Removing Ink Stains from Silk Clothing

by Carolanne Strong
(last updated January 11, 2021)

Silk has long been prized as an expensive and delicate fabric, which is why you may feel panic stricken when you look down and discover that your favorite silk blouse or tie has an ink stain that makes it look like a Rorschach test. While it can be alarming, it doesn't need to be permanent.

When it comes to ink stains, time is of the essence so if you act quickly, you may be able to save your delicate garment. Luckily, the steps are simple and the items you need—hairspray or rubbing alcohol, paper towels, and baby powder—can be found in your kitchen or bathroom.

  1. Act fast. If the ink stain has time to dry, you may as well buy a new shirt. If you can catch it early and keep the stain moist, you will probably be able to draw most if not all of the ink out.
  2. Blot first. Paper towels and baby powder are both good ways to draw out moist ink, but in a pinch you can use napkins, paper, or even a sock that you don't mind sacrificing for the cause of protecting your silk.
  3. Apply hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Alcohol, a main ingredient in hairspray, loosens the bond the ink has on the fabric. But before you spray or pour, place several layers of paper towel underneath the stain. This protects whatever may be underneath the garment from staining and keeps the alcohol in close contact with the stain. After you have applied the alcohol, place several more paper towels on top and apply pressure for several minutes. The easiest way to apply pressure is with a heavy object like a phone book or a rock. The weight of these items compresses the towels so that they have more contact with the ink and will be more likely to draw it out through the capillary action of the paper fibers.
  4. Rinse. Avoid hot water, as the heat will only set in an ink stain. Always rinse with cold water. As you rinse, make sure that you are only rinsing the stained layer. If the fabric is doubled over, you may cause your ink stain to bleed through and double your work.
  5. Check your work. If you still see the ink, repeat steps three and four as needed and air dry. Don't put your garment in the dryer until you are certain that the stain is gone.

Author Bio

Carolanne Strong

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