Denim DIY – Dip Dye Bleach Shorts

First of a few DIYs for denim that’ll I’ll be posting about for cheap super looks!

I saw these Murua denim shorts and I was in love.

However, I was not willing to pay $90 :sage: , I found them a bit too ripped :sage: , as an apple shape high-waisted and me aren’t friends :sage: , and Murua’s denim usually goes to size 0/2-2/4 (US) while I’m a size 6/8. So enter DIY!!  :peace:

I already had a pair of denim that was too boring in my closet, so I figured might as well try  :)

What you’ll need:

A bucket

A bathtub

White Vinegar

Bleach (not the color safe stuff)

A hanger with clips


Denim Shorts

Scissors (optional)

Nail Buffer (optional)

I had everything at home except for the bleach so my personal cost of materials was $3.00.

$3.00! WTF! SO CHEAP!!



Step One: Secure the Denim in the Bucket

I had an adjustable hanger which made this a breeze, any hanger with clips should work.

I did this in my bathtub, it’s best done outdoors but I live in an apartment up high and have no backyard.

Step Two: Pour in the Bleach

Fill the bucket with bleach. For this project and the size of my bucket it took all the bottle of bleach I had.

WARNING: Bleach will run! Do not fill it up to the level you want to be bleached, fill it up 2 inches lower than that or more!

With gloved hands make sure your shorts are as straight as possible in the bleach to assure a more even bleach line. If you don’t have gloves you will end up burned  :omg: So treat your pretty hands nice  :up:

Step Three: Leave soaking around 20-30 minutes

If you’re doing this in your bathroom remember to keep your door locked if you have pets and the vent fan on. Bleach can get really noxious!

I used my “stopwatch” option on my iPhone and went in every 10 minutes to check on the bleaching and make sure the hem was straight.

OPTIONAL //WARNING// Step Four: Remove, Wash and Bathe with White Vinegar

This is not a tint to my photo, the bleach looks yellow  a bit grody don’t you think :regret: That’s okay it’ll look fine soon!

Wash your shorts with water and then wash them with white vinegar and water. This stops the bleaching process. You may be thinking to yourself, “Why stop? I want them white!” It’s because bleach can create holes in your shorts and really degrade them. Don’t worry, they’ll be white!

Warning: As pointed out if you do not thoroughly wash out your bleach you will create a harmful gas (read below in comments) you must thoroughly wash out your bleach or skip the vinegar step.

Step Five: Wash your shorts!

After washing them twice in the washing machine and drying them they are pure white!

I didn’t stick by the 2 inch rule and instead read 1 on-line and learned the hard way about runny bleach. A bit higher than I wanted, but I still love them  :loveword:

Step Six: Optional – Damage them

I cut lines with scissors out then I used a rough nail buffer and started the wear. You don’t need a nail buffer, but it looks more worn and damaged that way. Just buff the hell out of the lines and poof, damage! The more you wear them, the more damaged they’ll look. I wore them twice after this so far and the lines are much more frayed and pretty.  :stepup:

I love these 10x more than the original denim and all it took was an hour total and $3.00 for me to do it. Super easy, huh?

Part of me is thinking of going back in with a light blue RIT fabric dye and creating the fade like the Murua pair, but I do really love the sharp contrast though  :up: Like a cloud-line  :lovecat:

EDIT/Disclaimer: Your shorts may turn out differently. Bleach is different. Denim is different. A year later and my shorts have held up wonderfully.  :bow:



  1. May 27, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    wow thank you for sharing ^.^ I really need to try this out :) because the dip dye trend looks so cool!

  2. May 27, 2012 / 4:09 pm

    Awesome! I have been trying to bleach and dye a pair of shorts all spring. Thanks lots!!!

  3. May 27, 2012 / 4:56 pm

    wow the DIY shorts look amazingg :) I would totally do this! Haha and I can’t believe it was only 3 bucks, thats crazy :)

  4. May 27, 2012 / 5:09 pm

    The ending result looks really nice! The white went up a bit too much indeed imo but it still looks very cute, especially with the “damaging”. I will definitely try something like this!

  5. May 27, 2012 / 8:50 pm

    WOW so easy I didn’t realize :up: totally trying this out, thanks for sharing babe! :happydance:

  6. dot
    May 27, 2012 / 9:36 pm

    so the bleach will run upward into the shorts? i think i will try this~~~ ^-^ looks so cool :D

    • Mitsu
      May 27, 2012 / 9:53 pm

      Yup! It just wants to eat anything it can find (I can sympathize)

  7. May 27, 2012 / 10:20 pm

    WOW What a way to save on cost! I definitely need to try this! $3 over $90? I’ll take it. You are the best!!

  8. May 28, 2012 / 2:23 am

    Wow, this looks so easy! I’ve got a lot of old denim in my closet so I might try it out myself :)

  9. Dimentiza
    May 28, 2012 / 2:39 am

    I tried this dip dye bleach last fall if I remember right.
    Loved the result but the shorts I bleached are a bit too big for me and I haven’t really used them.
    Maybe I’ll wear them more at summer now because they look so amazing and fierce :heartmouthguy:

  10. May 28, 2012 / 2:43 am

    Time to dig out my old denim shorts and turn them into new ones :) thanks Mitsu for the tutorial :yayyay:

  11. May 28, 2012 / 3:28 am

    wow!!!they are really cool at the end :O

  12. Rei
    May 28, 2012 / 7:45 am

    Awesome tutorial!! Definitely going to try this :-D
    I am wondering, after they are white and dry, how well a colored dye would adhere to the denim? I’ve never dyed/bleached denim before… Basically using the same method to bleach them, that way the color runs up the shorts

    • Mitsu
      May 28, 2012 / 9:25 am

      I’m unsure if the dye will run because bleach is a process of eating away and changing the molecule. Dying does not do the same process.

  13. ani
    May 28, 2012 / 7:49 pm

    they dont make clothes over size 4? are all japanese brands like this? man! out goes my dreams of buying japanese clothes, being a size 10. boo!! :'(

    • Mitsu
      May 28, 2012 / 9:51 pm

      Just denim! Some go to size 6 but it’s not often. Most 100% cotton denim is 0-2-4 or usually called xs-s-m.

  14. Lauren
    May 29, 2012 / 2:42 am

    Good tip to make the dye more of a gradient:
    Go over the line with an old toothbrush covered in bleach and you can blend the line :)
    LOVING my dip dye shorts :D

  15. May 29, 2012 / 6:24 am

    Ahhh I really wanna do that :D

  16. May 29, 2012 / 11:21 am

    I love this! They look so good. I just need some old shorts to try this on now!

  17. Grace
    May 30, 2012 / 9:23 am

    I did this and drew tribal patterns on them, I LOVE them! All my friends want some!

  18. June 13, 2012 / 9:19 am

    wow! I wanna try this! Thanks <3

  19. krisna
    June 22, 2012 / 11:48 pm

    i did everything exact and they looked so pretty! and then i put it into the washer and when i took them out, they were completely ripped and ruined!!! T____T is the bleach too strong, should i water it down?

    • Mitsu
      June 30, 2012 / 9:11 am

      You kept it in too long, not watering down but yeah don’t wait until they’re white. Wait until they’re yellow. Washing should fix the yellowing if it’s not too yellow :)

  20. Emma H
    June 30, 2012 / 8:24 am

    I did this and everything went smoothly until I washed them. I know you’re supposed to wash them a couple of times to make them white, but I’ve washed mine about 4 times now and they’re still fairly yellow. Does this mean that I didn’t bleach it long enough and I should try it again? I’m just afraid that it will eat the fabric on the bottom. Very helpful tutorial otherwise, thank you! :)

    • Mitsu
      June 30, 2012 / 9:10 am

      Yes there’s a fine line between over bleaching which krisna did and what you did. Maybe just 2-3 minutes is good? Mine have stayed white and intact thus far! :D

  21. pahola
    July 20, 2012 / 8:32 am

    i dont have the white viger currently at my home but i reallyy wanna try this now! ive been waiting for a good turtial thank you so much! yours was so orginized and now i know what to be careful with again thanks and hope u reply!

  22. Harri
    July 27, 2012 / 8:07 am

    Thanks a lot :D this is really useful and looks fab :D
    If I was to bleach the entirety of the shorts, would I be able to dye them different colours?

    • Mitsu
      July 27, 2012 / 12:58 pm

      Yes, but just be wary of the zipper. Bleach degrades zippers.

  23. Caity
    July 29, 2012 / 9:06 am

    When you wash them the first time do you put detergent in? And when you wash them with vinegar do you put it in the washer where the detergent would go? :o

    • Mitsu
      July 29, 2012 / 12:14 pm

      I put vinegar on in the bath IMMEDIATELY after bleaching and wash them out there. Then I was them with detergent in the washing machine.

  24. Jamie
    July 29, 2012 / 10:50 pm

    Hi! I dipped the shorts in bleach for about 3 minutes, took them out rinsed them with water, then rinsed them with the water/white vinegar solution. After that I put them in the wash and when they were done I took them out but they were still yellow… how do I make them white???

    • Mitsu
      July 30, 2012 / 9:08 am

      3 minutes was way too short, more like 10 :(

  25. Olivia
    July 30, 2012 / 9:54 am

    is it just normal bleach you use? I’m so desperate to try this, not willing to pay ridiculous prices for a job that can be done at home!

    • Mitsu
      July 30, 2012 / 11:11 am

      yes the non colorsafe type, i think i choose the more thick formula just because i found it easier to apply

  26. Clara
    August 6, 2012 / 4:53 pm

    this worked so well thanks so much!

  27. August 10, 2012 / 7:02 am

    Great tutorial, I love the result. I was just looking for inspiration for a bleach DIY and this is just perfect. Let’s see what comes out!

    I also have a DIY fashion blog, hope you can stop by

  28. zoe
    August 14, 2012 / 9:42 pm

    i heard that mixing bleach and vinegar makes a slightly lethal poison! will it still be like that?

  29. Hanna
    August 27, 2012 / 9:05 pm

    Made 3 pairs! One turned out a little yellow even after washing, one were totally destroyed in the wash, and another e bleach soaked in too high :(

  30. Meg
    September 1, 2012 / 10:19 pm

    whats the difference between white vinegar and white wine vinegar, can you wash them with the wine vinegar?

  31. Joi
    September 9, 2012 / 6:10 pm

    Mixing bleach and vinegar is lethal! It creates dangerous fumes that you cannot breathe in! Look on the side of the bleach bottle and it says not to mix with any acids. You can stop the bleaching with regular hydrogen peroxide from the drug store or you can dissolve powdered oxi-clean in water which turns into peroxide and use that.

  32. Hel
    September 22, 2012 / 5:04 pm

    I really like this idea and want to try it with an old blue demin mens shirt. I was just wondering how much vinegar you use to wash the shorts afterwards and whether its to be diluted with water or not? Do you rinse them with pure vinegar first? And is it ok to do this in a shower basin rather than bath tub?… i have no bath :( please and thanks! ^_^

  33. Pingback: bleach | Wham Bam
  34. Pjeans
    December 6, 2012 / 10:35 am

    Thanks for doing this ! It really helped me as i only saw them today and want to do this! Yay

  35. Tsurgest
    December 23, 2012 / 7:39 pm

    THESE ARE SO CUTE!! ive been trying to dso this for spring but now i know! thank you >.<

    • Mitsu
      December 27, 2012 / 2:14 pm

      Just in time to be ready for next Spring :)

  36. Melissa
    January 28, 2013 / 11:45 pm

    Thanks so much they look great im going to try this on my denim skirt.

  37. Esther
    February 8, 2013 / 6:14 pm

    take it thin bleach takes longer? mine have been in for an hour and it still isnt yellow

  38. Joanna
    February 16, 2013 / 8:05 pm

    Thanks for this! Hahaha I just did mine and I didn’t know you had to use white vinegar but glad I saw this. I’m a little scared to put them in the wash because mines are already white after I hand washed them with water and the water/vinegar solution. I don’t want to put them in the wash and end up with a mess. LOL. The bleach ran too high on my shorts too tho… haha.

  39. Shelby
    March 2, 2013 / 11:24 pm

    I did this but when I put the vinegar in the tub I started coughing like no tomorrow! Turns out I got a chemical burn in my lungs! Definitely explain how much to use! The turned out great but I’m in so much pain now…

  40. Olivia Richter
    March 6, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    I just did mine and they’re perfect! I didn’t have as much bleach as I thought I did and I didn’t have a car to go get some more, so I might redo them a little bit. The bleach didnt go as high as I hoped it would. I just think I didn’t use enough. But otherwise they turned out great! I used a pair of old jeans and I just cut them into shorts and then bleached them. I’m so happy with them! Thanks for the tutorial!

  41. sharnee
    March 26, 2013 / 4:39 pm

    Im the same, the shape of all the high wasted shorts and tie dyed ones just don’t agree with me. This should defiantly solve my problem, cant wait to try it out !!

  42. Random girl lol
    March 27, 2013 / 12:55 pm

    I’m trying it now. hope it really works!!!(:

  43. April 2, 2013 / 11:29 am

    can you use apple cider vinegar

  44. Julie
    April 6, 2013 / 3:00 pm

    what if i dont have bleach :(??

  45. Timmy
    April 12, 2013 / 3:52 pm

    Mixing bleach and vinegar creates a toxic gas that will kill you

    • Mitsu
      April 15, 2013 / 10:29 am

      I did not say mix. I said wash out chlorine use vinegar. Do not add one to the other. But I’ll link this and warn people.

      • Amanda
        April 24, 2013 / 3:54 pm

        “That stupid” oow. Not really necessary but thanks for pointing that out. And awesome job on the shorts Mitsu! I love them.

  46. Lindsey
    May 14, 2013 / 10:11 pm

    When I tried to rinse my shorts the fabric ripped apart. And I left it in for not even twenty minutes.

  47. Sher
    May 16, 2013 / 1:56 pm

    How much white vinegar do i use ? and just to make sure i wash them with just water and then wash them with the vinegar?

  48. Kaitlyn
    May 25, 2013 / 11:45 am

    So I bleached the shorts and I left them there for a while because they were really dark and now it’s mostly yellow. How can I fix that?

