- A bottle of bleach (the normal sized bottle that's $1.50 to $3 - I think it's less than a gallon but more than a half gallon). It makes a difference if it's fresh - it's worth it to buy a new bottle.
- A top loading washer
- An article of clothing to bleach. (Jeans)
- A wooden, metal or plastic spoon (something to push jeans down into the water)
- Get the jeans thoroughly wet. Dripping is good - don't bother wringing them out.
- Set the washing machine to fill a "small" load (but big enough to cover your jeans) with hot water.
- As it's filling with water, dump in the bottle of bleach. The whole thing.
- When it starts to agitate, open it up and add the wet jeans. (It should be well mixed). I leave the washer open to prevent it from finishing the load. I just want them to soak a while.
- Agitate just a bit to get jeans under water, and use spoon to poke jeans down. You want them completely covered with the bleach water.
- Wait 30-60 minutes, and check them - agitate them a bit, poke them down again. Repeat until they're about the lightness that you want. (My white jeans were 8+ hours in old bleach, my pale blue ones were about 3 hours in fresh bleach).
- When they're light enough, the jeans will be yellower than you want. The yellow color will fade as they dry, and with subsequent washes.
- When they are about as light as you want, let the washer finish the load. Then wash it again through the full cycle twice, with no soap (this gives them a good rinse a few times). Finally, wash them with your normal detergent.
- Online tutorials say not to dry the jeans after bleaching them (but to air dry them the first time). I dried my light blue pair in the sunlight, and my white pair in the dryer. Both worked, and once they were dry, they weren't quite as yellow. The yellow faded even more after a wash or two also.
#1 The blue ones after bleaching (and after leg alterations, fit questions below), and WIW today.
#2 The white jeans after bleaching
#3 Both jeans were this color before (I had three nearly identical pair, so I bleached two of them)
#4 is the light blue jeans fit after bleaching, before leg alteration, for reference. Obviously the light is rather different in #4 and #1.
#5-#7 are closer pics of the light blue jeans, post leg alterations, for you to judge fit better.