Silk is luxurious, lightweight and soft. Additionally, it feels amazing against the skin. Although there are now a number of washable silks on the market, oddly enough they stain easily with the simplest of liquids--water. That can be bad news for garments made from this expensive fiber. Getting a water stain out of silk can be tricky, but it is possible.
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Check the color fastness of the silk item. Choose an inner seam that cannot be seen from the outside of the item. Dampen the fabric lightly with water and then run a soft, white cloth over the area that was treated. If color comes off on the cloth, don’t proceed further. Take the item to the dry cleaner.
Treat the silk item using the simplest method first (see Step 3). If that doesn’t work, continue with subsequent steps.
Blot the stain gently with a sponge dipped in water with a hint of detergent that is safe for fragile fabrics.
Soak the silk item for 10 to 15 minutes in lukewarm water with a small amount of detergent that is safe for fragile fabrics. Rinse with cold water and lay flat on a towel to dry. Check to see if stain still exists. If so, move on to the next step.
Mix together a solution of lukewarm water, 1/3 cup detergent made for fragile fabrics and 1 tsp. white vinegar. With a damp (not wet) sponge, blot the area on and around the stain. Rinse the item in cold water and lay flat on a towel to dry. Check to see if the stain still exists. If so, move on to the next step.
Wet the silk item in lukewarm water. Blot a small amount of glycerin into the stained area and let sit for about 1/2 hour. Rinse in cool water and lay flat on a towel to dry. Check to see if the stain still exists. If so, it is time to take the garment to the dry cleaner.
When in doubt about the colorfastness of a silk item, use a home dry cleaning kit or take the item to the cleaners. Look for Stainz Out kits that are safe for use on silk as an alternative method for cleaning.
Make sure that water isn’t too hot, or it may distort the fabric’s shape. Never soak silk in any solution that contains vinegar, or colors that would normally not run may be loosened enough within the fiber to fade out the color. Don’t rub silk fabric with any vigor, or you could ruin the delicate fabric.