Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: How to make new t-shirts look well worn/broken in ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: How to make new t-shirts look well worn/broken in
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: toddmeister2-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 04 Aug 2004 13:57 PDT
Expires: 03 Sep 2004 13:57 PDT
Question ID: 383544
How can you make new t-shirts, jeans, etc. look well worn and broken in?
Is there a process to use stones/rocks in a home washing machine ?  Are there
products (i.e. stones or other/chemicals) to purchase that are safe
for the washing machine?
Subject: Re: How to make new t-shirts look well worn/broken in
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 04 Aug 2004 15:02 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi toddmeister2,

Aha... How to make my clothing look Vintage!  :)

I recently answered a similar question re: Distressing jeans

Please read through the entire answer because I provided a lot of
valuable information.


Lighten Jeans Question

Please can someone tell me how I can lighten/bleach/distress brand new
 Levi jeans for my son.  I have thought of adding bleach to the wash,
but don't know how much.

I have tried bleach myself and I can tell you it doesn?t work, maybe
clothing dye would work.

There are lots of tricks for this.

First, wash the jeans a few times in hot water. Understand they
can/will shrink, so the size has to be adjusted.

Second, use a fine sandpaper on the areas you want lightened. Lots of
web sites to explain this. In general, sand anything that is hemmed
and places that naturally would be distressed like the thighs and

Don't use bleach unless desperate. Even then, think VERY small. You
are not washing whites here.

Usually the hot water washing and sanding will do the trick.


Fading Jeans

Wash 'em over and over again in hot water...but they'll probably
shrink as well as fade!

washing your pants a lot and letting it dry out by hanging it out in the sun.

one is to use fine-grain sandpaper on areas you want to look faded.
Another, from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, says to use a small
cheese grater on specific areas. Still another place says to hang them
in the sun for several days as the sun breaks down the fibers in the
denim, allowing them to fade

bleach and sun will work but don't put pure bleach on your
will eat a hole in them. best to dilute the bleach with water and
spray it evenly over the fabric.


Anyone know a good way to distress/fade jeans??

were using fine sandpaper to fade and distress jeans. They did the
thigh area, rear-end, knees,and around the pockets. Looked very simple
with great results. Just rub until you get the look you want.

on Bravo's queer eye for the straight guy they suggested taking a
kitchen grater to the high-wear areas to get a worn look goo luck!

get a miniature cheese grater and 'grate' the areas that you would
like to be more distressed. sandpaper will indeed fade the jeans but
if you fade them too much then thats a problem. same goes with using
the cheese grater. its a hit or miss situation. if you can pull of a
nice subtle distressing on your jeans, then they will look great. but
too much will look bad and will look too intentional. the trick is to
make it look like theyve accumulated their distressed characteristics
over a period of years. it is crucial to remember than subtle distress
marks is the way to go. anything more will render the job
non-repairable. also i recommend that you try the jeans on and pick
out certain areas that would look good with a distress mark. either
mentally note the area after you take them off or take a marker and
draw a tiny line to identify the area. you're gonna be fading that
area anyway. or 'grating' it or what have you. so good luck and
remember subtlety is key.


how to cut holes in jeans and get them to fray across the knee, like in the 80's?

brillo pad 

For making the holes in my jeans i used a razor. It looks really cool
after you slash up the jeans a bit.


Men's Health Forums - Tons of Useful Stuff

Nudie reccomends wearing their dry wash jeans as often as possible for
at least 6 months without washing them to achieve that really cool
self faded look. yeah, mine got pretty rank, but i aired them outside
with febreze. its totally worth the wait. dont dry them either! mine
look like these now -- to me that the
best fade you could ever get on a pair of jeans.


I read an article in FHM Fashion issue a few years ago with Drea
D'Matteo who plays Adrianna from the Sopranos who also owns a store in
NYCs East Village called Filth Mart. She said don't launder jeans,
spot clean them only and they will wear beautifully. I never had the
nerve to do this, but I had a pair of jeans that I wore in college
through a summer trip to India, where clothes are laundered, then
beaten on rocks. Most comfortable jeans I ever had


For T-Shirts: 

****DON'T**** follow the advice on this site "Screen Printed Garment
Care Tips"   :)

(Care and feeding of your favorite cool tee) - Do the opposite of what
is recommended

Turn printed garments inside out to launder them, this reduces wear
and tear on the image.

Do not use chlorinated bleach on screen printed garments ! Chlorine
will accelerate the break down of both fabric and printing ink.

Wash your printed garments in cool or warm water. You will save
energy, your clothes will not shrink and the inks will not be degraded
by hot water.

Do not dry your printed garments on hot, use gentle or permanent press
settings. Heat can cause any fabric to shrink, and may result in
"puckering" around the edge of a printed image. Screen printing inks
are also temperature sensitive and easily damaged when hot.

Do not allow your screen printed garments prolonged exposure to direct
sunlight. Ultraviolet rays from the sun will fade colors and degrade
the fabric, inks, and dyes.

Roll, rather than fold, your printed wearables for storage. This will
keep the images from breaking down at the fold lines.

Do not iron directly on the printed images, reverse the garment and
iron on the inside of these areas. (If you actually iron your
t-shirts, you may need a life)


Best regards,
toddmeister2-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
tlspiegel-ga - thanks for your help.

Subject: Re: How to make new t-shirts look well worn/broken in
From: librariankt-ga on 04 Aug 2004 14:03 PDT
A friend of mine used to run hers over with the car...
Subject: Re: How to make new t-shirts look well worn/broken in
From: pinkfreud-ga on 04 Aug 2004 14:07 PDT
I don't wear jeans, but I generally use fabric softener and/or bleach
to break in a new t-shirt. Unless you want the "holey" look, you don't
want to use physical pummeling such as stonewashing on a t-shirt,
since it's a knitted fabric; breaking just one thread can result in
Subject: Re: How to make new t-shirts look well worn/broken in
From: corwin02-ga on 04 Aug 2004 14:15 PDT
Spin them in a tumble washer (not a paddle washer) with a few
handfulls of poker chips (or if you lack a tumble washer use a tumble

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy