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How to Make Clothes Look Really Worn and Dirty

Articles of clothing that look worn, distressed or vintage can make a high-style fashion statement. Clothing manufacturers employ a variety of techniques to give new garments that already worn look. Making your own clothes look worn can be as simple as doing a load of laundry. With a few everyday items from around your home, there are many things you can do to your clothes to make them appear worn, dirty and old.

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  1. Machine wash clothing three times in hot water with washing powder. This will help remove any chemical residue from manufacturing and will wash out any excess dye. Dry by machine, or line dry if required for proper care according to garment label.

  2. Fill your kitchen sink with hot water. Add six to 12 teabags to the water. Stir the water with a spoon to make sure the tea mixes in evenly.

  3. Submerge your clothing into the tea bath. Allow the clothing to soak for a minimum of one hour. The longer they soak, the more the clothes will take on a dingy colour that makes them look old and dirty.

  4. Remove clothing from the water. Rinse the clothing under a steady stream of cold water to remove excess tea.

  5. Dry the clothing by machine, or line dry.

  6. Distress the clothes with sandpaper. Rub the sandpaper on areas that normally show wear; such as the elbow, knees and hems of your garment.

  7. Tear and cut holes in the clothes. Use your finger to pull the loose threads from holes so they look even more frayed.

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Things You'll Need

  • Washing powder
  • Tea bags
  • Sandpaper

About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.

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