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Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Dying Colored Fabrics

By Dr. Laundry June 24, 2008

Q: Is there any way I can turn my curtains from a light blue color to pure white by using bleach? They do not match my new bedroom color scheme. If not, I’ll try a pink Rit dye, to come to a purple color, but I’d rather have white because I may not get the shade of purple that I want.

A: I’m not quite sure of the fiber composition of the blue curtains. Cotton ones will be easier to change than poly/cotton since the dyes are not as good and can be easier to remove. You might try a bleach soak (1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in gallon of warm water for 5–10 minutes) before laundering. Then, launder in hot water using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. If the curtains are old and soiled, extending the soak time and/or washing in bleach may not be good for them, but this should lessen/remove the color. If they are poly/cotton, your second plan of Rit dye probably is best.