Aging T-Shirts In Six Easy Steps: Conclusion (Part 8)

two stacks of folded t-shirts of all colors

Teeing Off

And with that, we’ve arrived at our final chapter of How to Age Tee Shirts At Home (the Found Item way). We hoped you’ve enjoyed our presentation. With any luck, we’ll return in 2012 with a second batch of stress tests to further advance our scholarship in this field…

Until then, let us quickly recap our findings:

1. Acetone: highly effective at stripping color from the screen print, less so with the actual garment; must be applied topically; can also be paired in conjunction with all of the other techniques outlined in this project, save for Muriatic Acid.

2. Bleach: an excellent tool for dulling bright colors. As with Acetone, can be employed in tandem with the other techniques such as sandpaper to achieve a more convincing state of distress. Cons: difficult to achieve a balanced application; somewhat toxic.

3. Muriatic Acid: not effective, would not recommend.

4. Salt & Washing Soda: most effective when used in tandem with Acetone and/or sandpaper. Also begs the question: is the wash cycle a true shortcut or is it cheating?

5. Sandpaper: quite possibly, the most immediate technique of those listed here, but also the one likely to cause more harm to your garment than you’d like. Future efforts will try to refine the approach, and we’re also interested in exploring the potential application of rotary tools such as dremels and sanders.

6. Vinegar & Tea Soak: Will give your tee a dingy, stressed appearance; requires time and patience; works better when grouped with the techniques listed above, save again for Muriatic Acid.

Future avenues of study will likely entail the following: rock tumblers, buckshot, dremels, razor blades, oven bake, hot acids, etc. etc. etc.


“The Evolution of the Tee Shirt”, New York Magazine

“Instant Vintage”, Men’s Health Magazine

“How to Age a Tee Shirt With Vinegar”, eHow

“Cotton Factoids”,