10 ways to fade a shirt to look vintage

Wearing a faded shirt adds a vintage look to your outfit. And that faded look is definitely popular right now, I mean, just look at the whole Yeezy clothing line.

In this article, we’ll be covering 10 ways to fade a shirt including how to do it with bleach and how to fade a shirt without bleach.

I personally recommend the 2nd way of sun fading because it’s the most “natural.”

As a disclaimer I have not tried all of these methods and I’ve also included videos of people performing some of these methods so you can visually see how it’s done and the end result. Good luck!

what makes clothing fade?

There are a few factors that can cause clothing to fade. The most common reason is exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sun break down the dyes in fabric, which causes them to fade over time.

Another factor that can cause fading is washing clothes in hot water. The heat from the water can also break down the dyes in fabric. Finally, age can also cause clothing to fade. The natural wear and tear of fabrics over time can cause them to lose their color.

There are a few ways to help prevent clothing from fading. The most effective way is to avoid exposing clothes to direct sunlight. You can also wash clothes in cold water instead of hot water to help preserve the colors. Finally, you can also try to keep clothes in good condition by avoiding excessive wear and tear.

10 ways to fade a shirt

Let’s dive into the 10 ways to fade a shirt to look more vintage.

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1. washing machine

Putting your shirt in the washing machine, is the first way you can fade a shirt. The agitation of the wash cycle, will cause your shirt to fade.

This is due to the fact that , the dye is being rubbed off the fabric. It’s important to note that washing them in hot water will allow it to fade quicker.

In order to fade your clothes in the washing machine, here are the steps:

  • put your shirt in the washing machine
  • set the washer to the desired agitation level
  • add laundry detergent
  • select a hot water cycle
  • start the wash cycle

2. sun

The sun is one of the most common causes of faded clothing. The UV rays in the sun, will break down the dye in your clothes over time. The more direct the sunlight, the quicker the fading will occur.

In order to fade your clothes in the sun, here are the steps:

  • hang your shirt outside
  • the sun will do the work for you\

To further explore how to fade clothing in the sun, I recommend this video:

Sun Fading Clothing Guide

3. washing machine dry

If you don’t want to put your clothes in the sun, you can always dry them in the washing machine. The dry setting on your washer, will cause your clothes to fade. This is due to the fact that the tumbling of the clothes, will rub the dye off the fabric.

In order to fade your clothes in the washing machine, here are the steps:

  • put your shirt in the washing machine
  • select the dry setting
  • start the dry cycle

4. tea

Tea is a natural way to fade your clothes. The tannins in the tea, will help to break down the dye in your fabric. You can either soak your shirt in tea, or you can use a tea bath.

In order to fade your clothes with tea, here are the steps:

  • soak your shirt in a tea bath
  • leave your shirt in the tea bath for several hours
  • rinse your shirt and let it air dry

5. vinegar

vinegar is another natural way to fade your clothes. The acetic acid in the vinegar, will help to break down the dye in your fabric. You can either soak your shirt in vinegar, or you can use a vinegar bath.

In order to fade your clothes with vinegar, here are the steps:

  • soak your shirt in a vinegar bath
  • leave your shirt in the vinegar bath for several hours
  • rinse your shirt and let it air dry

6. lemon juice

Lemon juice is another natural way to fade your clothes. The citric acid in the lemon juice, will help to break down the dye in your fabric. You can either soak your shirt in lemon juice, or you can use a lemon juice bath.

In order to fade your clothes with lemon juice, here are the steps:

  • soak your shirt in a lemon juice bath (one part lemon juice to three parts water)
  • leave your shirt in the lemon juice bath for several hours
  • rinse your shirt and let it air dry in the sun

7. scrubbing

Another way to fade your clothes, is by scrubbing them. This can be done with a toothbrush, or any other type of scrubbing device.

In order to fade your clothes with scrubbing, here are the steps:

  • scrub the desired area
  • the friction will cause the dye to come off
  • repeat as necessary

8. bleach

Bleach is a popular way to fade your clothes. Bleach can be used on almost any type of fabric. A common way to fade your shirt with bleach is to add a cup of bleach to a washing machine cycle running cold water — allowing it to dilute the bleach.

If you want to spot choose what areas of the shirt you want to be faded, here are the steps:

  • add 3/4 water to 1/4 bleach in a spray bottle and shake
  • get your shirt wet
  • put shirt on a backdrop like plastic so the bleach doesn’t stain anything else (do this outside in the sun preferably)
  • spray/spritz the areas you want to be faded
  • let the shirt sit for 1-2 hours

To further explore fading with bleach and seeing a way to do it with hot water, I recommend this video:

How to fade a shirt! Regular Shirt Into Vintage look.

9. soap

Soap is another way to fade your clothes. Soap can be used on almost any type of fabric. Soap acts as a bleaching agent, and will fade your clothes over time.

In order to fade your clothes with soap, here are the steps:

  • apply the soap to the desired area
  • the soap will fade the fabric
  • repeat as necessary

10. salt

Salt is a popular way to fade your clothes. Salt can be used on almost any type of fabric. Salt fades the clothes by causing the dye to leach out.

In order to fade your clothes with salt, here are the steps:

  • fill up a bucket with a gallon of water, a cup of baking soda, and 3-4 cups of iodized salt
  • put your shirt in the bucket
  • let the clothing soak for 1-3 days depending on how faded you want it to be
  • put in washing machine and let wash

To further explore how to fade a shirt with salt, I recommend this video:

DIY How To Fade a Sweatshirt Without Bleach | Russell Athletic®
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