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Ask Dr. Laundry

The Perfect Holiday Gift

By Dr. Laundry December 5, 2012

The perfect holiday gift—it should be personal, one-of-a-kind, and not outrageously expensive. Oh, and of course you want the recipient to totally LOVE it!  Well, I’ve got a gift suggestion that could be all that: a beautiful striped scarf you customize yourself with my favorite product, Clorox® Regular-Bleach. It’s so simple to make–an inexpensive scarf (both cotton and rayon work well) is folded into pleats, partially dipped in a bleach solution, and then rinsed with hydrogen peroxide to stop the bleaching action. Ready to try this easy DIY project at home?  Here’s a list of supplies and step-by-step instructions.  Send me a picture of your beautiful creation—no two scarves will turn out the same!

Materials


  1. Scarf in a solid color, made of cotton or rayon

  2. Clorox® Regular-Bleach  –or–  New Concentrated Clorox® Regular-Bleach

  3. Large quart-sized glass measuring cup or 6 cup plastic bowl

  4. Measuring spoons

  5. Rubber bands

  6. 3-4 quarts of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

  7. Plastic dishpan for rinsing


Instructions

  • Fold the scarf evenly into pleats. Try to make each fold the same size, and if you’d like the ends of the scarf to match, be sure you have an odd number of folds.

  • Secure half of the scarf with rubber bands (this helps keep any fringe from falling into the bleach solution.

  • Pour the hydrogen peroxide into the dishpan; set aside (but within easy reach).

  • Measure 1 quart of water into the large glass measuring cup or plastic bowl, and add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) Clorox® Regular-Bleach; stir gently to mix.  (Note:  if you are using New Concentrated Clorox® Regular-Bleach, use 3 tablespoons bleach per quart of water.)

  • Now the fun part: dip the scarf halfway into the bleach solution and hold it there for a few seconds, then gently dip it up and down so the bleach solution reaches all the folds.

  • After 15 seconds, lift the scarf out of the bleach solution, carefully holding it over the bleach solution to catch drips.

  • Dip the bleached portion of the scarf completely into the dishpan with the hydrogen peroxide and swirl it around for at least 15 seconds.

  • Remove the rubber bands and add the entire scarf to the hydrogen peroxide.

  • Pour off the hydrogen peroxide and rinse the scarf very thoroughly.

  • Air dry.


Other considerations

–The more pleats you fold, the more stripes you will get. A 3% hydrogen peroxide is sold in quarts at larger retailers like Target. You can also find smaller sizes at your local drugstore or pharmacy.

–Always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex. Don’t try this to refresh an older scarf unless you know for sure it is cotton or rayon!