I have a shirt that is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. I'd like to completely whiten this shirt. How can I accomplish this?

Related: Fade color in fabric

  • 2
    There are some color removers (bleaching will damage the material), but you won't get colored polyester white. It's very inert and hard to get dye to bind with. So to keep the color from washing out, the color is usually either added to the plastic before it's extruded into fibers, or a chemical process is used that's hard to fully undo. At best, you can lighten the color in an uncontrolled way (potentially really ugly result). See pburch.net/dyeing/dyeblog/C1975726308/E20111209070220/….
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 1:32
  • 1
    That sounds like a complete answer to me, @fixer1234
    – Joachim
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 10:26
  • 1
    @Joachim, yeah, you're probably right; should have posted that as an answer rather than a comment. But virolino's answer covers the bottom line, so it wouldn't add value at this point to make it another answer. Next time. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


Bleaching works "as expected" for natural plant fibers (e.g. cotton). Polyester is actually a plastic, and bleaching will not have the same effect. I expect one (some?) of the following:

  • no change;
  • some fading, potentially not uniform;
  • (partial) destruction of the shirt, as a result of the bleach attacking the plastics. Even worse, if there is anything natural hidden somewhere (some stitching, logos...)

Bottom line, I would not even try. A new white shirt must be quite easy to find, and quite cheap.

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