This study addresses two questions: i) which antigens can withstand bleaching by 2.5 g/L of potassium permanganate followed by 10 g/L of oxalate, before immunohistochemical staining; and ii) are any other steps in the immunohistochemical staining technique resistant to bleaching? A panel of 10 antigens was stained immunohistochemically and the results compared with staining performed with a bleaching step interpolated at different steps in the procedures. Four antigens (HMB-45, S-100, factor VIII-related antigen and collagen type IV) were unaffected by bleaching; two antigens (CD-20 and CD-45) had their staining enhanced by bleaching; one had the staining reduced (hsp27); and in three it was abolished (CD-45Ro, CD-31 and Ulex/anti-ulex antibody) by bleaching. Two antibodies (UCHL-1 and L-26) showed evidence for altered specificity following bleaching. None of the steps after application of the primary antibody was resistant to bleaching. Three chromagens used for peroxidase demonstration-amino ethyl-carbazole, diaminobenzidine and chloro-naphthol-were also found to be sensitive to bleaching. While some antigens were resistant to the effects of bleaching, some were not, and no other step in the immunohistochemical procedure could withstand bleaching.