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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Dying Blue Jeans White

By Dr. Laundry January 6, 2012

Q: Can I dye blue jeans white with Clorox® Regular-Bleach?

A:  It really depends on how the jeans were made and what type of dye was used to color the blue yarns.  Depending on the dye class, the blue color could actually be safe for bleach.  On the other hand, if the blue color is from a fiber reactive dye, you probably could use bleach to strip the color, although not all the way to “white”.  You can predict the outcome with a simple bleachability test:  add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to 1/4 cup water and apply a drop to a hidden part of the jeans, like the inside hem.  Wait 1 minute and then blot dry; a light colored spot predicts the color loss you can expect from bleach (typically 5 regular washes). 

If it looks like there will be some fading, you can try to speed things up by pre-soaking the jeans in a solution of 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water for 5 minutes (make sure the jeans are completely submerged).  After 5 minutes, drain the soaking solution and then wash the jeans in a little detergent + 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Air dry the jeans, and then repeat the treatments if you are making progress.