A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Soft Scrub Experiment

I have been wanting to try Soft Scrub as a discharge agent and this month gave me a good reason to finally get around to it.  I also have been wanting to try discharging on a patchwork piece of fabric.  I like the idea of the material being different but the discharge pattern going across the different fabrics to uniet them.  

I used a block leftover from this quilt.

And here are my results. 

I am underwhelmed.  It is much more subtle than I would have gotten from either bleach or Decolourant.  This actually shows two attempts. The first time I stamped the dry fabric and let it sit for about 15 minutes before washing it out with water.  I could see very little change. So I stamped the wet fabric again and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  Still when I washed it out, there did not seem to be much change.  To neutralize the bleach, I put the fabric in hydrogen peroxide--more expensive than anti-clor but still not expensive and I had it on hand--and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Here are two detail shots.  I do plan to use the same stamp with some thickened dye before calling the block finished.


  1. I have done some work with the soft scrub and with the bleach pen. Both have worked nicely with my fabrics. I was able to really control where the discharge medium went on the fabric and did some kokopelli designs for an iguana hanging.


  2. Are you using commercial fabrics that have not been washed. Their might be a coating that prevent s more discharge. Softscrub works really well with hand-dyed fabrics. I like it because I can use it with thermofax screens.

  3. It has certainly done more damage to my clothing when 'i accidentally splash it on them when cleaning!I panicked when I saw the quilt up top that you were going to discharge on the entire quilt! I love that piece!

  4. I have used soft scrub, and also dishwashing gel with bleach, and my results varied. I like the consistency of both, but I agree that it does better on hand-dyed than commercial fabrics. Also, I usually leave it on until it's completely dry before washout.

  5. Hmmm. Based on these results, I wouldn't bother trying discharging with soft scrub, but based on the comments, I would give it a try on hand-dyed fabric.

    Thanks for posting this!

  6. A woman in one of my classes started me on toilet bowl cleaner - now I use that instead of soft scrub. Works great! All these products work best when fresh - if it has been sitting around awhile the bleach loses strength.

  7. The block has both commercial dyed fabric and hand dyes. The commercial yellow in the bottom detail shot bleached out to white very easily. The commercial black bleached out to a red. My hand dyed black bleached out to a yellow-green. The commercial red fabric even bleached out which surprised me. And the off-white commercial fabric bleached out to white.

    I think the main issue at work here is that the pieced fabric has such high contrast sewn into it that the bleached areas do not show to good effect. I think if this was a plain black piece of fabric--either commercial or hand dyed--the stamped bleached "0" would be very prominent.

  8. In my experience, the soft scrub needs to be new. It looses strength as it sits. I have also misted the soft scrub to keep it damp longer to give it more time to work. Once it is dry it doesn't seem to do any more bleaching.

  9. I love using SoftScrub with Bleach in discharging because it is paste-y and works well with freezer paper masking. So, when I read this post I immediately got out my trusty SS (purchased in DEC 2010) and retried it. It was successful with the exception of the timing. Fresh, it only took 3 min...now it takes about 7. I apply mine thickly using a plastic card and it starts out on a layer of plastic bag and ends with a layer of plastic on top. (No spraying needed. I also work the SS into the exposed fabric by gently manipulating it with my fingers.

    In my experience with bleach/SS discharge...I have found that some commercial fabrics have been downright stubborn even when I have painted directly with undiluted bleach!


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.