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How to Bleach Yellowed Newspaper Clippings

Josh Baum

If you've collected notable newspaper clippings over the years but did not get them laminated, you probably have at least a few that have yellowed considerably. You can make these clippings look like new again by bleaching them and you won't even bleach out the ink.

The trick is to use a gentle, diluted bleach solution and to let the clippings dry out just right.

  1. Gather together all of the clippings you want to bleach and arrange them in order from least yellowed to most yellowed. You should also gather up as many other sections of the same newspapers as possible; you'll want scraps to test the strength of the bleach solution before attempting to bleach your most important clippings.

  2. In a medium sized bowl, create a solution that is about 1 part bleach and about 15 parts water. Stir the solution well.

  3. Take a small test piece of your least yellowed paper and put it in the bowl. Push it down slightly so that the entire surface area of the paper is wet. Allow it to soak for about 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the test piece and lay it on waxed paper to dry. When it is completely dry, assess the effectiveness of the bleaching. If it is still too yellow, your solution needs more bleach and you should increase the bleach level by about a half teaspoon at a time. If the paper is white but the ink is too faded, your solution needs to be diluted with more water and you should add water about one tablespoon at a time.

  5. Continue testing the solution as necessary until you achieve the right balance of water and bleach.

  6. Soak your least yellowed clippings one at a time for about 10 minutes at a time. After removing each clipping, rinse it under gently flowing tap water and lay it flat on waxed paper to dry completely.

  7. When bleaching slightly more yellowed clippings, add a little more bleach to the solution and stir it well prior to soaking. Repeat the process of rinsing and drying on waxed paper for each clipping.

  8. After all of the clippings have dried, handle them carefully and store them so that they will be kept flat and protected. They will look better, but they will be slightly more brittle.

  9. Tip

    Once you've bleached a clipping, consider laminating it to preserve the color.


    Handle the wet clippings with care; they will tear easily.