Juice, pen ink, blood, chocolate, soda… what do all these items have in common? They are more or less liquid and they can easily stain fabric, leaving behind an unseemly mark. So what does one do with a water stained silk shirt or tablecloth? Here’s how to remove water spots from silk fabric.
When a caterpillar turns into a moth or butterfly, it undergoes a wondrous transformation, from a crawling worm-like insect, to a winged beast of beauty. With the Bombyx mori, the transformation also involves converting a simple cocoon into fabric of beauty and elegance. Silk is one of the most beautiful and versatile of all natural fabrics. Unfortunately the very internal properties of silk that make it so desirable and beautiful, also make it very delicate. Just like glass attracts fingerprints and dust, a silk item is always asking for something to be spilt on it. Whether it is tea, alcohol or an ink stain on your silk cloth, there are certain techniques you should follow to remove ugly stains.
You can rewet or dampen the water spot and its surrounding area. Do this by rubbing the spot with a wet and clean cloth. Then allow it to dry naturally and completely.
Dampen a cloth or a sponge in tepid water. Rub the cloth/sponge in a little mild detergent. Now dab the water spot with the cloth. Do not rub the spot hard, just dab gently. Rinse the spot and leave it to dry.
Boil some water in a kettle and when it is about to steam, hold the water-stained cloth over the kettle’s spout. Let steam blow over the water spot. Soon the fabric will turn damp. The spot will disappear as the material dries. Take care not to get burnt from the steam, while holding the cloth.
Place the stained fabric on an ironing board. On the water spot, place a moist cloth. Now iron the cloth. The stain may not go immediately, so you may have to iron for sometime. For the cloth in between, do not use a heavily dyed cloth. Try using a clean pillowcase or a handkerchief. Try this method, only if the fabric’s cleaning instructions allow ironing.
This method needs a piece of white silk. Make sure the square of white silk is clean and dry. Use it to rub the water stain on the stained silk. Do not rub the silk in a zig-zag manner or diagonally. Instead rub it gently up and down or from side to side in a uniform manner. Do not use colored silk to rub the spot away, as the color might run off one piece into the other. If you do not have white silk, use cotton or muslin.
If those pesky water spots, stains and marks do not disappear from the fabric, then one last attempt is to seek professional help in the form of a dry cleaning service. You can ask them for suggestions or tips if any or give the fabric to a dry cleaning service, in the hope that they will be able to remove the stain.
When trying to remove water spots from silk, there are some dos and don’ts, which are:
- Do not use chlorine bleach to clean water spots.
- When using detergent, use the mildest form possible. Do not use dishwashing strength detergent.
- Stain-removal products should be tried, only if you are willing to take the risk, as there is no guarantee of success.
- Vinegar can be used as a mild detergent but be careful as its acidic properties can burn through the delicate silk fabric.
- Always read the fabric’s tag before trying any home remedies for stain removal or even before dry cleaning.
The rule with any stain on silk fabric is not to wipe or rub away the stain. Rubbing the stain may be your first instinct but curb it. Blot the spilling material. Let the silk dry and then either dry clean or try any home remedies based on the spilt substance. Silk is so sensitive and delicate that even rubbing it against its grain, can damage the fabric’s look and feel. So take no chances. Avoid spills from any material, be it water or wine!