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Stained Silk? Here's What to Do


There's nothing more luxurious than silk. The way it feels as it rubs against the skin is tough to rival. However, silk is also extremely difficult to clean. The delicate nature of this particular textile makes it challenging to get rid of stains without risking any damage.

Rather than just toss your soiled silk garments aside, there are ways to remove stubborn stains carefully and effectively. When in doubt, find a dry cleaner nearby and have the pros deal with your silk clothing safely.

Test the Color First

Not only does the material itself need to be protected when removing stains, but so does the color. You may be able to remove the stain, but you may inadvertently remove some of the color, too. Before you attempt to remove any stains from your silk garments, be sure to test the color first.

You can quickly determine whether or not the dye of the fabric will stay intact by blotting part of the material that isn't typically in view - such as underneath the hem - with a damp, white cloth. If you see any of the color transfer to the white cloth, taking the DIY approach to stain removal is not a great idea.

In this case, you'd be better off taking your silk clothing to a Tide Cleaners nearby.

Act Quickly

As with any other type of stain, it's always easier to remove silk stains shortly after they appear. Waiting until the stain is dried makes it more difficult to remove. Stains that are still wet and haven't settled in entirely are likely easier to remove, so be sure to tackle the stain removal as soon as possible.

Dab, Don't Rub

Due to silk's delicate nature, dabbing a stain is preferable to rubbing it. Not only will rubbing the stain spread the stain around, but it can also potentially ruin the fabric. Instead of rubbing the fabric, blot it. Using a clean, damp cloth, carefully dab the stained area as much as possible until the majority of the stain has been removed.

Use Lemon Juice or Vinegar Instead of Soap

Rather than creating a lather out of soap, consider using a solution of one part lemon juice or white vinegar to one part lukewarm water. Using soap will require more water and dabbing to remove all the suds, which can cause damage to the fabric.

Wash According to the Garment's Label

Check the label inside the garment and follow the instructions on how it should be washed. If the label on your silk clothing indicates that it is a dry clean only garment, believe the label. Washing certain silk garments may ruin the garment beyond repair.

Apply Talcum Powder to Grease Stains

Oil or grease stains on silk can be more of a challenge to get out. If you find an oil stain on your silk garment, you may want to take an additional step by applying talcum powder to the soiled area and allow it to sit overnight. The talcum powder will help to lift the stain, after which you can wash the garment as directed on the care label.

Take It to a Dry Cleaner Nearby

In most cases, your best bet is to have laundry professionals clean your silk garments. They have the experience, know-how, and equipment needed to successfully remove stains while ensuring that the fabric is kept safe. If the label specifies “Dry Clean Only,” then that's exactly how you should deal with your soiled silk clothing.