removing color
  • I have some fabric and garments that I want to remove the color from, before dying it another color. The garments are silk jersy, and the fabric is wool.
    Has anyone out there bleached the existing color out of silk? How abouat wool? If so how did you do it and what was the result.
    I have successfully bleached cotton with household bleach, but I've tested some fabric scraps, and it doesn't seem to work on wool or silk.
  • As you found out, hypochlorite bleach cannot be used on silk or wool. Instead, the only option, if it works, is to use a different chemical. Most other discharge agents are based on sulfur and have similar results to one another, often completely different from the results produced by an oxidizing agent such as hypochlorite bleach. Note that not all dyes can be removed. Some will stubbornly persist, no matter what you do with them, even after the fabric is in shreds.

    I have a page about all of the different chemicals that can be used to discharge dye: see
    What chemicals can be used to remove dye?

    Jacquard Products sells many of the chemicals that can be used to remove dye from silk or wool, including Jacquard Color Remover, Jacquard Discharge Paste, Jacquard Rongolit ST, and Jacquard Sodium Hydrosulfite. Since the responses of dyes to discharging vary so unpredictably (given that you generally have no idea what dyes were used on your fabrics originally), you will have to do small tests in order to find out if any of these products will do exactly what you want with your dyed fabrics.

    Be careful. The reducing agents are in general considerably less toxic than hypochlorite bleach, but even they can be very irritating to the lungs if used without the correct precautions and protective gear.

    Paula