How to Remove Ink Stains From Silk

by Karen Bates
(last updated September 21, 2009)

Stains are an unfortunate, but practically inevitable, part of life. Although we may try to prevent spots and spills on clothes, carpets, and furniture, stains are still bound to happen anyway once in a while.

Silk fabric is smooth and soft and great for many uses. Because of its delicate nature, it might seem hopeless when a stain shows up on your silk clothing or other surfaces. Although silk is actually quite strong, you do not want to accidentally damage the fabric when attempting to remove the stain, making the problem worse.

One common stain that can occur on any fabric is ink. This troublesome stain might seem impossible to remove from your silk fabrics, but don't panic yet. If you happen to spill ink on your silk shirt or accidentally get a pen mark on the silk tablecloth, don't worry. You may be able to remove the spot by trying one of these methods:

  • Test. When trying a new stain-removal method on any fabric, be sure to test it on an unnoticeable area. This ensures that if the technique you try does cause damage to the fabric, you will know before using it in obvious places and can try something else instead.
  • Hairspray. One technique for ink removal (especially from a ballpoint pen) is to use a little hairspray that is alcohol-based. Placing the stained silk over a paper towel or old washcloth or towel, spray the area and gently blot at the spot. Once it has been removed, wash as you normally would.
  • Soak. Let the stained area dry and then soak in a mixture of 3:1 parts dishwashing soap to denatured alcohol. After about fifteen minutes, use hot water to rinse the fabric. Launder the fabric and repeat if necessary.
  • All purpose cleaners. You might have luck removing stains from water-based inks by using an all-purpose cleaner. Place a towel under the fabric and spray, dabbing carefully at the stain. Repeat as needed and wash as directed by the fabric's washing instructions.
  • Machine wash. Try a vinegar and water solution to remove the stain. After letting the fabric dry, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar and soak. Use a brush to scrub gently and continue soaking and scrubbing until the stain is gone. Machine wash when you are done.

Hopefully, one of these methods will bring your stained fabric back to normal. If you are not successful removing the stain at home, take the fabric to a professional cleaner to see what other options you may have.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...


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