Remove the color from shorts with liquid chlorine bleach.

How to Bleach Colored Shorts

by S.R. Becker

If you love your shorts but don't love the color, liquid chlorine bleach is the answer. Bleach strips color from durable fabrics, such as cotton or denim, allowing you to re-dye your shorts or give them a faded, worn-in look. Submerging your shorts in bleach water lightens them quickly. There's no need to spend months wearing and washing your shorts to give them a worn-in look. Take jean shorts from indigo to weathered in just a few hours, or prepare your shorts for a different color dye.

Fill a bathtub one-quarter of the way with hot water. Put on a pair of rubber gloves, and pour in 1-cup of bleach. Stir the water with your hands to mix in the bleach.

Lay the shorts flat in the bleach-filled bathtub. Smooth out any wrinkles to prevent uneven bleaching.

Turn the shorts over after one hour. Continue checking the shorts every hour and turning them as needed. Stir them through the bleach water every time.

Drain the water from the tub when your shorts are as light as you want them to be. Turn the faucet on, and rinse the shorts thoroughly. Squeeze out any excess water.

Wash your shorts in the washing machine by themselves. Set the machine for an extra-small load, and use hot water and scented laundry detergent, which will help remove the bleach smell.

Hang the shorts to dry in the sun, and leave them there all day. The sun can help fade the shorts even more, particularly if it's very bright.

Items you will need

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Rubber gloves
  • Laundry detergent


  • Do not bleach delicate fabrics such as rayon, silk or wool. If you're unsure whether or not bleach will destroy your shorts, clip a small piece of fabric from an inside hem, and bleach it as a test.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images