How to Fade Clothing With Peroxide

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Fading clothing with peroxide can breathe new life into the fabric.
Fading clothing with peroxide can breathe new life into the fabric. (Image: amoklv/iStock/Getty Images)

Hydrogen peroxide is a safer alternative to harsh bleach that can quickly eat through fabrics, damaging them beyond repair. Fading clothing with peroxide isn’t difficult and can be accomplished using the inexpensive 3-percent hydrogen peroxide available at grocery stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Stockpot
  • Soda ash
  • Synthrapol
  • Cooking/baking thermometer
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Distilled white vinegar

Fill a stockpot with enough water so the fabric you are fading can move freely around. Place the stockpot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat off and let the water cool to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir in the soda ash and synthrapol. Use a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon of each ingredient for every pound of dry fabric you are fading.

Submerge the fabric in the water and gently wash it for several seconds.

Remove the fabric from the stockpot and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Discard the water that is inside the stockpot.

Fill the stockpot a second time with enough cool water to cover the fabric.

Add 6 pints of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide. Alternatively, replace the 3-percent hydrogen peroxide with either 3 1/2 cups of 10-percent hydrogen peroxide or 1 cup of 35-percent hydrogen peroxide.

Stir in 7 1/2 tablespoons of soda ash and 1 teaspoon of synthrapol. Heat the water on the stove to 130 degrees Fahrenheit before turning the heat off.

Submerge the fabric in the water. If necessary, use a water-filled glass jar to weigh down the fabric and keep it completely submerged in the peroxide mixture.

Let the fabric soak in the hydrogen peroxide mixture for at least 16 hours but no more than 24 hours. The room in which the fabric is soaking should have a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the entire process.

Remove the fabric from the hydrogen peroxide mixture and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Discard the leftover mixture in the stockpot.

Fill the stockpot with enough warm water to cover the fabric. Stir in 11 tablespoons of 5-percent distilled white vinegar for every gallon of water in the stockpot.

Submerge the fabric in the diluted vinegar mixture and let soak for 10 minutes. The vinegar will neutralize the hydrogen peroxide so it doesn't continue to bleach the fabric.

Remove the fabric from the diluted vinegar and rinse well with clean water. Wash and dry the fabric as you normally would.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test the hydrogen peroxide on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric. If no damage occurs, continue with the fading process.

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