    • Mitsu
      May 27, 2013 / 12:16 pm

      More bleach. Yellow is the cause of not enough bleach.

      • Laura
        June 20, 2013 / 3:57 pm

        Yellowing is from over bleaching, if you watch really carefully youll see the stage where the yellow startsshowing up, bleaching them more at this point will just make hem more yellow, its a chemical reaction from the bleach, what I do is try to take them out when I see yellowing (i always end up with a bit, rinse them really really well then use a colour remover in boiling water, it will take a lot of the yellow tinge out. Warning: don’t use bleach and colour remover at the same time, the sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and sodium hydrosulphite (colour remover) will react with one another and cancel each other out, so I always make sure the bleach is washed out really well first and the clothing dried before starting a new chemical process. Also you can use a whitener with optical pigments in the rinse cycle, I know Tintex makes one, and im pretty sure Rit does also, I think Dylon probably does as well. Hope all this helps! I bleach denim all the time, probably 4 things in the last week or two!! :) You can’t have summertime without throwing some white denim into the wardrobe!!

  49. Amana
    May 30, 2013 / 1:41 pm

    I was just wondering how long this took you?

    • Mitsu
      May 31, 2013 / 11:50 am

      About 2 hours? It wasn’t that long.

  50. Trinity
    June 7, 2013 / 6:35 pm

    uhh is it all right if i cut rips in it while its wet ? well i woudnt say wet but damped ?

  51. June 18, 2013 / 4:49 pm

    why do u need vinager!?!?!

    • Mitsu
      June 18, 2013 / 5:37 pm

      It’s not necessary but it can stop the bleaching process asap. Be safe with it. It’s best just to quick as possible rinse them out several times then immediately wash them.

  52. June 18, 2013 / 5:02 pm

    Also what do u wash them with in the washing machine!?!?!

    • Mitsu
      June 18, 2013 / 5:36 pm

      Just alone with laundry soap.

  53. June 22, 2013 / 5:36 pm

    when I cut the shorts I kept one of the legs so I could test it. I want all the parts of the shorts white. the shorts I’m using are not denium there kind of a dark baby blue so… colored jeans.
    anyway I put the pant leg in my bathtub and poured bleach on it I came back about 10 min. later and it was bright yellow? is there something I’m doing wrong? I just want a way that will make them bright white when I actually put my shorts in the bleach I haven’t yet because I didn’t want to ruin them

  54. Jacqueline
    June 29, 2013 / 8:20 am

    If you dry the jeans in the dryer will they fall apart..?

    • Mitsu
      June 30, 2013 / 12:12 pm

      My jeans have been washed and dried in a dryer for the last year and still good.

  55. Chelsea
    July 17, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    Everything went perfectly but when I rinsed off my shorts in a water + vinegar mixture, the part that was still blue faded and tinted orange /: help?

    • Lesly
      August 2, 2013 / 9:10 am

      I had the same problem! Mine are in the washing machine now so I’ll see how they turned out when that’s done, but the vinegar soak turned my blue parts orange too :(

  56. Abby
    August 1, 2013 / 7:09 pm

    I didn’t use the bucket one. I put bleach with a little bit of water in a spray bottle, and went outside and sprayed them like crazy! Then I rinsed them in ice cold water. I made the holes where I wanted them to be. Then I washed them (By themselves) And Bam! They came out looking gooooood! But, I like your idea too! :)

  57. August 7, 2013 / 2:32 am

    I bleached my shorts and it turned yellow

  58. August 7, 2013 / 2:33 am

    It became yellow :( what should i do to make it perfect white?

    • Mitsu
      August 7, 2013 / 3:11 pm

      Bleach more. Each denim is different.

      • May 20, 2015 / 10:57 pm

        My shorts turned to yellow? What will i do? Please HELP!

        • Mitsu
          May 21, 2015 / 12:18 am

          Not enough bleach. Wash them a few more times or bleach again

  59. August 7, 2013 / 2:35 am

    What is the right measurement of water and bleach to make it white?

  60. true
    August 7, 2013 / 8:24 am

    Hi, i used vinegar knowing the risks but i washed it out eith sopa i didnt know that it could kill u but before i did it i washed the shorts with sopa and rinsed alot will i be okay? I also held my beath because i hate the smell of vinegar. Will i be okay? I didnt have gloves

  61. Ellie
    May 4, 2014 / 8:07 pm

    Mine turned out great. But then when I washed them they ripped all over

    • Mitsu
      May 4, 2014 / 8:37 pm

      I think you may have over bleached them. Mine were cheap denim and have still lasted.

  62. dakotah
    July 27, 2014 / 1:17 am

    if you put about a teaspoon of laundry detergent… they wont be yellow

  63. unknown
    August 28, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    mine ripped off aswell :( even right after leaving it after 15 minutes

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