Can You Bleach Wool? (How to Bleach Wool Without Ruining It)

Wool is good for many things. It enhances your appearance, it keeps you warm and it is a natural fiber that is renewable as long as there are enough of the right animals in the world. Wearing wool at the right time can also have a lot of eyes pointed in your direction.

Can you bleach wool? Across the board, the answer is no. Even the Clorox company says not to bleach wool and pointed out that its bleach products state not to bleach this fabric. The only bleaching mechanism you should use is hydrogen peroxide.

To learn how to safely bleach wool, just continue to read our article. Not every fabric responds the same way to bleach and wool is one of those materials that should be as far away from bleach as possible

Will Bleach Whiten Wool?


No, generally chlorine bleach will turn wool fabrics yellowish, and when that stain appears it is irreversible. You are stuck with the yellowish tint. There may be an oxygen bleach variety that may be safe for wool but the general rule there is that it should not be used on either wool or silk.

Some people say that hydrogen peroxide is safe to whiten wool and that you can use it in different strengths. Those different strengths only affect the soaking time of the wool material.

If you need to whiten wool, you may have to either buy a new clothing item or let the dry cleaners try and do it for you. It is a risky thing to attempt at home since one wrong move can put an end to that wool garment.

If you try whitening the wool at home you do so at your own risk as most products are not safe for that fabric.

Does Bleach Turn Wool Yellow?

Unfortunately, chlorine bleach does have that effect on wool fabrics. The two are not compatible and if you try to bleach wool, you end up wasting your money and having to go out and buy a new outfit to replace the one that was damaged.

Even oxygen bleach is not safe for wool and it is said that you should not use that product on wool garments either. Bleach is a strong chemical that does remove stains but if in contact with certain fabrics it removes or damages those fibers.

Oxygen bleach is not as corrosive as chlorine bleach but the risk is there due to the other chemicals included in its formula. You may have different results but most likely you are being very careful how you use the oxygen bleach alternative.

It is possible to use hydrogen peroxide on that yellowish tint but it may not be strong enough to remove that stain. For the most part, once the wool item has turned yellow, it remains that way permanently.

What Happens if You Bleach Wool?


Aside from the yellowish tint, it leaves behind, bleach can ruin the fibers through its very corrosive formula. What that means is that your wool item may shrivel up, melt, or just be ruined after the bleach has touched it.

Wool is very acidic and that chemical construction does not interact with bleach very well. When the bleach hits the wool, it changes the chemical makeup of the fabric and alters it accordingly. What damage you get depends on how long the wool has been in the solution, how diluted it was, and other factors.

The results may not be the same for every wool fabric and the quality of the wool will play a role in how much damage is done to your good sweaters, etc. Wool is not made with the same quality and the more inferior the fabric the more damage you are likely to see.

It is best to avoid all kinds of bleach, even the ones that claim to be all fabric versions as those alternatives are still not good for wool.

Can You Bleach Wool Sweaters?

In the strict sense of the word ‘bleach’, neither wool nor cashmere sweaters can be bleached. They are just too delicate for the harsh chemicals bleach contains. As mentioned earlier, even oxygen bleach should be avoided as it is sometimes too powerful for wool and silk.

You can try a homemade bleach using vinegar and water. Of course, whenever we mention vinegar, we are referring to white vinegar only. All you need is about 1 tsp of vinegar with every 2 cups of warm water to do the job of bleaching.

Do not go too powerful on the vinegar as it may have an adverse effect on the wool garment you are trying to get clean. You can also try straight hydrogen peroxide and water with 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts water.

To avoid having your wool sweaters turn yellow in storage, make sure to put them in an airtight container where no moisture can get in. Or use your dehumidifier a lot and keep your sweater area nice and dry.

Can You Bleach Wool Carpet?


It is possible but not with chlorine or oxygen bleach. The best way to whiten wool rugs would be to wash them in water and hydrogen peroxide solution. For that, you would need to follow the upcoming instructions.

The first step is to wash the rug in hot water mixed with 1/2 tsp., of detergent and 1/2 tsp., of washing soda. Once done rinse well and hang the rug over your bathtub or in your shower stall.

Next mix 2 quarts warm water with 3 quarts 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup of washing soda as well as 1/2 tsp of detergent. After that, fill a tub with hot tap water and pour it in that solution.

