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Denim bleaching

rekha | Posted in General Discussion on

Some time ago I bought dressmaking fabric en masse. Now it is the turn of the denim material to be sewn into a boot leg pair of jeans. However, my daughter who I am sewing this for does not like the dark colour. I have tried to use peroxide and bleach with little success. I read about a technique for distressing the fabric by dipping a sander in bleach and then running it with an electric drill over the part of the fabric to be ‘bleached’ but I am not keen on trying such a destructive techniques. I shall be grateful for any suggestions.


  1. ixs | | #1

    I read somewhere about using sandpaper to distress, and by the looks of today's jeans, all the manufacturers do it, too.  And you can get sandpaper in many grades.  But then the strength of the material is degraded, as you said. 

    I just thought of something.  I bought some heavy-duty stuff at Sam's Club called Yellow Out or Color Out (I think) that is supposed to take the color out of material, and I sure did lighten and ruin a yellow t-shirt that had some mildew on it.  But if you choose to buy and try, be careful, because it is a fine, dusty powder that could get in your lungs, as I found out.

    1. rekha | | #2

      Thanks for writing back. I just searched the net for the yellow out and as the product says it is to get the yellow colour off; I couldn't find color out

      1. ixs | | #3

        It is called Yellow Out, and you're right, it doesn't say anything about lightening dyes, although it did that to my husband's yellow-colored t-shirt, although I don't think it's as safe as they, as the powder flies around when it's poured.   I guess you'll have to keep looking; sorry. 

  2. Josefly | | #4

    Doesn't Rit, the dye-maker, make something called Color Remover?

    Also, I remember seeing a Clorox product, recommended to be used with stamps and stencils, for bleaching designs on denim. Kits were available at Hancock Fabric stores for a while, though I haven't seen them for several months. I believe the Clorox product was called Super-something, sorry I can't remember the name, and was in a gel form, I believe.

    Edited 9/30/2005 1:17 pm ET by Josefly

    1. rekha | | #5

      Brilliant! Went to the internet and finally got down to a British product Dylan. Thank you and thank you again!!

    2. rekha | | #6

      I take back what I just wrote. Went to the Dylon website to look for technical details and guess what their colour remover does not work on indigo on cotton denims!!! Back to square one on the drawing board; I have just written to this company to see if they will respond  with a novel solution.

      1. Elisabeth | | #7

        Rit Dye has something called Fast Fade for Jeans. I wonder if that works. http://www.ritdye.com/store/powder_fade.asp

        1. rekha | | #8

          Sounds about right; thank you. I shall try orderering it but am unsure if they'll export it. Fingers crossed!

        2. rekha | | #10

          just my damned luck Rit don't ship international. Can any kind soul send me two packets of the stuff. I shall pay for everything

          Edited 10/2/2005 5:00 am ET by rekha

          1. Elisabeth | | #11

            I'm going by JoAnn Fabrics tomorrow and they carry Rit. If they have the jeans fade I'll be happy to pick up a couple for you.

          2. rekha | | #12

            Many thanks, the easiest way for me to pay would be by Paypal; it doesn't cost you anything to register and all Paypal and therefore I need is an email address.

            Thank you again; let me know how much to pay.

            Edited 10/2/2005 5:01 am ET by rekha

          3. Elisabeth | | #13

            That should work. This evening when I get back I'll let you know if I find anything.

          4. Elisabeth | | #14

            Sorry, nothing found at the fabric store today, they had Rit dyes but no Fast Fade. Well, Manhattan Wardrobe Supply has Fast Fade on their website and look like they send things overseas http://www.wardrobesupplies.com Good luck!

          5. rekha | | #15

            Thanks for trying

          6. Janna | | #16

            I used Fast Fade years ago (I am pretty sure it was that) and then they stopped making it (maybe temporarily) but they provided a recipe for making it at home.  It involves soda ash and something else . . . common ingredients . . . if you want the recipe I will try to find it.  I keep it on hand and use it every time I need to soften and fade new denim.

          7. rekha | | #17

            Thanks for writing back. Is the other product urea by any chance?

          8. Janna | | #19

            No, it's not urea.  I meant to look up the recipe at home last night but forgot.  I will get it and put it here - it's very simple.

          9. kmm410 | | #20

            Hi Janna,
            I would be interested in that recipe too if you can find it. I have some denim that's way too dark that I would love to lighten. Thanks ahead of time if you find it.Karen

          10. Janna | | #21

            I HAVE the recipe.  I KNOW I have it.  I KNOW I have it.  I just can't lay my finger on it . . . I will keep looking.  I have used it many times and I know I didn't lose it . . . keep saying that to yourself, Janna . . . .. 

          11. rekha | | #22

             Rit people have sent me gratis sample packs of Fast Fade. I am grateful to those who organized this.

          12. Josefly | | #23

            I'm just wondering if you received the Rit Fast Fade, and how it worked on your denim? Was it a dark denim, "indigo", or a medium blue? I have some medium blue of my own I might play around with.

          13. rekha | | #24

            It worked brilliantly, in one wash. The denim that I bought was almost blue black. The idea of swatches hadn't crossed my mind. That was some 3-4years ago. I'm very pleased with the product. It is now more like light to dark blue and that's fine.

            Did you arrange to send it to me?

          14. Josefly | | #25

            No, I didn't arrange to send it. I read that someone was going to send you some, and I didn't get back to the thread until quite a while later, when you said that Rit had agreed to send you some. Glad it worked so well. Thanks for letting me know. Now I'll try it.Joan

          15. rekha | | #26

            It certainly makes a remarkable difference compared to widely broadcast methods of using bleach or peroxides.

  3. PollyE | | #9

    Do you know the company http://www.dharmatrading.com  ?  They sell dyes and other products for fiber artists.  They do carry discharging agents -- but I am not sure whether these agents work best on just-dyed fabrics or indigo jeans or even cotton!  Check out their website and seek the discharging products.  Read all the print about each agent for making an informed decision.  There are so many possibilities.  I frequently buy from them, but have never tried discharging.  I am more interested in getting color on the fabric than taking the color off!

  4. nargis | | #18

    helo rekha,

    have you tried Domestos bleach? Its pretty powerful!

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