Silk is a luxurious and often expensive fabric, so the last thing any of us wants is for our silk garments to develop stains. Stains can ruin the appearance of silk, but with silk being such a delicate fabric, you have to be careful about which products you use to remove stains. So how do you get stains out of silk?
To get stains out of silk, you’ll want to use common household cleaning products that are gentle yet effective at removing stains, such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, or talcum powder. Avoid commercial stain removers as these are too strong for delicate silk fibers.
In this article, I’ll explain how to remove stains from silk effectively and without causing damage to the fabric. I’ll explain which products to use and how to wash silk clothing after treating the stain. That way, you can keep your silk garments in the best shape and as stain-free as possible.
- Does Silk Stain Easily?
- Are Stains Easy To Remove From Silk Fabric?
- Can You Use Stain Remover on Silk?
- How to Get Stains Out of Silk
- How To Remove Old Stains From Silk
- How To Get Sweat Stains Out Of Silk
- Can Silk Be Dry-Cleaned?
- What Is The Best Silk Stain Remover?
Does Silk Stain Easily?
Silk can stain very easily, due to the delicate nature of silk fibers and the fact that silk is a natural fabric. The texture of silk also allows it to stain more easily, but it’s due to this delicate texture and nature of the fabric that makes cleaning silk difficult.
Another tricky thing about silk is that it reacts with heat and light more than other fabrics. If heat and light don’t damage the fibers, they can make stains that have set into the silk fibers show up even after you think that you’ve removed the stain.
Even if you can remove the stain from the surface of the silk fabric, the stain may still show up when the silk is exposed to heat or light and the stained area may look discolored. This is due to some of the stain still being embedded into the fibers of the fabric, even though you can no longer see a stain on the surface.
It’s also important to note that some stains will be more obvious on silk fabrics, such as stains from food, beverages, etc. Other stains, such as those from sweat, may not be as noticeable at first, but as the stain gets older, it will become more noticeable.
Are Stains Easy To Remove From Silk Fabric?
Stains are not necessarily hard to remove from silk, but they are easy either. This has mostly to do with the delicate nature of silk fibers. Even though silk fibers can be quite strong, using heavy chemicals to remove stains can weaken and damage the fibers over time. Plus, using the wrong stain removers and techniques can ruin the appearance of the silk, especially if the methods used are particularly abrasive.
With that being said, the difficulty of removing stains from silk has everything to do with the fact that there are limited products and methods that you can use to remove the stain without damaging the fabric. And, stains become even harder to remove from silk if the stain dries or has been there for a while.
That’s why it’s important that you treat all stains on silk as soon as possible after they occur. The sooner you treat the stain, the easier it will be to get out. For the best chances of getting the stain out completely, you’ll want to treat the stain immediately if possible.
One thing about stains is that running stained clothing through the dryer can set the stain permanently. You don’t have to worry about the stain setting permanently with silk since it shouldn’t be put in the dryer anyway. If you put silk in the dryer, you’ll have far more things (such as shrinking and damage) to be worried about than the stain.
But, even if the stain air dries, waiting until the stain has dried to try to remove it will be more difficult. You may have to use stronger methods to get the stain out completely, which could damage the fabric.
Can You Use Stain Remover on Silk?When removing stains from anything, using a commercial stain remover product seems like the most obvious choice. But, commercial stain removers should not be used on silk due to the fabric’s delicate nature.
These stain removers are designed to be used on synthetic fabrics and even cotton that aren’t damaged as easily as silk is. You don’t want to use commercial stain removers on silk since they often contain heavy chemicals that can easily damage silk fabric. You’ll also want to avoid using any kind of bleach, including oxygen or chlorine, on silk because their chemicals can be too harsh.
You’ll need to use a gentler method to remove the stain effectively without causing damage. Several products will work well, but you still want to use gentle methods to get the stain out.
How to Get Stains Out of Silk
Since you can’t use commercial stain removers on silk, the best way to get stains out of silk is to use products that you probably already have at home. However, the effectiveness of these products depends on the source and size of the stain.
Do a Colorfast Test First
One thing about silk is that it has low colorfastness, which means that it can lose its color very easily. That means that before removing the stain, the first thing you’ll want to do is a colorfast test. You want to make sure that you don’t make the stain worse by accidentally removing some of the color from the fabric itself while trying to remove the stain.
To do a colorfast test, take a dampened washcloth and blot it on the inside of the fabric so that if some of the color does come off, it won’t be as noticeable. If any of the color does come off on the washcloth, you don’t want to try to remove the stain yourself. But instead, you’ll want to have a professional clean the stained silk for you.
If the silk is colorfast, meaning that the color is safe and didn’t come off, proceed to the next step. Note that with any of the liquid cleaning products you use, you may wish to do an additional colorfast test to make sure that liquids stronger than water won’t remove any of the color.
Dab the Stain
If the stain is fresh and still wet, the next thing you’ll want to do is dab it with a clean cloth to try to remove as much of it as you can. You don’t want to rub the stain or you’ll risk spreading it and potentially damaging the fabric as well, as even gently rubbing the stain can be too abrasive for silk.
If you performed the colorfast test and the color was safe, you may also wish to dampen the washcloth and dab at the stain some more. There’s a chance you’ll be able to get some of the stain out with just water, depending on what the stain is.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
One of the most effective methods for cleaning various stains from silk is vinegar. This method works well for liquid stains that aren’t particularly greasy. However, vinegar can take the color out of clothes, so you may wish to do an additional colorfast test with vinegar before using this method.
To do a colorfast test with vinegar:
- Apply a small amount to a cotton swab and dab it somewhere inside the fabric.
