Bleach

11 November 2006

I do not use bleach.
For those of you that have read any of my articles about discharge you know I don’t think there is any justification for the use of bleach. Here is a picture, from La Bricoleuse, of the inintended consequences of using bleach;
blouse002.jpg
True, bleach immediately destorys protein fibers including silk. It also is destructive to cellulose, just more slowly. Using bleach on cotton requires careful control of all varibles, temperature, concentration and time, to assure that the bleach destroys the dye before it destroys too much of the fibers. This kind of control is rarely availble in artists studios.
I do discharge on a daily basis. I use thiourea dioxide which does not attack the fibers. I can be used on silk and cotton ( that is all fibers). It is heat activated , so cooling stops the action–I find this gives me more control. Others like that bleach is active at room temperature, but then stopping it requires another chemical. For me, it is easier to heat to activate( by way of boiling in a pot, heat gun, iron, dryer), rather than struggling to deactivate.
Buying bleach at the supermarket near home instead of a dye supplier does not mean that it is easier or safer to use properly. You still need a specailized chemical, usually from the dye supplier, to stop the action of the bleach. Bleach and thiourea dioxide both require a respirator with acid gas cartridges. You may not like the sulfur based smell when using thiourea dioxide ( thio means sulfur) but the smell of bleach is chlorine gas that was used a posion gas in WW I.

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