How To Lighten Denim With Salt: The Surprising Trick

If you want to give your old denim a new look, you may be wondering how to lighten it. One surprising trick to lighten denim is by using salt. Here’s how you can do it:

Materials Needed

  • Denim clothing item
  • Bucket or basin
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Medium-grit sandpaper (optional)


  1. Fill a bucket or basin with warm water.
  2. Add 1-2 cups of salt to the water and stir until the salt dissolves.
  3. Submerge your denim clothing item in the saltwater solution and let it soak for 1-2 hours. The salt will help to lighten the denim as it’s being soaked.
  4. After soaking, remove the denim clothing item from the saltwater solution and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.
  5. Hang up the denim clothing item to dry.
  6. Check the denim clothing item to see if it has lightened to your desired shade. If it hasn’t, you can repeat the process by soaking it again in the saltwater solution.

Optional Step

  • If you want to create a more distressed look, you can rub medium-grit sandpaper across the surface of the denim clothing item after soaking it in the saltwater solution. This will help to create a faded, worn-in look.

lighten denim
(Source: Volodymyr Bushmelov / Canva)

Looking to give your old jeans a new lease on life? There’s a new way to lighten up your denim and it doesn’t involve any harsh chemicals. All you need is some salt!

In this blog post, we will discuss the science behind this surprising trick and how you can use it to lighten your jeans in just a few short hours. Keep reading to learn more!

Can You Put Denim In The Dryer
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Salt for Lightening Denim: How?

Lightening denim is to fade jeans. It is to make them look like they have been worn by you for years.

The science behind this surprising trick is that salt is a natural bleaching agent. When used in combination with water, it can help to break down the indigo dye in the fabric, resulting in a lighter overall color.

This method is simple, cheap, and effective. In just a few short hours, you can lighten your denim by several shades.

Different Ways to Lighten Denim with Salt

How To Make Your Denim Jacket Softer
Photo by Chimi Dávila on Unsplash

There are a few different ways to lighten denim with salt. You can either soak the denim in a saltwater solution or add salt to the wash cycle when you’re laundering the jeans.

What You Have to Know

Soaking in salt water

Soaking the jeans in a saltwater solution is probably the most effective way to lighten them. Just make sure that you don’t leave them in for too long, or they may fade and wear.

Add the Salt to the Wash Cycle

If you don’t want to soak your jeans, you can add salt to the wash cycle. Just add a cup or two of salt to the washing machine and your detergent.

The salt will help lighten the denim as it’s being washed.


What type of salt should be used? 

The best type of salt to use is kosher salt because it has a prominent grain size that won’t dissolve quickly and create a more pronounced fade.

Avoid using table salt, which has a small grain size and will dissolve quickly, or sea salt, which contains additives that can discolor your denim.

How long will it take for the denim to lighten?

It depends on how light you want the denim to be. It won’t take long if you’re looking for a light wash. However, if you’re aiming for a bleached look, it will take longer up to two days.

In general, it’s best to start with pre-washed denim fabric. This will help the dye set better and prevent any unwanted color bleeding.

How much salt do you need?

The water-to-bleach powder ratio will vary depending on how light you want the denim to be. A 1:1 ratio will produce a more delicate wash, while a 1:3 percentage will achieve a bleached look.

How to Lighten Denim with Salt

What You Need

Credit: canva

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • A large pot or bucket
  • A clothesline or drying rack

What to Do

denim soaking
Soaking denim. Credit: canva
  1. Dissolve the salt in the water. You can do this by stirring the salt until it’s completely dissolved. Alternatively, you can heat the water on the stove until it’s hot and then add the salt. This will help the salt dissolve more quickly. 
  2. Soak your denim item in the bucket for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The longer you soak, the lighter it will become. 
  3. Remove it from the bucket and rinse it thoroughly with clean water. 
  4. Hang it on a clothesline or drying rack in a sunny spot and allow it to air dry completely. 
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 if necessary to achieve desired results. 
  6. If you want to achieve a completely bleached look, you can soak it for up to 2 days.
  7. Once it has reached the desired shade, wash it as you normally would in cold water with a mild detergent, and then hang it to dry again. 
  8. Enjoy your new lightened denim!

To lighten denim with salt, you can soak it in salt water. The longer you soak your denim, the lighter it will become. This method is simple, cheap, and effective.


  • Don’t put them in the dryer, as this can cause the salt to set in and make the lightening effect permanent.
  • The process of lightening denim is a tricky one. It’s best to go slowly so that the lightening is even. Make sure you stir them briskly regularly for even results.
  • Be sure to test a small area first to ensure the result you want is achieved.
  • Wash thoroughly after finishing soaking. If you don’t wash your jeans in fresh, cold water, salt will likely remain. The salt can wear away, potentially shortening the lifespan of your jeans.


That’s all there is to it! In just a few simple steps, you can lighten your denim without damaging it or causing any harm to yourself or the environment.

Give it a try the next time you’re looking for a quick wardrobe update, and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Related Topics

Can You Bleach Denim?

Yes, you can. Bleaching is a chemical process that uses an oxidizing agent to remove the color from a material. There are different bleaching agents available, but chlorine is the most common.

How Do You Fade Jeans Quickly?

There are a few different ways to fade jeans quickly. One way is to use a bleach pen on the areas you want to fade. Another way is to soak the jeans in a mixture of water and vinegar.

How Long Does It Take to Bleach Jeans White?

It can take a few hours, or a few days, depending on the strength of the bleach, the darkness of the jeans, and how light you want the jeans to be.

Does Salt Water Bleach Clothes?

Yes, salt water can bleach clothes. The salt acts as a bleaching agent and can help to remove dirt and stains from fabric.

However, it’s important to note that using salt water can also damage clothes, so it’s important to use it sparingly and only when necessary.

Does Salt Set Color in Fabric?

Yes, salt can help set color in the fabric. By adding salt to the dye bath, you can fix the color in the fabric so that it doesn’t bleed or fade when washed. This is especially useful for dark colors that are prone to fading.

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