Quick & Easy Guide How To Acid Wash A Shirt

Ricardo Seco 21 Nov, 2023 Blog

In the world of fashion, creativity knows no bounds. One intriguing technique that has made a comeback is acid washing, where a compound like phosphoric acid is used to create unique patterns and color effects on clothing. Not only does acid washing add a touch of individuality to your wardrobe, but it can also be a powerful stain remover and whitener, all achieved in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. The best part? It’s surprisingly easy to master. Let’s dive into the world of acid washing and discover how to acid wash a shirt!

Things to know before learning how to acid wash a shirt

Acid washing is a distinctive finishing technique that imparts a faded, vintage look to the fabric. This process typically involves treating the material with bleach and acid. During the acid washing procedure, specific areas of the fabric lose color, resulting in unique patterns and a weathered appearance. Originally popularized with denim, this method has expanded its versatility to include other types of fabrics such as cotton, polyester, and even some blends, allowing for a broader range of fashion applications. Modern variations of acid washing often use more environmentally friendly methods and chemicals, reflecting a growing awareness of sustainable practices in the textile industry.

What is an acid wash in fashion?

Acid wash, a fashion trend that surged in popularity during the 1980s, continues to hold a significant place in contemporary fashion. This style is synonymous with a vintage or retro aesthetic and is a prevalent choice in streetwear and casual attire. Over the years, acid-washed garments have evolved, blending traditional techniques with modern design elements. This evolution has kept them relevant and in demand, particularly among those who appreciate classic and contemporary styles. Wholesale suppliers, recognizing the enduring appeal of acid wash, often maintain a dedicated inventory catering to vintage enthusiasts. This ensures that retailers can readily meet the demands of a diverse consumer base that values the unique, aged look that acid wash provides.

Explore the fascinating world of shirt printing techniques – delve deeper into ‘The 6 Most Popular Types Of Shirt Printing Are The Most Used‘ now!

Trending brands for bulk acid wash tees

In today’s fashion landscape, where the vintage aesthetic is highly coveted, online retailers can significantly benefit from stocking acid-washed tees. Here are some notable brands offering quality options for bulk purchases:

  • Comfort Colors. Known for its rich color palette and soft fabric, Comfort Colors is a go-to for those seeking a blend of style and comfort. Their t-shirts, ideal for everyday wear, offer a great canvas for acid wash treatments, appealing to vintage style enthusiasts.
  • Next Level Apparel. Next Level Apparel stands out with its modern designs and premium fabric quality. It’s a top pick for fashion-forward consumers who don’t want to compromise on comfort. Their range is particularly suited for those looking to add a contemporary twist to the classic acid-wash look.
  • A4 Apparel. For a more active demographic, A4 Apparel’s range is perfect. Their t-shirts are designed for performance and durability, making them suitable for sports or active wear. These qualities make them a practical choice for acid wash treatments, combining rugged appeal with functionality.
  • Gildan. Gildan’s reputation for quality and comfort makes it a reliable choice. Their extensive range of t-shirts caters to various styles, making them a versatile option for businesses looking to offer a broad selection of acid-washed apparel.

Each of these brands brings something unique to the table, allowing retailers to diversify their acid wash tee offerings. With the right selection, retailers can effectively tap into the market’s growing demand for vintage-inspired fashion.

Updated acid-washing techniques for various fabrics

Bleach & Acid Ratios

  • Ring-Spun Cotton T-Shirts. Use a 1:1 ratio of bleach and muriatic acid.
  • Denim or Jeans. Opt for a 3:2 ratio of bleach to muriatic acid.
  • Synthetic Fabrics. A 3:2 ratio of bleach to sulfuric acid is recommended.
  • Application Method. Apply the acid mix with a spray bottle or sponge, ensuring even distribution. Let the fabric sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
  • Size Consideration. Maintain the bleach ratio irrespective of the clothing size, as altering it does not affect the outcome on larger garments.

Acid Washing Synthetic Fabrics

  • Technique Variation. Synthetic fabrics like polyester require sulfuric acid for effective acid washing.
  • Cold Water Washing.  Wash these fabrics in cold water to prevent damage.
  • Safety Precautions.  Always use protective gear like rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask due to the harsh nature of sulfuric acid.

