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Fun with Bleach!

My art quilting group is meeting at my home next Saturday. I’m supposed to be leading us in discharge dyeing. So I thought I should try some of it for the first time!

I bought 1/8 yard cuts of fabric to test and see which ones would give good results. Gathered my supplies yesterday:


supplies for discharging

supplies for discharging

To test the color removal of bleach, I’m using a Clorox bleach pen, and gel-type automatic dishwashing liquid. When we do the actual workday, I’ll also mix up a diluted liquid bleach solution.

I cut squares of each fabric, and wrote a number on them with the bleach pen. I have tags on each of the fabrics so I know which is which and I can go back and purchase yardage of the ones I like best.



in the sink

Some of the fabrics started to discharge almost immediately, others took several minutes. I stopped all of them at 10 minutes, first rinsing in plain water, then letting them sit in a vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes. (I will use Bleach Stop when doing yardage, I just didn’t want to have to mix it up for such a small batch). The blotchy areas or blobs are dishwasher detergent.

I thought one of the more interesting changes was this Michael Miller Jet Brown:


Love the blue!

Love the blue!

 After these had been washed and dried, I brushed on some Jacquard Discharge Paste. Let it dry, no changes are visible. But hit it with a steam iron and it’s like magic! (Discharge paste areas are on the lower left of the swatches, bleach pen the upper left, DW liquid on the right side.)

   This one is Moda Pumpkins Gone Wild


Michael Miller Jet Black


 Kaufman Kona Cotton Black


 Michael Miller Krystal #1302D – bleach hardly affected it.


 Benartex Flower Mart – love the yellow from the discharge paste

 Red Rooster Tokyo Texture. The fabric is a deep brwnish burgandy. The bleach didn’t do much, made it kinda greyish blue, but the discharge paste made it a pretty yellow/brown, depending on which part of the fabric. 

 Michael Miller Jet Brown. Bleach leaves blue, discharge paste leaves an orangey-tan. Fun!

 Kaufman Kona Cotton Midnight – a deep purplish color. Bleach took it to fuschia, discharge paste a pretty yellow. All the colors of a pansy.

 Batik Textiles #8007B – a mottled black batik. Bleach left it yellowy/orange, discharge paste creamy white. All the colors of a moonlit Halloween night!

 Benartex Flower Mart #02045. This was a mottled olivey green (photo doesn’t show colors well at all). I think I left the bleach on this one too long. I like the bluish color that the DW liquid left. The discharge paste left a very pretty greenish yellow.

This is so much fun! I can’t wait to do this on yardage. I’ve got some good ideas on things to try, like stamping, spraying over leaves and grasses, spraying through cheesecloth or mesh, using stencils, etc. You can also tie up your yardage like tie-dyeing and dip that in a bleach solution. Will post the results.


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