Then, add the rug face down keeping it flat. Get the rug to the bottom of the tub and weigh it down so it won’t move. Leave for 24 hours like that. After 24 hours is up, rinse the rug under running warm water.

Now mix 2/3 cup of vinegar in 5 gallons of water and blot the mixture all over the rug. This will neutralize the chemicals. Rinse after 10 minutes. The squeeze out the excess water and hang to dry in the sun.

Why Can't You Bleach Wool vs Why Bleach Wool

Why people want to bleach wool is usually founded on some solid reasons. The item may have been a gift from a treasured relative, it was expensive, and so on. While there are natural ways to bleach wool sometimes it is just better to let the professional handle the task.

The reason for that statement is equally sound as bleach and wool do not get along. Even the supposedly safe bleaches may do some damage to your nice and irreplaceable wool items.

You can try to whiten yellowed wool through using a 3% hydrogen peroxide additive but there are no guarantees that will work each and every time. Some yellow stains, like the ones that come from chlorine bleach, are too strong for that solution to remove.

Also, you still may end up damaging the wool item. Wool is just too delicate to handle yourself if you are not experienced in dealing with such vulnerable materials. Usually, it is best t let the pros handle the job as they have their secret formulas that work well, even on wool.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe on Wool?


This is one of the safest solutions to use on wool. It doe snot have the harmful sodium hypochlorite ingredient in it that damages vulnerable and delicate materials like wool or silk. No matter the strength of hydrogen peroxide you still have to rinse it and use vinegar to neutralize its bleaching power.

Different strengths of this solution are okay to use as well. All the different strengths do is either shorten or lengthen the soaking time. Once you learn which time goes with which strength you will be good to go.

Before you start bleaching with hydrogen peroxide, always do a test first to make sure the solution does not damage the wool or its fibers. Nothing is perfect and sometimes hydrogen peroxide will not be safe to use on some wool items.

Also, do not use an aluminum pail, tub, or another container when working with hydrogen peroxide. Those two items also do not go together very well especially if you are going to be soaking the wool item for along time.

How To Make Wool White Again

There are two main ways to get this objective done safely. The first method is the vinegar method and the second is the hydrogen peroxide method. We have already given you the hydrogen peroxide method so here is the vinegar one:

All you need to do is mix 1 tsp of vinegar with every 2 cups of water. Next, take a sponge and blot the wool item with the solution. Placing the wool clothing over a tub or sink is ideal for this step.

Continue blotting until the item is moist and covered. Then place it in your washing machine and wash as usual. Then let dry. If the stain has not disappeared then repeat as needed. This process does not harm your wool item and you can do it until the stain does disappear without worry.

This method can be done while you are waiting for other loads of laundry to get done.

How To Bleach Wool Yarn


The two safest ways will be the two we have already described. The hydrogen peroxide method which requires about 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts water will do the trick. The 3% solution will be the best one to use here.

Then like the vinegar method, just blot the yarn with a sponge and the mixture until the item is moist, Then if it can be washed, wash the yarn following the laundry instructions.

If the item can’t be washed then blot it with plain water and a clean cloth. Once you are done, just let the yarn air dry. Not all yarns will be able to be bleached this way and in some cases, the dye may not come completely out if you are trying to whiten the yarn.

There is always going to be something that may go wrong or will influence how you bleach wool yarn. The key is to stay away from commercial bleaches.

How To Whiten Sheepskin Rug

The steps for getting rid of stains on a sheepskin rug are as follows:

- Mix a capful of wool washing products in with about 2 cups of water.

- Blot the stains on the rug with this mixture.

- Once done clean away the residue with pure water.

- Let the rug dry but keep it out of the sun.

- Before it is fully dry, brush the rug with a wool rug brush.

- When you are done, give the rug a good shake or two to maintain the fluffiness.

Also, after doing this process, you can hand wash the rug in the same wool washing product. There are wool cleaners out there that may help you remove stains from your regular wool clothing as well.

Follow the instructions on the bottle to make sure you get your rug and other wool items nice and clean. If you want to use your washing machine, keep the water temperature below 100 degrees F.

Line dry your rug and avoid using your dryer.

Some Final Words

Wool looks good and can feel great if you have the right style and quality of the fabric. The problem is that no matter the quality and soft feel, it is still a delicate fabric that has to be treated with kid gloves.

Following the above procedures or using a top-quality wool washing product are the ways to go in keeping your wool-like new.

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