How to Mineral Wash A Shirt The Easy Way

Fabric displaying the weathered effect of the mineral wash technique

Mineral washing is a technique used to give a vintage, weathered look to your clothing. This style was popular during the 1980s punk scene. It is a variation of bleach-dyeing.

The washed out, bleached denim stood out from conventional jeans. It is still very much a part of youth culture and is enjoyed today together like other forms of tie-dye.

How to Mineral Wash Clothing Easily

Grab a 100% cotton shirt, bleach, and a sponge. Spray or pour bleach onto a sponge or foam block. Rub the sponge against the fabric. Wait for the bleach to make the dye fade. Make sure to always wear gloves when handling bleach.

  1. Get your supplies
  2. Prepare a 1:1 bleach and water solution
  3. Spray or pour the bleach solution on a sponge
  4. Scrub the shirt with the sponge
  5. Continue scrubbing and working the shirt until satisfied
  6. Turn over the shirt and scrub the back
  7. Wait 10 minutes or until the color fades enough to your liking
  8. Rinse off the bleach
  9. Soak the shirt in hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the bleach
  10. Rinse and wash the shirt, tumble dry

Mineral Washing Step by Step

Now let’s look at the mineral wash process in more details. Follow these steps and you’ll have a personalized wardrobe in no time.

What You’ll Need

There’s only a few supplies you need. This is the short list:

Prepare a Bleach Solution

Mix together 1 cup of bleach and 1 cup of water. We need to dilute the bleach so it isn’t as strong. This will give us more time to work on the shirt.

Spray the Bleach Solution on a Sponge

Put some bleach on the sponge. Pour or spray some bleach solution so it soaks into the sponge. The goal is for the sponge to absorb some amount of the discharge agent.

The more bleach is in the sponge, the more it will fade the color on the shirt. You can adjust the amount of discoloration by changing the amount of bleach on your sponge.

Scrub the Shirt with the Sponge

Use your bleach-filled sponge to rub the shirt. Rub the shirt randomly with the sponge. Continue working the shirt. You will soon see the color start changing.

Continue Scrubbing Until the Color Starts to Change

Continue scrubbing and poking at the shirt with the bleach-soaked sponge until you are satisfied with the changes.

Apply more bleach when necessary. You may need to stop and refill the bleach on the sponge from time to time.

Turn Over the Shirt and Scrub the Bakc

Once the front side is faded to your liking, you want to turn over the shirt. We are gonna do the same thing on the back of the shirt.

Repeat the same process you did with the front. Make sure you have enough bleach on your sponge. Start scrubbing the back and stop when you are satisfied.

Wait 10 Minutes for the Color to Change

Monitor the shirt for a few minutes and watch as it’s color changes. You can stop this process at any time. Wait until it reaches the color you desire.

Rinse off the Bleach

Rinse the shirt under running water to remove most of the bleach. Rinse the shirt for 2-3 minutes under the faucet. Open up the shirt and expose every part of it to the water.

Neutralize the Bleach with Hydrogen Peroxide

Soak the shirt in hydrogen peroxide. This will preserve the fabric from the damaging effects of the bleach.

This step is optional but recommended. If not neutralized, the bleach will eat away at the fabric and make holes in the coming months.

Rinse, Wash, and Dry the Shirt

Rinse the shirt to remove the hydrogen peroxide from the previous step. Wash the shirt in the washing machine for a full cycle on cold setting. Use your detergent of choice. Line or tumble dry.

Can you Mineral Wash a T-Shirt with Graphic?

Yes, you can mineral wash a shirt with a graphic on it. Feel free to use a shirt with your favorite band or TV show graphic.

As part of the process, the bleach will react with the graphic. Depending on its type, the graphic will crack and peel, adding to the vintage look.

Can you Mineral Wash other Colors than Black?

Yes, you can mineral wash any color shirt you desire. Dark colors are most often used such as black, grey, dark blue, but any color will work.

Can you Mineral Wash a Tie-dye Shirt?

Yes, you can mineral wash a tie-dye shirt. It’s as easy as doing both processes one after the other. You can also tie-dye a shirt that has been mineral washed.

How to Acid Wash Easily

Acid washing, also called stone washing is very similar to mineral washing. It is somewhat of an older technique but works just as well. Make sure to always wear gloves when handling bleach.

Acid washing uses bleach and pumice stones to achieve a weathered look. The pumice stone will grate against the fabric, softening and eroding it while the bleach fades the color.

  1. Prepare a 1:1 bleach and water solution
  2. Soak the pumice stones in the solution for 6 hours
  3. Scrub the shirt with a bleached-soaked pumice stone
  4. Continue scrubbing and working the shirt until satisfied
  5. Turn over the shirt and scrub the back with the pumice stone
  6. Wait 10 minutes or until the color fades enough to your liking
  7. Rinse off the bleach
  8. Soak the shirt in hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the bleach
  9. Rinse and wash the shirt, tumble dry

Acid Wash Supplies

If you want that unique piece. You can mineral wash or acid wash t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, denim vests, canvas shoes, and more. Feel free to use an old piece of clothing for that added worn out look.

  1. Cotton shirt
  2. Bleach
  3. Pumice stones
  4. Gloves
  5. Hydrogen peroxide
  6. Plastic tub

Pumice stones are porous, abrasive stones that result from the contact of lava with water. They are able to soak in the bleach in their pores and are abrasive enough to weather fabric.

What Fabric Can you Mineral Wash and Acid Wash?

Always use 100% cotton clothing. Start with cheap cotton shirts so you learn the technique. Transition to more unique items when you have the chance. Nothing beats vintage jeans or denim jacket.

You can mineral wash and acid wash cotton, linen, hemp.

Can you Mineral Wash Polyester?

It is not recommended to mineral wash or acid wash polyester fabric. All synthetics are weak to bleach and get easily damaged by it.