How to Remove Food Stains From Silk

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A stain on a silk item of clothing does not have to mean an expensive dry-cleaning bill. Most stains on silk can be treated at home with a quick hand-washing method.

Things You'll Need

  • Sink
  • Warm water
  • Castile soap
  • Possibly baking soda, enzyme solution, spot remover or denatured alcohol and ammonia
  • Determine what caused the stain and treat it as soon as possible. Some stains, such as alcohol or adhesive, will damage the silk if left to sit for hours.

  • Test for colorfastness near a hem. Make sure the garment will not bleed dye during the wash process. Place a dot of liquid Castile soap near the hem and rinse. If no dye rinses out, the item is colorfast.

  • Spot-treat the stain. Acids should be rubbed with baking soda to neutralize the acid.

    Adhesives should be touched lightly with a solvent.

    Alcohol should be sponged with warm water immediately after a spill. If the stain is still there, try a rinse with half denatured alcohol (or wood alcohol) and half ammonia or laundry pre-soak, such as Shout. This also works for makeup.

    Blood should be rinsed with cold water. Pre-soak in an enzyme solution.

    Chocolate should be scrubbed gently with detergent, using a toothbrush.

  • Hand-wash the garment in a sink using a low pH detergent, such as liquid Castile soap.

  • Gently press water from the fabric. Allow it to air-dry.

  • Consult with a dry cleaner if all other methods have failed to remove the stain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rinse all stains with warm water immediately for a better chance to remove them. Air-dry items to prevent shrinking. Hang blouses on a padded hanger to help them retain their shape. Many silk items can be ironed using low heat to eliminate wrinkles.
  • Do not use bleach; it will ruin the fabric.

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