How To Fade Clothes? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Learn how to fade clothes to add character and style to your wardrobe. Whether you want to create a vintage vibe or are just trying to give them a fresh look, intentionally fading your clothes can be an easy and inexpensive way to update them.

What Is Fading And How Does It Affect Your Clothes?

Have you ever noticed how your favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans looks better after being washed a few times? That’s because of the process of fading. Fading is a natural process that happens to clothes over time, and it can actually be beneficial for your wardrobe. Fading can give clothes a unique look and feel, making them more comfortable and stylish. 

Vintage fashion is probably one of the first things that come to mind when you see faded clothing. It has remained popular despite numerous trends due to its timeless appearance. Faded clothing is something you should try, whether you’re seeking something more casual or formal. Apart from this, upcycling your own clothing can also help conserve resources. It can reduce the harmful fast fashion industry practices that are common today. Not to mention that you don’t have to spend a lot to elevate your wardrobe. It’s definitely a win-win for you and the planet.

But the advantages of fading your clothes extend beyond aesthetics. Another benefit of fading is that it softens your clothes. And the good thing about it? All the materials you need are right inside your house. Natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar can help with the stiffness, making it comfortable to wear.

Are you ready to  give your old clothes a new lease of life? Read on because we will show you the step-by-step process on how to fade your clothes.

Sun fade

how to fade fabric without bleach

Sun fading is the simplest way to fade your clothes without spending any money. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can break down chemical bonds and fade the color of the clothes. To do this method, all you need is some sunlight, hot water, and a lot of patience! But before you start sun fading your clothes, there are some factors to consider:

  • It is important to read the clothing material. Some manufacturers apply UV protection to clothes to prevent them from fading when exposed to the sun.
  • Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester don’t do well with hot water. Heat degrades the fibers and can ruin the fabric. Try other methods instead.
  • The time it takes to achieve your desired level of fading depends on the sun’s strength. Some countries have lower temperatures. So make sure to do it during the summer for optimal results.

Ready to apply this method? Well then, consider the sun your best friend and follow these 3 easy steps to get that vintage look:

  1. Wash your clothes in hot water using a washer to speed up the fading process.
  2. Locate a place with ample amount of sunlight where you can hang your clothes.
  3. Leave it under the sun for several days until you reach your desired level of fading. Don’t forget to check it once in a while to make sure that every part of the clothes gets enough sunlight.
  4. You can wash your clothes again in hot water after a week if you want to see faster results. But take note that rewashing multiple times can damage your clothing. Twice is enough already.

Doing this method may take a lot of time but the results can be worth it. It gives a natural look and at the same time you can create one-of-a-kind pieces.

You can also watch this video to learn more about the sun fading process: 

Washing Machine With Hot Water

In today’s modern world, most washers have an inbuilt boiler to provide a hot water feature. And just like the sun fade method, using a washer to fade your clothes takes patience. But minus the sun’s strength and several days of hanging. Fading your clothes with a washer means repeatedly washing it with hot water as they need cleaning. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to washing clothes in hot water. Getting rid of germs and removing stains faster are some of its best benefits. However, it is important to know that repeated washing under hot water can damage the fiber of the clothes. 

Here’s how to fade clothes using a washer:

  1. Set your washing machine’s temperature to hot (or at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Place the clothes you want to fade in the washer. Hot water helps increase dye bleeding, making your clothes fade faster than usual. 
  3. Add detergent, then start the program. 
  4. After the wash cycle, you can run your clothes in a dryer or let them air dry. 
  5. Repeat the process as necessary. Note that it takes at least 5 cycles of washing before you see a result. 

Baking Soda and Salt

Baking Soda and Salt

You’ve probably used baking soda when cooking or cleaning your home. Baking soda has a high pH level, making it a good cleaning agent. But another clever way to utilize it is to fade clothes. Certain dyes in colored fabrics are pH sensitive; thus, exposure to baking soda’s high pH could cause them to lose their color. 

Consider this method if you don’t like using bleach. Here’s how to fade clothes using baking soda and salt:

  1. Select a container that is big enough to submerge your clothes, then fill it with water.
  2. Add a quarter cup of baking soda and one cup of salt to the container.
  3. Stir, then submerge your clothes in the mixture.
  4. Allow it to soak, and don’t forget to stir it once in a while. Leave it for at least 3 days or up to a week. 
  5. Rinse thoroughly, then air dry. Some fabrics do not immediately show any changes. You may have to repeat the process in order to achieve your desired level of fading.

Watch this video to know more about fading clothes using baking soda:


Just like baking soda, vinegar is another great alternative if you don’t like using bleach. It is also readily available at home and cost-effective. Worried about the scent of your clothes? Well, don’t worry, because there is a hack for that. Just follow these steps for naturally looking faded clothes:

  1. Select a container that is big enough to submerge your clothes, then fill it with water.
  2. Add half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. You can add lemon juice if you don’t like the smell of vinegar.
  3. Place the clothes you want to fade in the mixture.
  4. Let it soak, then leave the container under the sun for 2–5 hours.
  5. Repeat the process until you reach the desired level of fading.
  6. Rinse, then hang dry under the sun.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

If you’re not keen on using vinegar to fade your clothes, try lemon juice instead. It is highly acidic in nature, which causes a bleaching effect on clothes. All you need is a container, water, and lemon juice. If lemons are not available, you may opt to buy bottled lemon juice at the grocery store.

Here’s how to fade clothes using lemon juice:

  1. Fill a large container with one part lemon juice and three parts water.
  2. Submerge the clothes and let them soak.
  3. Leave it for about half a day. Check from time to time to control how faded you want it to be.
  4. Rinse, then hang dry under the sun.

Chemical Method To Fade Clothes

fading clothes

Are you looking for a way to fade your clothes faster? Then bleaching is the way to go. Bleach is a common chemical used in most households to help remove stubborn stains.

But have you ever wondered how it exactly works to fade your clothes? Through oxidation, bleach releases oxygen molecules. These molecules break the bond of an atom responsible for the color of your clothes. Thus, making it look faded. Now that we know how it works, it’s time to bleach your clothes by following these steps:

  1. Fill a container with 1 liter of water. 
  2. Add 1/8 cup of bleach and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place the mixture in the washer. 
  4. Place the clothes you want to fade in the washer. Then, start a normal wash cycle.
  5. Once the cycle is done, hang your clothes to dry. 

You can watch this video to learn more about how to fade your clothes with bleach: 


Trial and error happens when you try to fade clothes. Some methods are easy, and some may test your patience. But the fun of it all comes down to when you achieve your desired look. Have you picked a method to try out? If not, try exploring each and discover what works for you.

how to fade fabric

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