Wednesday, August 21, 2013


When I'm talking about my process and mention "bleach product", some people think I'm actually talking about pure BLEACH. The products I use contain SOME bleach. These commercial products are found in the cleaning section of the grocery store and are thickened solutions that are used for cleaning sinks or toilets. They are much thicker than liquid bleach and much less caustic to the skin or respiratory system. "Soft Scrub with Bleach" is my product of choice for most of the work I do, but I also use "Clorox Bleach Pens". When in Canada, I will buy "Vim with Bleach". A thinner product that I might use for rolling over a stamp or soaking a fish net in for printing is "Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach". The "with bleach" part is what's important as that's what pulls the color out of your fabric. The consistency is another important factor as it needs to lie inside the stitch lines without bleeding out.
I always date my bottles. Right now I'm working out of my 2011 bottle (above) and all is good, but if I noticed that application was difficult (which happens when bleach breaks down), I'd get myself a new bottle and sequester the old one to the bathroom or the kitchen.

When I first started working with bleach product in 2008, I was using a small, stiff-bristled brush. It was slow and tedious, but I could paint the bleach product within the stitch lines with some precision. Then I tried putting the product in a small, metal-tipped bottle and I've never looked back. It flows out easily with little squeezing pressure and it's quite easy to control. There are some applications issues to watch out for, but that will be the topic of another blogpost.
It's important to shake the original product well before putting it into the small bottle. I fill it to the top, push the applicator tip on, then slip a pin into the tip to keep it from flowing out.

I then cut a small piece of foil and wrap my bottle to keep the light out. Light breaks down bleach and if left out, you will find the bleach becomes stringy and causes lots of problems. (Time to wash a sink with it!) I then store it in a spice bottle I have wrapped with masking tape...a further light barrier!
"Clorox bleach pens" contain a good product but I always transfer the product into my smaller bottle.
A few years back we flew to Mexico for our winter's stay. I packed a suitcase of dyes, soda ash, urea, etc., and one of the products I brought along was my "Soft Scrub". Sadly it was confiscated at the airport as a hazardous material, and I quickly called a friend who was driving over the border and asked her to bring me a bottle. The next year I had saved an empty opaque bottle of shampoo just to haul my "Soft Scrub" and it successfully arrived with me in Mazatlan.

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