- Let the vinegar sit for a couple of minutes and then check if any color has been removed.
- If not, continue with this method.
Next, create a solution of 1 cup of vinegar to 1 cup of water. Dip a clean cloth in the solution and use it to dab at the stain. After removing as much of the stain as possible, rinse the stained area under cool water to remove the vinegar.
If the stain persists, create a mixture of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. The mixture should create a thick paste. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for 15-30 minutes, then gently wipe it off and rinse the clothing under cool water.
Instead of using vinegar, you can also use lemon juice. It also works well for liquid or food stains that aren’t greasy. But again, you may wish to do a colorfast test with the lemon juice separately to ensure that it doesn’t discolor the fabric. Then, mix one part lemon juice and one part water.
Dip a clean cloth in the lemon juice and water mixture and use it to dab at the stain. Remember not to rub the stain because you don’t want to be too abrasive. Repeat until you’ve removed as much of the stain as you can. Then, rinse the lemon juice from the fabric under cool water afterward.
If the stain on your silk clothing is oily or greasy, you will likely need something to absorb the stain as it will not be easily removed with just water. In this case, you can use talcum powder to effectively remove greasy or oily stains from silk.
Just sprinkle the powder directly onto the stain and let it sit for a few hours or overnight, depending on the size of the stain. The powder will help to absorb some of the stains. If you don’t have talcum powder, you can use baking soda or cornstarch instead. Then, you can follow up with the vinegar or lemon juice method or if the stain was removed, wash the clothing.
Wash the Clothing
After treating the stain and removing as much of it as possible, you’ll want to wash the silk clothing. Check the care tag first to see how the silk fabric should be washed. Depending on the type of silk, it may either need to be hand-washed or dry-cleaned if it can’t be machine washed.
If you haven’t done a colorfast test on your silk garment, now is the time to do so. Also, double-check to make sure that the silk can be machine-washed. If it says hand-wash or dry-clean, then you don’t want to wash it in the washing machine because the fabric may become damaged.
If it is safe to wash, place it in the washing machine by itself, not with other garments. The safest option is to place the item inside a mesh laundry bag first, even if you’re washing it by itself. Make sure that you only use delicate detergent with silk.
You’ll also want to use the gentle cycle and only use cold water. Warmer water temperatures can cause damage to the fabric. After washing, do not place the silk garment in the dryer. Instead, you’ll want to lay it flat so that it can air dry.
Even when hand-washing silk, it’s still a good idea to do a colorfast test first if you haven’t done so already, especially if the garment hasn’t been washed before. Check the care tag to make sure that it is safe to be hand-washed as well, as some silk garments with embellishments are better off being dry-cleaned just to be safe.
If the garment is safe to hand-wash, fill a tub or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle detergent to the water. Mix the detergent around so that it is evenly dispersed. Then, place the silk garment in the water and let it soak for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, drain the water out of the sink or tub and replace it with clean lukewarm water. Rinse the item by gently swirling it around in the water until all of the detergent has been removed. You may have to drain and replace the water a few times, depending on how much detergent you used.
After rinsing, gently squeeze out the excess water. Do not wring out the fabric. Then, lay it flat on a towel, roll it up in the towel and press to remove excess water. Finally, lay the garment flat to dry.
How To Remove Old Stains From Silk
The best way to remove old stains from silk is to use vinegar. But remember that old stains are harder to get out of silk than fresh stains, so it’s important that you are still gentle with how you are removing the stain.
Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and dab it on the stain with a clean cloth. Rinse and repeat the process as necessary. If the stain isn’t coming off and the garment is colorfast, try dabbing just vinegar on the stain to see if that helps. Then, rinse the garment afterward. If the stain doesn’t come off with just vinegar, you may have to have it professionally cleaned.
How To Get Sweat Stains Out Of Silk
Sweat stains are best removed from silk using vinegar as well. You’ll still want to mix equal parts of vinegar and water and dab the solution on the stain with a clean cloth. This solution works because the vinegar will not only break down the sweat, but it can also help prevent any discoloration that the sweat stains might cause.
Since sweat can show on silk more than on other clothes, you’ll also want to make sure that you try to prevent sweat stains from getting on your silk clothing in the first place. One way to do this is to wear darker clothing. The sweat stains won’t show up as easily, but darker colors can make you sweat more.
You can also try wearing an undershirt, but again this can make you sweat more. It may prevent the sweat from getting on your silk clothing and staining it. Another solution is to wear a strong antiperspirant, not just regular deodorant. Finally, if you do get a sweat stain on your silk garment, don’t let it dry and wash it as soon as possible.
Can Silk Be Dry-Cleaned?
If you’re not comfortable with trying to remove stains from silk yourself or if you’re not having much success with removing the stain, most silk can be dry-cleaned even if the care tag doesn’t say to dry clean it. Dry cleaning can effectively remove stains from silk without causing damage, especially if the stain has dried or is older.
However, dry cleaners may use different methods depending on the source of the stain and how long it has been on the clothing. It is important for you to make the cleaner aware of what caused the stain and how long it has been there so that they can be sure to clean it effectively.
What Is The Best Silk Stain Remover?
Overall, the best stain remover for silk is vinegar, as it can remove almost any type of stain effectively. For stains that are oily and greasy, you may have to use baking soda or talcum powder to absorb the stain first and then follow up with vinegar before washing the garment.
If all else fails, you can have the garment dry-cleaned. But never use a commercial stain remover or bleach, even oxygen bleach, on silk because the fibers can become damaged. If you found this article helpful, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!