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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

DIY: From the Runway to Your Closet

By Dr. Laundry February 15, 2012

With all the looks coming down the runway during Fashion Week, my inner designer is itching to share some creations! Tomorrow, Fashion Week will come to a close, but not before a very important show that Clorox is helping to sponsor. On February 16th at 3pm ET you can tune in to Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show. There will be some great DIY looks heading down the runway from Clorox, and for those of you who want to stay on trend this season we pulled together a few tips to help create a look of your own.

Vintage Flashback:  DIY Reverse Tie-Dye


  • Using thick thread or a rubber band, start to bind areas of a 100% cotton t-shirt into knots. You have to bind the shirt very tightly; otherwise the bleach solution will get under the bound parts and won’t provide the desired effect.

  • To diversify the look, take bigger pieces and bind it in two or even three places; and then in other places just bind a tiny area. In other words, mix it up!

  • Next, dip the shirt into a bleach soaking solution of: ¼ cup bleach per gallon of water.  If a smaller amount of bleach solution is needed, then you can use 1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water.

  • You may need to use something to fully submerge the shirt such as a spoon, plate, etc. Let it sit 5-15 minutes. If discoloration is slow, be prepared to repeat the treatment, but don’t use a stronger bleach solution.

  • Once you achieve the desired effect, take the item out of the bleach solution and rinse thoroughly. Remove the threads and/or rubber bands and rinse thoroughly once more.

  • Tumble or air dry the item.  To completely stop the bleach reaction wash the item one additional time using Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster


Remember to always work in a well ventilated area and wear gloves if you are going to expose your skin to the bleach solution for a prolonged period.  Below are some additional best practices tips for successful DIY projects:

  • Check care labels to confirm textiles/garments are 100% cotton.

  • Before any DIY project, wash items by hand with a very small amount of laundry detergent in luke warm water and then rinse and air dry.

  • Always use a bleach-and-water solution; never apply undiluted bleach to any textile since yellowing or holes might develop over time.

  • Use the bleachability test to determine the item’s colorfastness to bleach before starting.  This way you’ll have an idea of how much work it will take to get the color change you desire – or if it will change at all!  To test for colorfastness

    • Add 2 teaspoons bleach to ¼ cup water

    • Apply a drop of this solution to a hidden part of the item

    • Wait 1 minute, blot dry and observe any color change

    • A large difference means the item will respond quickly to bleach, while a small difference may indicate several treatments may be necessary before getting a more dramatic color change




Don’t forget to follow the show on Twitter with the hashtag #strutmoms. I’ll be live-tweeting as the show goes on! For more information on Strut, check out the moms behind the show here: http://www.thefashionablemomshow.com/