How to Bleach Drop Cloths!

I am so excited to share with you all how to Bleach Drop Cloths for rugs, furniture recover, upholstering & more!

Affiliate links are included in this post. But I only recommend products I love.

How to Bleach Drop Cloths!

Nice fabric for upholstery can run so expensive. But for those of us who love crisp whites & canvas textures, there is hope! Miss Mustard Seed has a wonderful post that inspired me to try this drop cloth bleaching method out. And today I thought I would share my experience with this technique.

IMPORTAINT: Make sure to use 100% cotton dropcloths. The cotton is what allows you to get that white color. HERE are the ones I use.

The first time I did this, I just added a few cups of bleach, and soaked for maybe hours. It really didn’t make a difference. Here is the method that did work for me:

1. Fill the washer machine with hot water.

2. Pour a whole whooping god amount of bleach into the machine. A cup or two really won’t do anything. I recommend using like half the container for best results. Let it run for a few minutes to mix up the bleach with the water. Press stop & open your washer machine up again.

3. Place your dropcloth(s) into the washer and make sure they are completely submerged. I recommend doing one at a time so that it will bleach evenly.

How to Bleach Drop Cloths!

4. Soak it. I let mine sit overnight. Make sure the area is well ventilated. That stuff smells awful! A good 10-15 hours will really make it brighter!

5. Run the load through.

6. Do another load, but this time add soap and peroxide to the water to neutralizer the bleach so it won’t eat up the fabric.

7. Dry & admire your new canvas cloth!

How to Bleach Drop Cloths!

I was trying to get mine the color of the blanket on my bed, so I really wanted it to be as white as possible. It’s still a little off white, but no where close to the original color.

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Doesn’t it look great on my headboard?

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It turned out pretty white up against my ultra white walls.

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Here’s a bench and a chair I upholstered with the bleached drop cloth.

How to Bleach Drop Cloths!

If you love drop cloths like me, try using one to make a rug! See my tutorial HERE!

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  1. Jill Flory

    September 17th, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    The second time you ran it through with soap and peroxide – did you add more bleach then or not? Thanks!

  2. Jenny and Tim Thompson

    December 16th, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Is there a way to do this with a front load machine?

  3. Christine Freeman

    January 11th, 2016 at 12:52 am

    I was wondering the same thing.

  4. jw282001

    November 6th, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Don't add bleach the second time. Just the detergent & hydrogen peroxide for the second load. I'm unsure on a front load machine since I don't have one. You can bleach these in a utility sink, bathtub or a large bucket being careful. Other blogs talk about using these other methods also. Good luck!

  5. Sroller

    January 29th, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    How much peroxide did you use? Very excited to try this! Thanks for the blog!

  6. thirstdesigns

    April 22nd, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I think I'll just wash mine and then paint it white. I'm too scared of bleach!

  7. Tracy

    September 19th, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Where did you purchase your drop cloth from? I have had success with one drop cloth and can’t remember where I bought it. Menards drop cloths won’t turn. Thanks!

  8. Hannah Hathaway

    September 26th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I got mine from Lowes. Hope that helps!

  9. Nancy

    January 15th, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I bought a drop cloth from Lowe’s and used a gallon of bleach and it still won’t turn white. What am I doing wrong….

  10. Hannah Hathaway

    January 15th, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Nancy- did it lighten the color at all? I can’t guarantee how every fabric will react to the process, but if you soaked it long enough it should at least make the color brighter. Personally, mine became more of an off white linen color.

  11. Jennifer

    March 11th, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    What I’ve read is that you have to make sure you buy 100% cotton drop cloths in order to bleach them out properly!

  12. Hannah Hathaway

    March 16th, 2018 at 11:14 am

    That’s a really great tip! Thank you!!!

  13. Lavanderblu

    June 4th, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Hannah, do you recall what brand drop cloth you used? And do you know if it is cotton, or if it’s polyester blend? I’ve just purchased some drop cloths, and would hate to try bleaching them if the process isn’t going to work.

  14. Kay

    June 11th, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Surely that much bleach damages a septic system. Is there any other way to whiten the cloth?

  15. Hannah Hathaway

    June 17th, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for bringing that up- I seriously never thought of that, as we haven’t had a septic system until this new house. You can always buy the Live Bacteria Packets to put in your septic system as well.

  16. Katherine

    June 20th, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    I bought everbuilt drop cloth from home depot. i tore it at the seam and ran 2 times using a whole bottle of Clorox each time. It lighten a little bit but no where near the white I was expecting. It doesn’t say whether it is cotton or a blend.. any suggestions?

  17. Hannah Hathaway

    June 26th, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Hey, it must not have been pure cotton. You can try doing the process again (I’ve gotten ones from Lowes pretty white), but you may want to look at using a different brand.

  18. Mickey

    August 9th, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I have a septic system so will be using tub outside for bleach. Should I wash the drop cloth before i bleach.

  19. Hannah Hathaway

    August 10th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Hey! I’m not sure about washing before hand- but I would definitely wash afterwards! That way you will neutralize the bleach.

  20. Cathleen Castaneda

    October 14th, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Just wondering how much peroxide to add when washing with soap.

  21. Hannah Hathaway

    October 16th, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    I would use a good cup or so while washing. Hope that helps!

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