I have always loved tie-dying—I still jump in excitement any time someone recommends it—but this summer, I tucked my tie-dye kit away and picked up a bottle of bleach. I watched a single How-To-Acid-Wash video on YouTube as I grabbed handfuls of clothing, tied them up with the hair ties on my wrists, please don’t judge me, I couldn’t find the rubber bands, and went outside to splash bleach over a quarter of my wardrobe with reckless abandon.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my “new” clothes. Acid-washing is amazing for those clothes you don’t wear anymore, that shirt that needs a little extra flair, or even the shirt you got on your last shopping trip! I have recieved many compliments on my acid-washed clothes, and was even requested to make one for a coworker, but it’s gotten out of hand. I bleached a five-dollar t-shirt from Walmart and turned it into my favorite shirt, only to realize I should have researched what materials to acid-wash beforehand. As it turns out, bleach doesn’t mix well with synthetic materials, and without a natural fiber of some sort, will essentially disintegrate your clothing. Within a week, my favorite five-dollar DIY evolved from a cool shirt, into a cute tank-top, then a rugged cut-off, and now lies on my bedroom floor, a sad, tattered mess. But that didn’t stop me from trying again—I learned from my mistakes, and when I uncapped the bleach for my next project, I made sure I was only splashing and spraying on clothing that contained a natural fiber.
When I started acid-washing it was a creative outlet, a way to relive my teenage years, and a fun way to salvage the clothes I used to love. Now I find myself walking through the store thinking, I could throw some bleach on that! Or, I don’t really like that…but I bet I would if I acid-washed it!…it’s a problem. The only question I have now is, why couldn’t I have just stopped when my favorite shirt was destroyed? You would think after three hoodies and ten shirts a person would get tired of bleaching everything, but no, I can’t quit. I have enough bleached clothing. I open my dresser and see piles of bleached shirts, look in my closet to see hints of dulled color and patterns on my hoodies, and stare wistfully at that tattered cut-off, wondering what could have been.
I’m not telling you to not acid-wash things, in fact, I highly encourage it! But know when to stop, and if you can’t, make sure someone is there to hold you back when you’ve gone too far.