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How to Remove Stains from Silk: Tips and Tricks for Care
How to Remove Stains from Silk: Tips and Tricks for Care

Listen to an audio transcription of this post

Key takeaways:

  • Silk is a delicate yet durable fabric that requires gentle care.

  • Pretreat stains immediately by blotting to prevent setting.

  • Use mild detergents or solutions like vinegar for stain removal.

  • Avoid heat, rubbing, and harsh chemicals when caring for silk.

 

High-quality silk clothes and linens are known for their luxurious look. But a stain or two can quickly ruin that effect. Thankfully, you don't have to replace these items with new ones. The right care can eliminate unsightly spots and preserve silk's beauty.

Not sure how to remove old stains from silk fabric? Or newer ones? The following guide walks you through getting stains out of silk easily!

Silk: A Durable Yet Delicate Fabric

woman holding washable silk

Ever notice how soft a silk garment feels? The best quality silk clothing and linens have a smooth, lightweight texture that makes them seem fragile.

But silk fibers are tougher and more durable than they seem. So, an entire garment made of these natural fibers can last quite a long time. But there's a catch.

Silk also has a delicate nature that requires proper care. That means no tossing a silk item in the dryer on high heat, for example.

When it comes to stains, cleaning silk involves a gentle touch. Handling this material carefully means you can remove perspiration stains, oil stains, or other stains without affecting its quality.

Pretreating Stains on Silk

Uh-oh! You've just spilled something on your silk garment—what should you do? Taking immediate steps can minimize the stain and make it easier to get rid of it entirely. You'll also be protecting this fabric from additional damage.

So, here's what to do. Blot the stain with a paper towel or cotton ball to help draw out the moisture. Otherwise, it'll set in. You can still remove it, but it'll be harder to do.

use mild detergents on silk

Step-by-Step Stain Removal for Silk

You've pretreated the stain. How do you get the actual stain out of silk garments or other items? That partly depends on the kind of stain it is. Let's go over how to handle different substances that can leave unsightly splotches on this fabric.

Water-based stains

Wine, coffee, tea, juice, and other water stains don't need a heavy-handed approachespecially if you treat them right away.

Here's how to tackle these:

  • Mix a gentle laundry detergent, like Blissy Wash, or soap with lukewarm water for mild stains

  • Mix white vinegar or lemon juice with warm water for tougher stains

  • Test your cleaning solution on a small area of your silk item first to make sure it doesn't cause discoloration

  • Apply the solution to the stain with a clean white cloth, then leave it for a few minutes

  • Rinse in cool water, then gently blot it dry with a paper towel

spot treating affected area of silk clothing

Makeup stains

Foundation, lipstick, and other makeup can leave smears and smudges on a silk garment.

Removing these stains involves the following steps:

  • Use a solution made of laundry detergent and water as with water-based stains for small or mild smudges

  • Try a vinegar or lemon juice and lukewarm water solution for bigger or more stubborn makeup stains

  • Again, test the solution first

  • Dab the solution onto the stain with a cloth, then let it sit for a few minutes

  • Rinse with cold water and blot dry

stain removal for silk and delicate fabrics

Oil stains

These are harder to get rid of, but not impossible.

To get oil stains out of silk:

  • Apply talcum powder or cornstarch to stains

  • Leave the powder on for a few hours or more, so it soaks up the oil

  • Brush the powder from the silk carefully

gently rub talcum powder into the oil stain

Blissy Wash: The Solution for Regular Silk Maintenance

Removing stains is hopefully just a once in awhile problem for you. But silk does need routine care to stay in good condition.

Blissy Wash offers a great way to care for your silk garments and linens. This mild detergent doesn't have any harsh chemicals, so you can safely use it on this material.

How to use it for cleaning silk? For a machine-washed approach, just use a gentle wash cycle with cool water. Prefer to hand wash? You can use Blissy Wash and cool water to clean your silk garments.

use a ph balanced detergent and never use chlorine bleach on silk fabric

Do's and Don'ts of Silk Care

What are the best ways to take care of silk? What should you avoid doing? Check out these tips for maintaining silk items.

Removing stains

  • Do: Treat stains as soon as possible

  • Don't: Rub stains, since this can make them worse

Washing

  • Do: Use cool water for washing silk, not warm or hot

  • Don't: Use any detergents or soaps with abrasive or harsh ingredients

  • Do: Place silk items in a mesh bag for protection in the washer

Drying

Ironing

  • Do: Use a press cloth for ironing silk instead of putting the iron directly on it

  • Don't: Use a high or medium heat setting on your ironalways use the lowest setting

Time for Professional Care?

When should you throw in the towel and opt for professional cleaning? If a DIY approach doesn't remove stainslet the pros handle it.

Some stains are too stubborn to remove on your own. They might fade a bit but still show up. Leave these to your local dry cleaner, so your silk clothing and linens can look new again.

Let Silk Be Luxurious with Good Care

Worried that silk items might lose their sheen? From eliminating stains to washing and drying the right way, you can make sure your silk stays soft, smooth, and stylish.

View Sources

  • Chadha, T. (2022, September 5). How to wash and care for silk clothing, according to a laundry expert. Martha Stewart. https://www.marthastewart.com/1517433/how-wash-and-care-silk
  • Ebrahimi, D., Tokareva, O., Rim, N. G., Wong, J. Y., Kaplan, D. L., & Buehler, M. J. (2015). Silk–Its mysteries, how it is made, and how it is used. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering1(10), 864–876. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.5b00152
  • How to properly deal with stains on silk. (2023, December 22). Rinse. https://www.rinse.com/blog/care/how-to-properly-deal-with-stains-on-silk/
  • Joshi, S. (2018, June 28). How to remove stains from silk? How to wash stains from silk? | Vogue India. Vogue India. https://www.vogue.in/content/how-to-remove-stains-from-your-silk-garments
  • Leverette, M. M. (2023, December 2). How to wash and care for silk clothing. The Spruce. https://www.thespruce.com/remove-stains-wash-iron-silk-clothes-2147028

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