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Saturday, April 20, 2024

How to Bleach a Tee


Something we were all avoiding last year has become a trend- bleach stains on tees. While I don’t jump in for most trends, I do genuinely love a bleached tee; and beyond that I love the act of applying the bleach and watching the color change. I’ve done it several times now and have some tips to share!

To begin select a tee with some cotton, a 100% polyester tee will remain unchanged. Bleach does nothing to polyester (bonus tip for using bleach and NOT staining- wear polyester), it works with the cotton fibers.

Last tip before I share how is decide how bleaching works for you- a spray bottle, dumping a jug, splashing out of the jug. I splash/dump. But a spray bottle could give a really neat effect for a more subdued and small splashes. Another idea would be using a paint brush or stencil to better move the bleach around.

Sunshine speeds up the bleaching process and lightens the color of the tee further. I’ve never tried bleaching without sunshine, I simply don’t recommend it. While the bleach would still react, it likely would have a duller effect.


1. Before beginning grab a bucket and fill with water and a splash of peroxide, this will stop the bleach reaction. Also have your washer ready to throw the shirt in.

2. Lay your shirt in a sunny spot and apply your bleach. If you are concerned about the back getting too much, add a piece of cardboard in the middle of the shirt, and do the back side separately. For a very bleached effect skip this step.

Not all shirts will bleach white, it’s a fun guessing ga

3. Wait and watch- the bleaching will happen before your eyes. It’s actually difficult to know what color a shirt will turn, and many will not go to a true white. Watch your shirt until a color you like is achieved. Anything over 20 minutes is going to result in your tee getting holes from the bleach very quickly. This is due to the breakdown of the fibers.

4. Douse your shirt in the water/peroxide mixture and swish around. It will fizz instantly and help the bleach stop. It should also help your shirt be less weak since the bleach is no longer effective.

5. Wash and dry as soon as it is removed from the peroxide.

Shirts can be bleached with screen prints or sublimation shirts already applied!

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Madison VanRavensway
Madison VanRavensway
Don't let her quiet nature fool you. Madison is a force to be reckoned with in the outdoors, or creating amazing recipes from scratch.
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