How to Remove Pen Ink Stains From a Silk Dress

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It can happen in the blink of an eye: A pen is dropped and leaves a stain streaked across a silk dress, a faulty pen leaks or, in a moment of absentmindedness, a cap is left off and a pen is placed in the pocket of an expensive garment. Not that it matters how it happened; when a silk dress is sporting an ugly ink mark, it's time to get tough, send the stain packing and have the dress looking like new again.

Things You'll Need

  • Hairspray
  • Paper towels or tissues
  • Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer
  • Brush
  • Cotton swabs

Hairspray

  • Take the dress off, if possible, as it will be easier to treat a garment not being worn.

  • Inspect the dress to find all stains. Though a large or obviously placed ink stain may be easy to spot, there could be other marks lurking.

  • Blot any excess ink from the silk dress using a paper towel or tissue. If the towel becomes saturated, swap it out for a new one and continue blotting and pressing until any fresh ink has been lifted away. Alternately, place a couple of paper towels underneath the stain and another on top and weigh it down with a book for a couple of minutes, allowing the excess to be soaked up.

  • Spray the stain with hairspray and allow it a minute or so to soak in.

  • Dab the stain with a paper towel, gently working the hairspray into the silk fabric to break down and remove the ink.

  • Wash the dress in a silk-friendly detergent or cleanser to remove any solvent remaining in the fibers and allow it to air-dry.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Apply rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the stain if no hairspray is available.

  • Rub the alcohol gently into the stain using an old toothbrush or a cotton swab; fingers will also work if nothing else is available.

  • Wash the dress in a silk-friendly detergent or cleanser to remove any solvent remaining in the fibers and allow it to air-dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the mark cannot be removed, take the silk dress to a dry cleaner as soon as possible.
  • Do not use bleach on silk as it can permanently discolor the fabric or even dissolve the delicate natural fibers.
  • Vinegar can also change the color of silk, so do not attempt to use it as a stain remover.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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