike shopping for clothes often, getting some distressed jeans would save you lots of time because you can pair them with almost everything.

They remain in style throughout the year, and it doesn’t look like they are going obsolete anytime soon. With a pair of classic distressed jeans on, you will always stand out in the crowd.

Easy to Customize or Personalize

Distressed jeans are easy to personalize. When you buy clothes from a fancy store, you purchase the manufacturer’s style, and trying to fit your personality into this style might be a little tricky.

But when you distress your own jeans, you can customize them to your taste. You can choose the color of the jeans, the size of the jeans, and the extent of the distressing. You don’t get this privilege every time you visit a clothing store.

If you’re looking for excellent fashion styles to go with your distressed jeans as a woman, here’s a video that might help:

Versatile and Flexible

Another essential advantage of distressed jeans is that they are versatile and flexible. You can wear them all year round and use them for various occasions. All you need to do is to style it properly to fit any event you wish to attend.

For sophisticated outings, you can pair the jeans with a slim top, blazers, and heels. For a more casual occasion, you can wear jeans with sneakers and a T-shirt.

Distressed jeans are also very flexible. It allows you to walk freely because they are less tight than regular jeans. Even if they are, the open area on the knee and thighs still offers you flexibility as you walk.

What is the Difference Between Distressed Jeans and Ripped Jeans?

From a distance, you will not notice any difference between these two. But if you study them more closely, you will spot some differences here and there. For distressed jeans, the knees and thighs are cut open to look like a natural tear. But the tears on ripped jeans look less natural.

Secondly, the cut in distressed jeans is usually less noticeable than those in ripped jeans. Ripped jeans are most suitable for slim figures. When a fat person wears ripped jeans, it makes them appear fatter. But anyone can wear distressed jeans and look good in them.

Finally, distressed jeans are more like a sophisticated version of ripped jeans. But this doesn’t mean you can’t dress up or dress down with either of them. Complement your outfit with the right accessories, and you are ready!

Tools for Distressing Jeans

You don’t have to rob a bank to distress a pair of jeans. This procedure needs very few tools, and they include the following:

  • Tweezers: Tweezers are tools designed for picking the seams of the jeans after you cut them open. You can use a safety pin to pick out vertical threads if you don’t have tweezers.
  • Pair of Jeans: An old pair of jeans is the primary tool needed here. Before distressing, you can fade the dye with bleach if you want a lighter shade. After distressing, use sandpaper to smoothen the surface and make the jeans more comfortable. It is always advisable to use coarse sandpaper on new cuts.
  • Chalk: Chalks are for making marks on the areas you wish to cut. Marking out the area first reduces the chances of mistakes. And thankfully, it is easy to wash off these chalk marks.
  • Box Cutter: A box cutter is a sharp tool for making incisions on the marked areas. If a box cutter is unavailable, you can use razors or scissors.

Steps for Distressing Jeans

Here are steps anyone can take to distress their jeans like an expert:

Step 1: Fade the Dye

This first step is highly optional. If you are still in love with the color of your jeans, ignore this step. But if not, fade the dye on the jeans to get a whole new look.

To fade, mix an equal amount of water and bleach in a bathtub. Dip your jeans inside the hot tub and allow them to sit overnight.

Step 2: Mark your Cutting Area

The next step is to mark the areas you want to distress with a tailor’s chalk. One common tip I use to make my distressed jeans look as natural and balanced as possible is to mark out the areas I want to distress around places that are likely to tear naturally.

But if you wish to distress other areas, you are welcome to mark out those areas. Please keep it simple. Making the lines too large or many never ends well.

Step 3: Lay it Down and Cut

Once you’ve marked the cutting area, lay the jeans down and remove the marked areas. You can use a razor or scissors to do this, though. During my training days, I used available resources to give me the results I wanted.

When cutting, don’t cut beyond the places that have already been marked. Do not go beyond the point you marked with chalk. You can also roughen the pockets and edges of the jeans with a shaving stick to give it a clean look if you want.

