Bleaching Out Color

Q:  How do I bleach out all the color from a blue jumpsuit?  I need a white costume?

A:  This sounds like a great project--I would love to know what the final costume will be.  You might be able to use Clorox® Regular Bleach to strip the blue color from your jumpsuit if the dye is not color fast.  You can test first by applying a drop of a solution of 2 teaspoons bleach added to 1/4 cup water.  Wait 1 minute and then blot dry.  Normally at this point I advise that "no color change means the item can be safely bleached" but in your case, a loss of color indicates that a bleach soak should remove the color.  In this case, you would proceed by soaking the jumpsuit, fully submerged, in a solution of 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water.  Rinse thoroughly, and let the jumpsuit air dry.  At this point, you can assess your progress, and if necessary, repeat the treatment.  You could also try RIT Color Remover, and may be effective if the blue dye cannot be extracted with Clorox® Regular-Bleach.

Here are some additional tips:


  • If the jumpsuit is made of polyester or a poly/cotton blend, you probably cannot strip the color since polyester is most commonly colored before it is made into fibers.

  • If the jumpsuit is constructed with polyester thread, you may get the fabric white but any thread that shows will remain blue.

  • If the jumpsuit contains any spandex (Lycra) the bleach soak will damage it, so if this is the case a bleach soak is not an option.

  • The jumpsuit may change color instead of losing color with the bleach treatment.  For example, blue can shift to yellow or even pink after bleaching.

  • Repeating bleach treatments to achieve a desired result is more effective than working with a stronger-than-recommended concentration that is not safe for fabric in the long run.

  • If you end up with a "cream" colored jumpsuit you might be able to get it to white with an overnight pre-soak in Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster.


Does anyone else have a fun project using bleach?

Posted to , , by Dr. Laundry