Acid Washing Denim or Jeans

  • Effect Variation. The acid wash effect on denim ranges from subtle to highly distressed, depending on the application technique.
  • Skill Requirement. Successful acid washing of denim requires experience, as the process can be unpredictable
  • Fabric Protection.  It’s vital to choose the appropriate acid type for denim and observe safety precautions.

Acid Washing Cotton T-Shirts

  • Process Details.  This involves washing cotton fabric with bleach and muriatic acid to create a vintage look.
  • Acid Type. Muriatic acid is suitable for cotton.
  • Post-Washing Care. Post acid washing, wash the cotton t-shirt separately in mild detergent and cold water to preserve the fabric’s integrity.

These updated techniques and considerations ensure a safer, more environmentally conscious approach to acid washing, while still achieving the unique and stylish outcomes desired in fashion.

How to wash a T-shirt with acid?

Method for Acid-Washing a T-Shirt Using a Bleach Spray

Step 1: Prepare the Bleach Solution

Mix a solution of bleach and water in the spray bottle. The ratio should be close to equal parts, but you can adjust slightly depending on the desired intensity of the acid-wash effect.

Step 2: Prepare the T-Shirt

  • Submerge the T-shirt in water to dampen it. This helps in achieving a more even bleach effect.
  • Lay the T-shirt flat on your chosen work surface. Ensure it is smooth and wrinkle-free for an even application.

Step 3: Spray the T-Shirt

  • While wearing gloves and protective eyewear, spray the bleach solution onto the T-shirt. Focus on areas you want to lighten more. Remember that random spraying can result in a unique and bold pattern.
  • Avoid over-saturating any one area to prevent excessive bleaching.

Step 4: Allow Time for Bleaching

  • Let the T-shirt sit with the bleach solution for at least 10 minutes. The longer it sits, the lighter the bleached areas will become.
  • For a more intense effect, you can apply a second round of spray after the first 10 minutes and then wait another 10 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse and Wash

  • After the bleaching process, thoroughly rinse the T-shirt in a tub or bucket of fresh water. Do not re-use the water from the first rinse, as it contains bleach.
  • After rinsing, wash the T-shirt in cold water either by hand or in a washing machine to remove any remaining bleach.

This updated method focuses on improved safety measures, such as the use of gloves and protective eyewear, and emphasizes the importance of a well-ventilated workspace. Additionally, the steps are refined for a more controlled and effective acid-washing process.

 Acid-Wash Technique Using Tie-Dye Method

Step 1: Prepare the T-Shirt

Twist or crumple your T-shirt into a desired shape. Secure the shape using rubber bands. Unlike traditional tie-dye, there’s no need for complex twisting techniques.

Step 2: Mix Bleach Solution

In a bucket, mix equal parts of bleach and water. Stir the solution gently. Ensure you’re wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area.

Step 3: Soak the T-Shirt

Submerge the crumpled T-shirt in the bleach solution, ensuring it’s fully soaked. Leave the T-shirt in the solution for a specific duration depending on the desired bleach intensity (suggested 10-30 minutes).

Step 4: Remove and Hang the T-Shirt
Carefully remove the T-shirt from the solution and remove the rubber bands. Hang the T-shirt in an appropriate area where bleach drips won’t cause damage. Let it drip and start to dry.

Step 5: Additional Bleaching (Optional)
After letting the shirt dry for about 10-20 minutes, you can optionally add more bleach. Using a spoon or a cap, sprinkle pure bleach onto the shirt for added effects. Repeat this step as desired, waiting 10 minutes between applications.

Step 6: Rinse, Wash, and Dry

  • Once the bleaching process is complete, rinse the T-shirt thoroughly in a tub of clean water. Squeeze out excess water
  • Wash the T-shirt in a washing machine on a cold cycle to remove all bleach residue
  • Hang the T-shirt to dry completely before wearing it.

This updated method focuses on safety and environmental considerations and provides clearer instructions for each step to achieve a more effective and controlled acid-washing effect.


In conclusion, learning how to acid wash a shirt using these updated methods can transform a simple T-shirt into a unique fashion statement. Whether you prefer the spray bottle technique or the tie-dye method with rubber bands, each approach offers a creative way to achieve that trendy acid-wash look. For more inspiration and to explore a range of beautifully crafted T-shirts, visit Ricardo Seco Shop. Their website is a treasure trove of useful information and stylish designs that can ignite your creativity.