The acid washed jeans of the 1980s are making a comeback. These trendy jeans, now called mineral washed, are in demand among all age groups. But these sought-after jeans with the worn and washed-out look can come with a high price tag. The good news is that you can give that same look to your jeans. The mineral wash process is simple and inexpensive, involving little more than bleach and pumice stones. Gwen Peagler on the MadeMan website tells how to do it.

Things You'll Need

Place a pumice stone in a small plastic container. Pour bleach over the stone, immersing it fully. Saturate the pumice stone in bleach overnight, allowing the stone to absorb the bleach.

Lay the jeans in an empty bathtub.

Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands. Pour two parts bleach and one part room-temperature tap water into a spray bottle. Randomly squirt the jeans, rubbing the bleach into the fabric slightly as you spray.

Rub the bleach-saturated pumice stone on various areas of the jeans. Apply more pressure to the pumice stone in those areas where you desire a more worn look, such as the seat or knees.

Allow the jeans to soak for 10 minutes. If you haven’t achieved the look you desire, continue to soak the jeans for a few more minutes, monitoring closely, until you reach the desired degree of fading.

Rinse the bleach from the jeans under room-temperature, running tap water.

Place the jeans in the washing machine and set the control for a small load. Fill the machine with cold water. Add detergent and a tablespoon of sodium thiosulfate to the water to help remove extra bleach from the pants. Run the jeans through the full cycle.

Remove the jeans from the machine and either run them through the dryer or air-dry them.


  • Experiment with an old denim garment before attempting the project, if possible.

  • Sodium thiosulfate will neutralize the color-removing effects of bleach. It is available at home improvement centers, swimming pool supply stores and online.

  • Pumice stone is a light, porous, glassy lava, used in solid form as an abrasive. These stones are available at large supermarkets and drug stores.

  • You can also use sandpaper to further distress the denim fabric.

  • Cut the legs off an old pair of jeans to make mineral washed shorts. When the process is complete, embellish the shorts with studs or rhinestones in the pocket areas.