How to Bleach Velvet Fabric

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Bleaching cotton-based velvets will change their color and texture.
Bleaching cotton-based velvets will change their color and texture. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Bleaching velvet fabric will reveal new colors and give your material a rustic texture. It will add to the fabric’s softness and character. Use this process to add designs and patterns to your velvet fabric by twisting the fabric as you dye it. Cotton-based velvet fabrics react best to the bleaching process, as some polyester velvets contain chemicals which resist the dying process. Bleaching velvet fabric produces different results each time, so approach this project with some flexibility and enjoy the unexpected end product.

Things You'll Need

  • Outdoor space
  • 4 buckets
  • Plastic covering for work surface
  • Smock
  • Gloves
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Velvet fabric
  • Tongs or stick

Set up your work area in a well-ventilated space. Cover all work surfaces with plastic sheets and wear a smock and rubber gloves throughout the process. Set up two buckets with water as well as one bucket each of vinegar and bleach.

Place fabric in bucket with bleach until desired color is achieved. Stir, using a stick, to ensure that the entire piece of fabric is submerged in the bleach.

Pull the fabric out of the bleach bucket with a pair of tongs or a stick. Rinse the fabric in the first bucket with water.

Remove the fabric from the bucket with water and place it in the bucket with vinegar. Let the fabric sit in the vinegar for 5 to 10 minutes. This process stops the bleach from changing the color any further.

Rinse the fabric in the second bucket with water.

Lay the fabric out to dry.

Wash and dry fabric following normal care instructions listed on your piece of fabric.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only bleach cotton-based velvet. Some velvets contain polyester, which would not react well to bleaching. Check the label or care directions on your velvet fabric. If the velvet is dry clean only, it cannot be bleached.
  • Bleach is a harmful chemical and should be used with care. Follow all warnings on bleach container.

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