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Q: Bleaching wildflowers ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Bleaching wildflowers
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: noname60-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 21 May 2004 21:06 PDT
Expires: 20 Jun 2004 21:06 PDT
Question ID: 350243
I'm looking for the chemicals and processes for bleaching wildflowers
commercially.  Specifically gypsophila
Subject: Re: Bleaching wildflowers
Answered By: adiloren-ga on 21 May 2004 23:56 PDT
Hi, thanks for the question. There is little information on the web
regarding specific chemicals to be used for specific flowers. There
are manuals and books that can be purchased that probably provide more
specific information. I have provided a link to one such manual below.
I did find some specific information on gypsaphila that should be
helpful though.

I was also able to locate a website that outlines the chemicals used
to bleach flowers and the benefits and drawbacks of each. It also
includes notes on the process. I think it should also be of use to
you. I have also provided a link to a chemical producer that services
the dry flower industry, you may wish to order some of the bleaching
products outlined below or attempt to get some more information by
contacting them. I hope this helps. Feel free to let me know if you
need any clarification of my response.


Suggested bleach dosage for gypsophilia
"Many schemes have been suggested to extend flower life, including
placement in bleach solutions, slamming bunches on tables to
physically pop open flowers and using plastic tents over flowers to
aid opening. While some may work (bleach used at one teaspoon per
gallon can be helpful), normal flower processing for
ethylene-sensitive flowers is recommended."
This company services the dry flower industry and provides bleaching chemicals:

This seems to recommend the use of standard bleach for gypsophila
(sodium hypochlorite):
"Conditioning:  Remove all foliage that will be below the water line.
Cut under water with a sharp knife.  Hydrate in a solution of warm
water and commercial floral preservative / floral food for two hours
before storage or usage.  To speed the opening of blossoms.  Pour one
gallon of boiling water into a one gallon storage bucket.  To this add
two tablespoons of bleach.  Then place the stem ends of the Baby's
Breath into the hot bleach-water solution.  you will be able to
actually watch (and hear) the florets pop open like miniature

This page has by far the most specific information on bleaching I
could find after extensive research. Here is an excerpt below- there
is much more specific information on the site.

Department of Agriculture, Western Australia
Bleaching plant foliage
"Bleaching theory

The aim of bleaching is to remove all coloured compounds. This can be
achieved in two ways:

    * by oxidative bleaching (hypochlorite, chlorite, peroxide), or
    * by reductive bleaching (sulphites, borohydrides).

Oxidative bleaches act by breaking down the coloured compounds into
smaller, colourless compounds. They are the more efficient bleaches,
although they cause structural damage to the plant material by
breaking down lignin. Hypochlorite and peroxide can also decompose
cellulose fibres under extreme conditions. These bleaches require
careful use to avoid a brittle and weak final product.

Reductive bleaches do not degrade the coloured compounds, but instead
chemically modify them into colourless compounds. These bleaches do
less damage to the plant structure, but when used alone cause the
plant material to yellow with age, which is a major drawback."

A book that can be ordered that has a chapter on commercial bleaching
of dry flowers.

Companies that specializes in bleaching flowers:

Specific article on gypsophelia that may be useful
Gypsophelia Growing in Central Australia


Additional Information:

Notes on the drying process:
"The techniques applied by dried flower processors are varied. Some
lines can be simply air dried, others must be treated with glycerine
to prevent brittleness after drying. 'Sulphur gas' is used to fix the
colour in some species and many products are bleached and dyed
according to the preference of the buyer. These techniques are
increasingly being used for Proteas and other types of flowers."

Postharvest Care of Cut Flowers

Note on the process:
"The first stage of processing is bleaching. Bleaching is the
extraction of chlorophyll and tannin. After
chlorophyll is removed the material is devoided of color and becomes
white. It is now ready to be dyed into any suitable shades of colors
it is then dried to remove the moisture."

The EPA warns of risks associated with bleaching flowers- specifically
with Chlorine dioxide.
Chlorine dioxide (CASRN 10049-04-4)
"... experienced coughing, pharyngeal irritation, and headache after
inhaling an unknown amount of chlorine dioxide inadvertently generated
while bleaching flowers. ..."


Google Search Terms Used:

"dried flowers" bleaching
bleach flowers techniques
chemicals "dried flowers"
gypsophila and bleach
gypsophila and dried flowers

Thanks again for you question. Good luck!

Anthony (adiloren-ga)

Clarification of Answer by adiloren-ga on 30 May 2004 20:24 PDT
I contacted a chemical supplier regarding what chemicals they supply
for the bleaching of flowers.

They supply Hydrogen Peroxide / Sodium Perborate or Sodium Percarbonate for 
bleaching flowers. They also supply Hydrogen Peroxide stabilizer / 
activator for increased efficiency of the bleaching process and for
material saving.

For more information- here is their web site.

I hope this further helps.

There are no comments at this time.

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