Create bleach spots exactly where you want with a spray bottle.

How to Bleach Shorts With a Spray Bottle

by S.R. Becker

Tossing a pair of too-dark shorts into the washing machine with lots of bleach may lighten them, but it won't create a strategic design. Dripping bleach on is imprecise. A spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle allows you to control the direction, size and pattern of the bleach spots on your shorts. Cotton shorts, such as jean or twill shorts, are ideal canvases for spray-bleach designs. Give old clothes new life by creating your own bleach patterns.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves and mix 1/2 cup of bleach with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Take the bleach water outside and spread a large garbage bag on the ground.

Wet the shorts under running water or by washing them in a washing machine. Wring out the excess water and lay the damp shorts on the bag. If you want to keep the bleach from seeping through, slide a layer plastic grocery bags inside the shorts.

Set the nozzle of the spray bottle to a direct stream for specific designs like dots. Set it to a fine mist if your goal is to give the shorts an overall, mottled fade.

Spray the shorts however you like. If you want specific designs, hold the bottle closer to the fabric. If you want an overall fade, hold the bottle farther away.

Allow the shorts to dry. If you want a separate design on the back, turn the shorts over after allowing them to dry in the sun for 15 to 30 minutes. Spray the designs on the other side and allow the shorts to finish drying.

Wash the shorts in the washing machine with laundry detergent and hang them or put them in the dryer to dry.

Items you will need

  • Liquid chlorine bleach
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Plastic grocery bags


  • Always wear old clothes when working with bleach.

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 Images/Comstock/Getty Images