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Martin, Engineer
Category: General
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Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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The subject here is bleach being used for whitening / color

Resolved Question:

The subject here is bleach being used for whitening / color change on fabric intentionally. This is apparently such a ridiculous question that I don't even know where to ask it categorically. (So I figured I'd put that part first, so anyone who doesn't know can just ignore without reading too far)

I got a large box of socks from China (absurd, right?) a long time ago. Most of them were useless. Some of them, black dress socks, actually turned out to be useful once we realized they, you know, didn't suck or have Cholera or something. Others were cute wool ones that friends took as gifts when they saw them.

BUT.... the majority were of this irritating texture and horrific blue color - sort of like a slightly textured version of the blue color you'd see on old hospital gowns that have been washed many, many times. A color that goes with nothing. Even with the bluest of blue jeans, this pale-ish blue sock would stand out.

There were similar ones that were white - same fabric, same texture, but white. We eventually, being experts at losing socks (especially when you have a box of hundreds), used those alongside sneakers, but those ran out fast. What I'd like to do is make the blue ones white. Maybe not exactly the same white, but white - to a point where they could be used.

I'm not sure I'll use them, but I'd like the chance. After all, they are now (blue), I'm not sure even homeless people would accept them as a donation. They don't even make good rags. (Tried.)

Thanks to anyone who can help!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Martin replied 4 years ago.
Hydrogen peroxide is what i would think of. Bleach can damage fibers in too big concentrations.
edit: i forgot to add that UV light (the sun for example) increase a lot peroxide whitening effectiveness.

From the texture you mention, they seem to be from 100% synthetic fiber meaning the dye was probably mixed to the plastic before doing the fiber, this would make it hard to neutralize.

If you can't get white, you may try to dye them of a darker color (making sure to not ruin other cloth from a dye that would leak in the water in subsequent washing).

As for where lost socks go:
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