How can I bleach wool?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Rlkv011, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. Rlkv011 Registered Senior Member

    I am looking for a way to bleach a wool suit. I am trying to take all of the navy blue color out of it and turn it white. I tried household bleach and that didnt work, I also tried sodium hydrolsulfite without any results. I was reading online that wool is acidic. Would I have to soak it in say vinegar then try the bleach? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    I can't say I know the answer for this one, since it's not everyday you have someone ask to basically 'Undye' wool. The main problem with the dye industry is knowing which dye was used, different dyes are obviously different chemicals and work under different temperatures.

    Since wool is also a natural fibre, it's also harder to get dye out of than man made fibres.

    Obviously the problem is going to require a heck of a lot of trial and testing, until you find a solution (Which if you do manage, make sure you document it for a blog or something just incase someone else asks the same question)
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  5. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Wool is hair. What about hydrogen peroxide?
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  7. vslayer Registered Senior Member

    household bleach generally has hydrogen peroxide in it.
  8. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Household bleach never has hydrogen peroxide in it. Household bleach is sodium hypochlorite. I don't think that they can even be mixed.
  9. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    ???? what? what kind of bleach do you use?
  10. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

    I don't believe it's possible to remove all the dye without damaging the fibers of the suit...especially if the suit is a dark'd never be able to get it all the way to white...and still be able to wear it. You might be able to end up with a really cool "tie dye" look though.


    Science question: What is the property of bleach that gives it the ability to remove stains and dyes? Is it the pH level? or how "slippery" it is?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2007
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Why not stop being so cheap and go out and buy a new white suit? :shrug:
  12. Strap_ON Registered Member

    Maybe just put it in a bowl full of bleach
  13. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Using anything will only damage the material, linings, stitchings and overall

    appearance of the clothing.
  14. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Yeah, and using household bleach isn't going to give a white finish for certain anyway, some things can end up with a murky tinge to them. It's not going to end up looking like Colonel Saunders threads, that's for sure!
  15. Rlkv011 Registered Senior Member

    The suit isn't for me to wear. I know the bleach will probably ruin the suit. Do you think soaking the suit in vinegar then soaking it in bleach do the trick?
  16. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    yes, go try it now.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Seriously, bleach it gonna eat it.
  17. thecollage Registered Senior Member

    dont bleach, paint it.
  18. leopold Valued Senior Member

    without knowing anything about what you want to do here's my 2 cents:
    first, like someone else said, wool is hair.
    so . . .
    why not buy some stuff that comes in a box to make blond hair and use that?
    you will no doubt need about 5 or 6 boxes.
  19. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    It really depends on what you want to use it for. If you have some flexibility, you might want to consider whitewashing it instead of bleaching it.
  20. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    Dye it white.
  21. machaon Registered Senior Member

    Sodium hypochlorite solution.
  22. sweetfelt Registered Member

    Caution Please

    Even though this is an old thread, I'm replying in an effort to give a correct answer to the poster.
    1. NEVER use chlorine bleach on wool or silk. Both are dissolved by sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in Chlorox.
    2. NEVER mix chlorine bleach with any other chemical. You may release chlorine gas which is toxic and could cause death or permanent damage to your lungs.
    3. Do not add chlorine bleach to any garment which has been soaked in vinegar without throughly rinsing out the vinegar.
    4. The proper bleach for wool is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is never found in chlorine bleach. You can use first aid strength H2O2, hair bleach strength H2O2 or 35% H2O2.

    The strength of the H2O2 will determine the length of time the fabric needs to stay in the solution. A small amount of plain Tide detergent or Synthropol added to the solution will help wet the fabric. A dark fabric like navy will probably never bleach white and may not even stay blue depending on what color it was before it was navy.

    Vinegar is used in wool to set dyes, not remove them.

    Hope this helps to keep someone from accidentally hurting themselves or their family. Please don't use chemicals unless you know; first, what you are trying to accomplish and second, how to accomplish that goal safely.
  23. mugaliens Registered Member

    The best way to bleach a navy blue wool suit is to trade it in for a white one.

    Or H2O2, as others have noted. I'd test with the peroxide, first, and if that doesn't work...

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