Step 4: Use Tweezers to Make Smaller Holes

Use the tweezers to pull the vertical white thread and make small holes in the jeans. After removing the vertical white thread, you will see only blue horizontal lines for blue jeans or black horizontal lines for black jeans. Next, use sharp scissors to trim off excess thread from the jeans.

Step 5: Cut and Pluck for Big Threaded Holes

This step is particularly essential if you want a more pronounced distressing. Make a deep horizontal cut on the jeans you wish to distress.

This cut should be long enough if you want the hole to be very big after plucking. But if you want a small hole, cut it short. Next, use your tweezers to pluck out all the blue threads.

Step 6: Use Sandpaper

Once you’re done with the process, the last step is to smoothen the surface area.You wouldn’t enjoy wearing rough and uncomfortable distressed jeans now, would you?

I recommend using coarse sandpaper for rough areas and smooth sandpaper for the not-so-rough areas. Please be careful when using this equipment because it can create holes in your jeans. This act could render your efforts futile.

How to Wash Your Distressed Jeans

Now you’ve distressed your jeans, what’s next? They wouldn’t remain clean forever. How do you wash them and remove stains and smells? Here are a few tips that help keep your jeans clean and make them last longer:

Wash Sparingly

You will not treat your distressed jeans like your regular jeans by tossing them straight into the washer after each wear. You can easily wear regular jeans several times before washing them, so distressed jeans are no different. If they are not too dirty or smelly, you can scrub off any visible dirt and allow them to air dry.

Distressed jeans are the most susceptible to ruin. If you wash them too often, the original tear on the jeans soon begins to extend. Additionally, washing jeans too often also makes the fabrics weaker.

If your distressed jeans are falling apart, you can fix it! Here’s a detailed DIY guide to help out:

Avoid Using Bleach to Wash

Adding bleach when washing your jeans to eliminate stubborn stains is wrong on all levels. The thing is, washing jeans with bleach cannot remove tough stains. Instead, it discolors the denim permanently.

Instead of using bleach to remove tough stains, try adding vinegar. Vinegar is a much safer way to get rid of tough stains. It does not discolor nor pose any threat to your denim.

Flip Them Inside Out

Always flip your distressed jeans inside out before washing them. One common laundry mistake is tossing clothes into the washer without turning them inside out first.

While you can overlook this mistake for other clothes, it damages distressed denim. Distressed jeans have tears all over them, and tossing them into the washing machine without turning them inside out increases the chances of further damage.

Hang Them In the Open to Dry

The best way to remove all that moisture after washing is to air dry them. You can hang them on the bathroom rail or take them outside.

Heat dryers often come in handy and make the job easier for you. But the heat from the dryer can cause significant damage to your pair of distressed jeans. There may not be noticeable changes after the first and second wash, but prolonged use of this method can reduce the quality of your jeans.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are questions people commonly ask me on this topic:

Can you distress jeans without bleach?

Absolutely. It’s possible to distress jeans without bleaching, but it will retain the original color. If you don’t want to fade your jeans color, you can use this method.

Also, if your bleach is harsh to the material and your skin, an alternative solution is sunlight. Place your jeans under direct sunlight and be ready to wait a long time. This alternative method is time-consuming, and in most cases, not as effective.

What is the quickest way to distress jeans?

One method I highly recommend for people seeking easy ways to distress jeans is to fade the dye and fray the edges using sharp materials or objects. Several methods exist, but I can vouch for this method.

You don’t need any complicated tools or have a degree in fashion design before doing this. All you need is a box cutter and a gallon of bleach.

What is the Best Tool for Distressing Jeans?

Tweezers. Nothing comes close. They are used to pick the seams of the fabric after it has been cut open. Although you can use razor and bobby pins to perform similar functions, tweezers are considered the best.

They are a lot safer, and in addition, they are designed for that function. Therefore using it will make your job a lot easier.


Now that you know how to distress jeans, you can see that creating them is not rocket science. It’s just a few tricks here and there, and you are good to go. You don’t have to spend a million bucks to look beautiful and fashionable.

Remember, proper maintenance is as crucial as distressing a pair of jeans in the first place. Therefore you should endeavor to take care of them.


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